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How to Grow a Scented Garden

A scented garden is a delight for your mind and soul! Scented gardens contain plants that have either aromatic flowers or leaves. Fragrances produced by plants are typically either to attract or to repel insects and birds. 

Your garden can be a relaxing and restful spot in your yard. It can be even more enjoyable and even soothing when it contains a plethora of pleasantly scented plants. Every plant has a different natural scent. The scent is one of the most often overlooked yet extremely important aspect of any garden.

Table of Contents

Scented Garden Flowers:

  • Rose:  The rose is the oldest and possibly the most popular and lovable aromatic plant. There are varieties suitable for most climatic conditions, soil types, and topography. They are available in almost all the colors you could imagine. They are perennial shrubs, which often require consistent pruning to maintain the desired size. They can be grown in pots, containers, or beds.
  • Fragrant Freesias:  These are most popular among European flower lovers due to their wine-like aroma. It is a very hardy, sweet, fresh, and clear fragrance-bearing plant. With its ornamental beauty, Freesia would make your garden doubly attractive. Planted in spring, they bloom almost 90-110 days after planting.
  • Hyacinth:  Hyacinth flowers are available in pink, red, orange, white, blue, and yellow colors, and they can make the whole garden fragrant with their fresh scent. These are spring-flowering annuals; their fragrance acts as a natural birds repellent to protect their underground bulbs. Hyacinth is a stunning addition to both your garden and the bouquet. 
  • Lavender:  This plant is listed among the best-smelling flowers. It is a commonly grown house plant, yet it has a lot of commercial uses, stress-reducing effects, and improves arousal rate. (Motomura, Sakurai, & Yotsuya, 2001). Its hybrid variety, “Lavandin,” is the most fragrant one.
  • Tuberose:  This perennial flowering plant produces white-colored flowers after three months and flowers all year round. Tuberose ranks among the most fragrant flowers in the world. Its’ smell is not sweet, but instead, very powerful and rich.
  • Nemesia:  This is a two-lipped perennial flower or shrub with a strong fragrance. It is available in royal blue, pink, yellow, and orange colors.
  • Jasmine: Common white Jasmine is known for its sweet scent. It blooms at night and remains dominant in the whole garden, and keeps producing flowers. It is one of the most popular scents used in many cosmetics and day-to-day things that we use.
  • Lilac (Syringa vulgaris): The lilac is an extremely common and fragrant (yummy and enticing), deciduous, multi-stemmed, sunlight-loving plant. Its flowering time is late spring, and it produces eye-catchy flowers of purple, lavender, white, and pink. 
  • Mock Orange (Philadelphus virginalis): Mock orange is a droopy, white-colored, fragrant flowering shrub. It blooms in summer and will strike you with its delicious fragrance, which smells almost good enough to eat.
  • Gardenia:  This is a scent-changing flower, i.e., it smells zesty and spicy in the evening while rich and intense at night (to attract pollinators). It prefers somewhat warmer nights, and its leaves are also fragrant. 
  • Mint:  Mint is known as “the Herb of Hospitality,” mint has a refreshing and energizing fragrance. It is an easy to grow and maintain type of herb and requires cool, moist places to grow. 

Scented Trees:

  • Golden Chain Tree: Laburnum wisteria is a source of both ornamental and aromatic attraction. It blooms at the start of spring and keeps blooming for 3-4 weeks.
  • Sweetbay Magnolias:  Magnolias are prized worldwide for their lemony scented flowers. It does not tolerate severe cold and grows into a multi-stemmed plant in cooler climates and a single tall (60 ft.) tree in warmer climates. (Cho, Sowndhararajan, Jung, Jhoo, & Kim, 2015)
  • Cherry Plums:  It is a fragrant shrub but can be pruned and raised into a tall tree. It produces white-colored aromatic flowers in April. The cherry plum prefers full sun to grow and flower properly.
  • Crabapple:  The common crabapple emits Myrcene and Benzaldehyde, which are the substances that produce the unique aroma produced by crabapple. “M. Dolgo, M. Liset, M. Hopa, and M. Makamik” are some of the most fragrant ornamental cultivars of crabapple. In spring (for almost 10-12 days), they produce enchanting, stunning flowers. They are one of the most common trees planted in the US. (Zhao et al., 2014)
  • White Dogwood:  This plant is suitable for small yards, streets, and indoor (specimen plant). It blossoms throughout the year and is available in white, red, and pink cultivars. 

