by Matt Gibson
Everyone loves a nice aroma, and flowers are some of the best producers of pleasant fragrances in the world. So, what are the most fragrant flowers available to grow in your garden? To answer the question, we’ve put together a list of the top 27 flowering plants that emit the loveliest fragrances.
These sweet-smelling flowers will make you stop and breathe deeply in order to fully appreciate their enchanting aromas. A well-planned garden should entice all of the senses, and what better way to make your garden shine than to add in a handful or two of the 27 most fragrant flowers available to spruce up the smell of your garden getaway?
A low-growing perennial with a spicy vanillaaroma, dianthus flowers are often called “pinks” due to the fringed look oftheir petals, which appear to have been cut with pinking shears. Thoughdianthus is available in many different shades of pink, there are manyvarieties available, offering gardeners a wide color selection to choose from.Use dianthus for the edges of garden beds, or plant them in containers in alocation that receives full sun exposure.
Pollinators will come from miles around totreat themselves to the nectar of this delicate annual. The tiny blooms producea strong, sweet scent that is one-of-a-kind. Plant sweet alyssum in containers,hanging baskets, or window boxes. Its small root system adapts well to rockgardens, and it performs as a durable, flowering ground cover. Select a homefor your alyssum that provides full to partial sunlight.
Everyone loves the smell of a rosebush in fullbloom. Perhaps the most popular scented flower in modern gardens, the rose isavailable in endless types and colors. Be sure to check that you are selectinga rose that’s specifically advertised as scented before you purchase, as somevarieties have been bred with a focus on the flower’s form, which can eliminatethe potency of rose’s famous scent.
Cascading over a fence line or spillingelegantly over a trellis, the honeysuckle vine is a showy, vigorous perennialthat brings lots of pollinators into your garden when it blooms. Be sure toselect native varieties or newer cultivars that are not as invasive as theoriginal Japanese honeysuckle breed. Plant in full sunlight in a location thathas a support for the vine to grow on, such as a fence, or a garden trellis.
The colorful blooms of the scented primroseflower are said to herald the arrival of spring, and these flowers produce amildly fruity scent that is surprisingly pleasant. Scented primrose isavailable in a wide range of blossom hues, all of which are paired with rich,dense, textured dark green foliage. Perfect for container gardens, scentedprimrose requires very little care or maintenance once it’s established.
Closely related to oleander, plumeria (alsocalled frangipani, yasmin, and champa) is a subtropical or tropical flower thatreleases a subtle scent during the day. The flower’s smell becomes morepronounced during the evening and nighttime hours.
Lilac (Butterfly Bush)
Blooming throughout the spring and summermonths, the lilac flower creates a lovely scent that is all its own. Grow lilacshrubs directly in your garden beds, or try your hand at some of the newly bred(and much smaller) hybrid versions made to thrive in containers.
Phlox flowers come in pink, salmon, white, red,purple, and bi-color varieties that are at their best when planted in largeswaths or added to mixed borders. Most types are self-seeders, so you won’thave to worry about planting phlox every year. Phlox flowers require lots ofair circulation to prevent powdery mildew, which they are susceptible to. Phloxgenerally enjoy full sunlight, but these flowers may require partial shade inhotter climate areas.
Sweet Autumn Clematis
Producing perfumed clusters of silvery whiteflowers from late summer to autumn, the sweet autumn clematis emits anotherworldly aroma that is adored by gardeners around the world. Classified asa deciduous flowering vine, the sweet autumn clematis requires a trellis orother form of support to grow upon. Be sure to plant in a location with strong,deep borders, or clematis may take over your garden in no time.
Brugmansia is also commonly called angel’strumpet because of its vibrant, trumpet-shaped orange flowers that create astrong but sweet aroma. Often mixed in the garden with datura, the brugmansiaflower is hardy to zones nine through 12. Though brugmansia typically needs adry, hot climate area, with a little bit of extra knowledge and care, gardenerscould see them succeed in colder climates.
The peony is a perennial flowering shrub thatproduces giant, lush blooms, which often require staking to support theirmassive size. The enormous blooms produce a subtle, elegant aroma as theyunfold atop the peony’s dense, glossy dark green foliage. Don’t plant your peonyseeds too deep into the soil, as they won’t sprout if you do. Plant them in alocation that receives full sunlight exposure.
The only flowering tree to make our list, theflowering crabapple makes the cut because the blooms it produces each springemit a smell that is both inviting and long-lasting. Plant flowering crabapplein full sun, then enjoy its delicate beauty and invigorating aroma for seasonsto come. Newer varieties of crabapple are more resistant to illness, and someproduce vibrantly colored foliage that is nearly as attractive as the tree’sspringtime blooms.
Ylang-Ylang (Cananga Odorata)
Ylang-ylang is native to the rainforests ofAsia and Australia and hardy to zones 10 and 11. This plant is also called theperfume tree because its blooms produce a smell that can be enjoyed from milesaway. If you live in a tropical climate, ylang-ylang is a great selection toadd lasting fragrance to your garden’s perks.
