Sweet-smelling flowers offer an additional delightful fragrance to the garden, with scents that can trigger memories and signal the arrival of summer or spring.
When planting flowers for their smell, remember that some flowers have a soft, light scent and must be enjoyed close range. In contrast, some will envelop the whole yard in their fragrance. For instance, in the spring, lilacs would be lovely! And Jasmine would be such a pleasant, floral scent at nighttime.
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Fragrant Flowers that will Grow Easily in Your Garden
Floral fragrance plays a crucial role in many plants’ reproductive processes and has significant economic importance in ensuring crop yield and quality. It also improves the visual attributes of cut flowers and ornamental plants.
However, due to the genetic modification that has gone into their development, several modern plants are no longer fragrant. According to David Clark, an environmental horticulture professor, they’ve been engineered to have bigger or showier flowers, be disease-resistant, more vibrant in color, and constantly blooming—all of which come at the expense of fragrance.
Heirloom flowers are always the perfect choice for a scented landscape, and you will need to plant them from seed to grow them.
How to Make the Most Out of Easy-to-Grow Fragrant Flowers
If you want to add some fragrance to your yard, here are some simple things that help you get the best out of your scented flowers:
- Plant them along a pathway, balcony, open window, or in a pot you can carry around conveniently so you can appreciate their scent more often.
- So that various scents don’t clash with one another, scatter different fragrant flowers all around the yard.
- For a more intense fragrance, plant in big clumps. Their scent can dissipate if flowers are grown in a windy, outdoor environment.
- Search for scented ground covers and lawn options you can walk over. The scent becomes more robust when plants with fragrant leaves are squashed underfoot.
- Scented species also attract the attention of insects. The butterflies would be acceptable, but you should keep scented flowers out of reach of children’s areas and far away from people with bee sting sensitivity.
- Evenings are the best time to smell certain flowers, such as Jasmine. Place them near the dining or gathering spots on your landscape.
- The scent of flowers will change slightly during the day as the temperature and growth conditions change. You’ll have to test fragrant flowers to see which ones thrive in your environment and which variations you enjoy. The same smells do not appeal to everybody.
Many Excellent Choices
There are several excellent choices to get you started if you want to introduce some fragrance to your property. Remember that bloom times will differ depending on the local environment and microclimates on your land.
According to Tankersley, director of living plant documentation at the Chicago Botanic Garden, this showy, lively perennial vine spreads wonderfully over a fence line. Pollinators adore it.
Search for natural or newer varieties that aren’t invasive like Japanese honeysuckle; full sun is preferred.
Mock Orange (Philadelphus)
If you’ve never seen a mock orange before, as it blooms, you might think you’re in a citrus garden. The tiny white flowers have a stunning fragrance similar to that of oranges.
Mock orange gets its name from the flowers, which look like orange blossoms. They have a lot of nectar, which draws pollinators, including butterflies and bees. Mock orange shrubs grow quickly, gaining a height of around two feet each year.
Plant them in the early autumn or spring (USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 8).
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Hyssop has a heavy anise scent in the leaves and the delicate, spiky blue-purple flowers. It belongs to the mint family, and the leaves and flowers are also edible.
This aromatic herb is also known as Blue Giant Hyssop or Fragrant Lavender. The leaves have a soft, sweet, refreshing taste and smell similar to licorice, anise, and mint.
Its upright appearance and spikes of lavender blossoms make a remarkable statement in any garden, and it has long been used in medicinal and culinary applications.
USDA Hardiness Zones 5–9: Summer Bloomer
Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac)
The Sampaguita (a woody vine or shrub) has long been revered in music, tales, and folklore for its sweet-smelling white flowers. They’re originally from India, where their essence is used to make perfumes. Their pretty flowers are also made into garlands. When the flower buds open at sunset, the tiny flowers reveal their innocence.
Orange Jasmine (Murraya paniculata)
Orange Jasmine is a moderately sized shrub with a thick crown of shiny, waxy green leaves and an upright, sprawling, compact habit. Its flowers have a pleasant scent.
It can withstand light frost and some drought. Orange Jasmine is also quite pretty when pruned to a short, single, or multi-trunked ornamental plant.
Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata)
The yellow, star-shaped flower of the Cananga tree is known as ylang ylang (Cananga odorata). This tropical species is native to India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and some Australian areas, near the Indian Ocean. Ylang ylang has a delightful, floral fragrance that’s rich and fruity.
The Ylang Ylang flower oil is often used as an essential raw material in the fragrance industry.