Scented Garden Essentials

The scented garden establishment is not different from ordinary gardens. All the steps like soil preparation, drainage, irrigation, and maintenance are the same except the time of planting and the positioning of plants.

Time of Sowing/Planting:

  • Self-Sow vigorous annuals: petunia, calendula, etc., are direct seeded in the beds, and they will grow successfully when the conditions are favorable. 
  • Hardy annuals: are sown at the start of spring or mid of fall, and seedlings should be protected from extremely hot weather and frost. Examples are Baby’s breath (Gypsophila elegans), pink dianthus, sweet peas, etc.
  • Tender annuals: like cosmos, amaranths, zinnias, etc., are sensitive to frost, can be sown 4 to 6 weeks after the last spring frost is past.


  • Container Grown Annuals are best as you can keep them in living rooms, study rooms, front of doors, etc.
  • When grown in garden soil, try to sow in the protection of shrubs or trees to allow the scents to collect and inspire.

Soil Type:

Medium fertile soil is better for the scented plants. The soil texture may be sandy, clayey, or silty. The thing is to add a sufficient quantity of compost or other organic mulches to make it favorable for the growth of plants. The majority of the scented plants are perennials, so it is better to prepare the soil well from the start.

Scented Garden Benefits:

Mental peace: “Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” The sense of smell provides several ways of delight and memories that stay with you forever. (Marcus & Barnes, 1999)

Healing Power:

  • Mint increases concentration improves memory, and intensifies athletic performance.
  • Lavender induces sleep and relaxes the mind.
  • Lemon increases cognitive/psychological performance.
  • Pine decreases anxiety.
  • Cinnamon improves memory, visual-motor reaction speed and ameliorates attention. (Balasubramanian, Roselin, Singh, Zachariah, & Saxena, 2016)
  • Jasmine relaxes the mind and uplifts the mood.
  • Vanilla elevates joy and peace of mind.
  • Citrus aroma decreases depression symptoms, and it is mind relaxing. (Spring, 2016) 

Essential Oils Extraction:

  • The plants’ flowers or leaves can be used to make the extracted oils
  • These oils have medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary uses.
  • Essential oils and herbal products can be made from almost any scented plant.
  • They can be inexpensive, sustainable, easy to cultivate, and a potential income source.
  • One drop of peppermint oil might be equal to the twenty-six cups of pm tea!
  • It is advisable not to use any such oils or extracts internally without a health practitioner’s recommendation.

Give a Gift of Scented Blooms:

  • “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.” 
  • The best way to show warmth for your loved ones is to give them a gift of natural fragrances that you grow on your own in your scented garden. 
  • Fragrant Hyacinth, Rose, Peony, Sweet Pea, Lily, Freesia, Baby’s Breath, or the combination of two or more than two would make a bouquet of love, care, and enjoyment.


Ali, A., Murphy, C. C., Demirci, B., Wedge, D. E., Sampson, B. J., Khan, I. A., . . . Tabanca, N. (2013). Insecticidal and biting deterrent activity of rose‐scented geranium (Pelargonium spp.) essential oils and individual compounds against Stephanitis pyrioides and Aedes aegypti. Pest management science, 69(12), 1385-1392. 

Balasubramanian, S., Roselin, P., Singh, K., Zachariah, J., & Saxena, S. (2016). Postharvest processing and benefits of black pepper, coriander, cinnamon, fenugreek, and turmeric spices. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 56(10), 1585-1607. 

Cho, H., Sowndhararajan, K., Jung, J.-W., Jhoo, J.-W., & Kim, S. (2015). Fragrant chemicals in the supercritical carbon dioxide extract of Magnolia Kobus DC. Flower buds increase the concentration state of brain function. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants, 18(5), 1059-1069. 

Marcus, C. C., & Barnes, M. (1999). Healing gardens: Therapeutic benefits and design recommendations (Vol. 4): John Wiley & Sons.

Motomura, N., Sakurai, A., & Yotsuya, Y. (2001). Reduction of mental stress with lavender odorant. Perceptual and motor skills, 93(3), 713-718. 

Spring, J. A. (2016). Design of evidence-based gardens and garden therapy for neurodisability in Scandinavia: data from 14 sites. Neurodegenerative disease management, 6(2), 87-98. 

Zhao, J., Wang, R., Huang, C.-x., Mao, Z.-q., Guo, L., & Shen, X. (2014). Taxonomic analysis of volatiles emitted by ornamental crabapple flowers. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 34(4), 213-218.