Also known as the tobacco flower, nicotianablooms appear from summer to fall. Nicotiana flowerheads burst open at noonwith seemingly no aroma to speak of at first, but they ooze a potent dose ofpleasant perfume from late in the evening until dusk. This plant’s tubularflowerheads look similar to petunias, and nicotiana is available in white,pink, red, and pale green. Nicotiana prefers full sun to partial shade.
Lily of the Valley
The lily of the valley flower is hardy to USDAzones two through nine producing dainty bell-shaped white or pale pink flowersthat spread their fragrance out to cover vast areas. This spring bloomerprefers consistently moist soil and partial shade. Its low-growing tendenciesmake it a great pick for a ground cover.
Viburnum is adored by gardeners both for itsglorious foliage and because of its sweetly scented blooms. The Korean spicevariety has a particularly pleasant aromatic profile as well as pretty clustersof puffy white flowers during the spring.
Lilies are known for being aromatic, but thehybrid variety known as the stargazer lily is the most fragrant lily you cangrow. Its scent has been called sensual and inviting, with spicy undertones.Plant this exotic-looking lily in partial shade.
Called rajnigandha in its native India, thetuberose flower thrives in hot, tropical locations. Its tube-like blooms appearin spring and summer producing an enticing, warm odor that leaves a lastingimpression. Tuberose can be grown as an annual in colder climates.
Stock flowers are commonly used in bouquets,as the plant’s spicy-sweet pink, purple, or white blooms are easy on the eyesas well as the nose. Plant stock as soon as the weather starts to break inearly spring, as this flower does better in cooler temperatures. Stock enjoysfull sun to partial shade.
Daphne is a winter plant that prefers coolweather, only blooming for a short period during February and March. A favoriteof the perfume industry, daphne flowers are rarely grown ornamentally becauseof the care they require. However, the daphne’s bloom produces an alluringfragrance that might be worth all the extra care and effort.
Freesia flowers have a charming, fruity scentand are a favorite of European gardeners. For the most fragrant flowerheads,choose a white or yellow variety of freesia. Freesia is also one of the mostpopular flowers to use for bouquets, as this plant has long-lasting, colorful,and highly fragrant blooms with a very long vase life.
Hyacinth is a popular flower in modern gardensfor both its ornamental and aromatic qualities. Available in a wide array ofvibrant colors, the hyacinth produces large clusters of small, rounded bloomsthat result in an aroma reminiscent of strawberries and honeysuckle. Tough togrow in tropical areas, the hyacinth flower is suited to colder climates.
Jasmine flowers are considered to be the most fragrant blossoms in the world. The blooms produce a scent so heady that some people don’t like the concentrated smell. Jasmine flowers can be detected from great distances, and up close the aroma can be overpowering. The jasmine flower’s oils are used in perfume and aromatherapy recipes. Night-blooming jasmine has an especially pleasing fragrance.
When it rains, the gardenia flower creates a very powerful perfume that seems to blend in to the environment around it. The gardenia’s milky white flowers are a sight for sore eyes, and their smell, though similar to jasmine, is not nearly as overwhelming. Gardenia is a favorite of gardeners because it needs very little care and attention and can grow in practically any environment.
The flowers and foliage of this aromatic herb permeate the countryside of southern France in midsummer. If a lavender hedge is planted next to a walkway, you and other garden guests will catch a nice whiff of its perfumed presence every time you pass by. A favorite of hummingbirds, lavender’s calming scent and bright purple, upward-thrusting blooms catch the eye while drawing in pollinators.
The evening primrose plant grows to a height offive feet, and it produces blooms that only open at night. When the blossomsfinally open, they also emit an intoxicatingly pleasant smell until the sunbegins to rise. Available with white, pink, and yellow flowers, the eveningprimrose is a great addition to borders and container gardens alike.
The mock orange plant is a flowering shrubthat produces white, four-petaled flowers that smell like oranges and create acloud of perfume that spreads out into the air around them. The shrub can growup to 10 feet high, producing blooms from late spring until early summer.
As different flowering plants have different needs when it comes to climate and care, there is no way that any gardener could successfully grow all of the flowers listed here in their garden at home. However, any gardener could use a handful of these fragrant flowers to help ensure that their garden display entices each of the five senses. Pick out three or four of your favorite flowers on the list that flourish in your area, then place them in different areas of your garden to create a natural scentscape to enjoy for years to come.
Want to learn more about growing growing fragrant flowers?
Balcony Garden Web covers Most Fragrant Flowers According to Gardeners
Better Homes & Gardens covers The Best Fragrant Flowers for Your Garden
Country Living covers 10 Fragrant Outdoor Plants
dengarden covers 12 Most Fragrant Flowers
The Spruce covers Best Fragrant Flowers