It thrives in the USDA Hardiness Zone 11, blooms repeatedly, and grows outdoors all year long.
Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
Sweet peas make a lot of cut flowers. Sadly, breeders have been concentrating on increasing the number of blooms, not so much the scent. Opt for older sweet pea varieties with the spicy aroma that made them famous for fragrance.
Sweet pea is grown as an annual, and it’s a spring bloomer.
Daphne is a lovely little shrub with shiny green leaves and flowers with a perfume-like scent with earthy undertones and sweet florals.
Many species are cultivated as ornamental plants in gardens, and people often use the smaller species in rock gardens. The entire plant, especially the berries, is poisonous.
However, having this plant in your garden has some advantages: beneficial insects are attracted to it, as are hummingbirds. It is also drought tolerant and deer resistant.
Daphne is a spring bloomer, and it can grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8.
Scented Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
While these pretty flowering plants are known for their lovely blooms, the scented geranium leaves give them their distinctive fragrance. Glands produce the odor at the base of the plant’s leaf hairs. When you break the leaves, the oil and fragrance are released. Some suggest it smells like apple, apricot, citrus, strawberry, or mint, depending on the variety.
Your whole yard can be fragranced by only one jasmine plant. The lovely evergreen leaves and star-shaped flowers, combined with their spicy, sweet smell, will undoubtedly make your garden incredible.
Jasmine flowers can grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10 (Repeat Bloomer)
Peonies are lovely enough to keep in your garden for their flowers alone, but the rich blooms still have a pleasant, clean fragrance that reminds you of roses. As cut flowers, they last a long time.
Peony is a spring bloomer, and they grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8.
Heliotrope has a delectable, almond, sometimes cherry vanilla smell, earning it the nickname “cherry pie flower.” To enjoy the heliotrope’s scent to its fullest, you’ll need a large clump of plants, but it’s well worth it. In colder climates, heliotrope is commonly grown as an annual.
Heliotrope is an annual plant that enjoys full sun, but it can accept afternoon shade if cultivated in a hot climate. They bloom from summer to autumn and bring a lovely splash of color and scent to an annual garden.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
This tough little shrub in white, purple, or pink, also known as summer lilac, endures drought, blossoms all season, and draws pollinators. It comes in dwarf varieties that won’t take up much space, and the newer ones aren’t invasive. Plant these in borders or large groups. This plant likes as much sunlight as possible.
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
The tiny plant is so densely coated with flowers that it resembles a cushion. The scent is one-of-a-kind, with a honey-like aroma and a floral touch. Sweet alyssum flowers bloom at the start and end of summer.
Gardeners grow Sweet alyssum as an annual, and it’s a repeat bloomer.
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana)
Because of its strong, sweet smell, Nicotiana is often referred to as jasmine tobacco. For a scent that will permeate the night air, use the tall Nicotiana sylvestris. Many newer, shorter Nicotiana alata species have only a slight smell. Nicotiana is commonly cultivated as an annual.
Nicotiana will grow in the USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 11 (Summer Bloomer).
Paperwhites (Paperwhite narcissus)
Paperwhites have delicate, star-shaped flowers that last for weeks. White outer petals (perianths) with light yellow cups in the center are present in some, while others are pure white.
Paperwhites are a controversial bud because of their strong scent: you either like or dislike this kind of narcissus. These flowers should be planted as bulbs and bloom in early spring or late winter. It is then time to determine whether the musky smell is pleasant or unpleasant.
Most garden shops sell paperwhites that have already been potted; all you have to do now is add water!
Stock (Matthiola incana)
This spicy-sweet-scented annual flourishes in cold weather, thus plant it as soon as the weather cools in the spring. This plant will be fine in partially shady conditions up to the full sun.
These hardy flowers have a pleasant, clove-like smell. Stocks survive well as cut flowers, which is why florists like them. These flowers can make the loveliest bouquets! They come in various colors, including pink, white, purple, red, and yellow; they’ll provide you with lots of blooms during the season.
Stock can thrive in the USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10.
Freesia is a common wedding flower, but it is seldom seen in gardens since it grows in the tropics. You can, however, grow freesia as a houseplant. Fruity, floral, fresh fragrance emanates from the tubular flowers.
Freesia is a spring/summer bloomer. It grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
Lavender is one of the most distinct flower scents. The musky floral scent lingers on your palate when you cook with lavender.
Lavender thrives in low to slightly fertile soils, so there’s no need to add organic matter to the earth before planting.
Lavender is a summer bloomer. It blooms in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.
Butterfly Ginger (Hedychium coronarium)
Butterfly Ginger is invasive in shallow water, waterways, and waterlogged areas in the tropics and subtropics. It’s hard to control once it’s introduced because it reproduces vegetatively. It is a popular ornamental plant due to its beautiful flowers.
The plants are vulnerable to frost damage. You can grow it in upland gardens and indoors as a cultivated plant. Plants prefer partial to light shade, but they can handle a lot of shade and even full sun if there is enough water. It can withstand seasonal droughts and more or less boggy environments once developed.
In Japan, the fragrant flowers of H. coronarium are commonly used to make garlands.
Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Carnations have a robust and spicy scent that is one of the most distinct flower fragrances. Be sure you buy a variety that claims it’s fragrant since certain types have been bred for bigger flowers and prolonged blooms but lack fragrance. It’s worth noting that not all carnations are perennial.
The flowers grow singly or in clusters of up to five in a cyme, are 1 1/4 in diameter, and have a sweet scent. The natural flower color is a vibrant pinkish-purple, but varieties of other colors, such as red, yellow, white, green, blue, and white with striped variants, have been produced. The hermaphrodite flowers are fragrant and are radially symmetrical.
Carnation can grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 6–9 (Summer Bloomer).
Bearded Iris (Iris germanica)
Bearded irises, which beautify spring gardens with their colors and fragrance, come in almost all colors of the rainbow. The scents of iris flowers can be anise, fruity, or floral. With its cocoa smell and dark purple hue, ‘Dusky Challenger’ sets the bar for dark iris to new heights. ‘Belgian Princess’ charm comes from its big, heavily ruffled flowers and sweet perfume.
Meanwhile, ‘Variegata’ has fragranced purple flowers and yellow beards that remind you of grape soda.
Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
Chamomile has a nice, grassy smell comparable to the scent of a cup of hot chamomile tea. Since it has a relaxing quality when inhaled, it is often used in aromatherapy. Chamomile’s dried flowers are high in flavonoids and terpenoids, contributing to its medicinal properties. The plant’s essential oils are also used in cosmetics.
Chamomile’s ideal growing conditions are in cold, shady environments. If you have dry soil, this plant should grow very easily.
Chamomile grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.
Brugmansia or Angel’s Trumpet
Brugmansia is a big, woody, flowering plant that produces 8- to 9-inch upside-down blooms with the most potent citrus-floral fragrance at night. In colder conditions, bring indoors to overwinter.
The huge, pendulous, trumpet-shaped flowers are the reason for its name, “angel’s trumpet.” Brugmansia flowers come in various colors: yellow, white, pink, green, orange, and red.
Flowers can be single, double, or can come in multiples.
USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11: Summer Bloomer
Nothing tops hyacinths in the greenhouse for an early spring scent. Plant them in well-drained soil in the fall to reap the benefits of their strong fragrance the following season.
Hyacinths can grow up to a foot tall. Its flowers come in various shades, including red, purple, pink, yellow, and white. You can grow hyacinths near edges, in rock gardens, mixed borders, and even containers. Its bulbs can also be made to thrive indoors during winter.
Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora)
The sweet autumn clematis blooms in a cluster of tiny white flowers in the fall. Aside from their charm, the flowers have a subtle vanilla fragrance amplified if you step under the plant. In certain areas, this plant is intrusive.
This plant is a fall bloomer, and it grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.
Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
Gardenias are among the most fragrant flowers, and some people are sensitive to them. These plants should be cultivated indoors, where they can be transported and appreciated from multiple rooms, despite their tenderness.
Gardenia is a summer bloomer. Its USDA Hardiness Zones are 7 to 10.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
With their lush, sweet scent, the lily of the valley flower is a common addition to perfume. This is a fast-spreading plant, so plant it anywhere you don’t mind it spreading, and then relish in the fragrance as it wafts through your yard.
It is a spring bloomer (USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 7).
Lilacs have a wonderful fragrance and are easy to cultivate, making them a common shrub in gardens. They’re available in a multitude of colors, but the most common are white and purple. Lilacs are low-maintenance shrubs that are hardy and easy to plant.
The fragrant flowers are attractive to butterflies and make excellent cut flowers. You should plant lilacs in direct sunlight in fertile, well-drained, humus-rich soil neutral to alkaline.
Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
Magnolias have a strong, sweet, honeysuckle smell that can instantly transport you back to the first time they enchanted you. The Magnolia is a delicate tree that’s closely connected with the South. In cold climates, search for cultivars that have been specifically bred for the area.
Magnolia is a Spring Bloomer. It can bloom in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9.
Rose (Rosa spp.)
Without a rose, you can’t get a fragrant garden! It’s a widespread myth that roses’ scent has been “cultivated out.” While most roses were bred solely for shape and color, there has been a revival of interest in scented rose species, resulting in increased abundance in most garden centers. The scents may be musky, anise-like, or fruity, depending on the variety.
Rose can grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 11 (Summer Bloomer).
Roses come in a wide range of different colors, growth patterns, and temperature tolerance; there’s one for every yard.
Look for “own-root roses” in Zone 3 that die back to the root in the winter and regenerate from the same rootstock. Look for species that don’t need a winter freeze to flower the following year in Zones 10 and 11. Roses enjoy the sunlight (at least six hours a day), as well as lush, adequately drained soil.
Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
From middle to late summer, phlox produces large clusters of candy-colored flowers on long stems, making it one of the most ornamental plants. These flowers have a nice scent that is most noticeable on hot, sunny days. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to this perennial boundary staple.
Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)
Wisteria is a long-lived vining plant that produces purple/blue flowers in the spring and early summer. These cascading flowers appear stunning, hanging from a pergola or walkway. This vine grows quickly and aggressively, sometimes reaching a length of 30 feet or more, and is considered very strong.
Grow while the plant is inactive in the spring or autumn.
You can grow Wisteria from seed, but it takes a long time for seedlings to attain maturity and bear flowers. It’s best to buy wisteria plants already grown or start from a cutting.
Even though Wisteria can flourish in partial shade, it is unlikely to bloom. The need for sunlight is critical.
Flowering Crabapple (Malus)
Hardiness Zones 3–8 are suitable for the prairiefire flowering crabapple. This tree thrives in full sun, which means it requires at least six hours of clear, unfiltered sunshine each day.
Some crabapple blossoms are fragrant, while others aren’t. Others have an apple blossom scent, and some have an exotic Oriental scent that smells like cinnamon or cloves.
Many people love the prairiefire flowering crabapple because of its showy red to dark pink flowers. And understandably so. Spring blossoms are a beautiful sight to see, with their breathtaking, long-lasting aesthetics. The prairifire flowering crabapple is disease-resistant and adaptable to various site environments, making its aesthetic appeal merely a bonus.
However, with its changing leaf color, this plant provides year-round allure. The leaves are deep green with purplish-red veins in the summer, lovely bronze color in the fall, and glossy maroon or reddish-purple in the spring.
Its blossoms have a scent that is a mix of lilac and vanilla. When spring arrives, Viburnum burkwoodii puts on a spectacular display of flowers. In warmer environments, the leaves are evergreen.
Add viburnum to your garden for year-round attraction and pleasant scents. Many sweet-smelling viburnums bloom in the spring, bringing with them a smell that can surround an entire yard.
The Korean spice viburnum is perhaps the most well-known among the fragrant viburnums. Viburnum bodnantense and Viburnum odoratissimum are two other fragrant bloomers.
You can perfume your property all season long by selecting fragrant viburnums that bloom at various times in the spring.
Teas and other drinks made with the flowers of the Osmanthus fragrans (commonly called sweet olive, fragrant olive, or sweet tea) are common in the Far East.
This flower’s extracts are immensely beneficial, and they’re used in some of the most costly perfumes.
It yields apricot-scented clusters of flowers that aren’t especially showy. It is a short, upright, evergreen tree or large shrub that can reach ten to fifteen feet tall in cultivation but can grow 20-30 feet tall in Asia’s natural environment (China, Japan, and the Himalayas).
It is drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, and moderately salt-tolerant.
Night Scented Stocks (Matthiola longipetala)
In the landscape, night-scented stocks are a sensory delight. Night scented stock, also known as evening stock plant, is an older annual that produces a strong fragrance at dusk. These make superb cut flowers since they’re blowing beauty in muted pastel hues.
Evening stock plants are straightforward to grow and flourish in various soil conditions as long as they get enough sunlight.
The fragrance of these blooms, on the other hand, is a major appeal. To reap the benefits of it, what you have to do is wait outside until the evening. The scientific name for the plant is Matthiola longipetala. The common name, which refers to the flower’s deeply sweet nighttime smell, is more explanatory.