lilacs 2A famous Roman poet once remarked to his friend that the perfume of his beloved was so fragrant it would make his friend wish that he was all nose. I often think of this when I walk through my garden on a warm summer day or in the evening when the fragrance of some plants is at its height. Planting a garden for fragrance is fun and rewarding. You don’t have to start a new garden, in fact, it is better if you don’t; what you really want to do is introduce fragrant plants through out your garden so the fragrances don’t compete or cover one another. Additionally, since bloom times vary, you may want to plan you garden so that you provide fragrant blossoms throughout the year.

Here is a list of my favorite fragrant plants. The list begins with fragrant flowers listed roughly by bloom time in zone 7. Next comes a list of plants that have fragrant foliage and therefore have an extended period of fragrance.

Iris reticulata
Narcissus ‘Thalia’, ‘Actea’, ‘Hawera’, ‘Ice Wing’
Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
Lilies of the Valley (Convallaria major)
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Broom (Cytisus x dallimorei ‘Lena’ )
Peony (Peonia sp.) ‘Festiva Maxima’ (white), ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ (pink)
Roses(Rosa spp.) Roses vary significantly in fragrance, thorniness, and amount of extent of bloom time so look for roses that are fragrant, have no or few thorns and are “repeat” or “continuous” bloomers.

Citrus (Citrus spp. )not hardy in most zones but worth growing in pots and over wintering inside

Oriental lilies such as Star Gazer and Casablanca

Nicotiana sylvestris
Four o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa)
Wallflower Ersimum asperum, E. perofskianum)
Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Day lily (Hemerocallis sp. ‘Hyperion’)
Plantain lily (Hosta plantaginea ‘Honeybells’, ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Royal Standard’)
Phlox paniculata ‘David’
Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis)
Lavender( Lavendula spp.)

Moonvine (Ipomoea alba) continues into fall
Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)

Mock orange( Philadelphus coronaries)
Butterfly Bush( Buddleia davidii )continues into fall if deadheaded
Gardenia (Garden jasminoides)
Abelia x grandiflora ‘Compacta’

Mt. Etna broom (Genista aetnensis)

Autumn snakeroot (Cimicifuga simplex)

Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora)


Daphne odora

Tree (small)
Witch hazels (Hamamelis mollis, H. vernalis and hybrids)

Some plants, including many herbs, have fragrant foliage if they are touched or lightly bruised and provide many months of fragrance. Place these at the front of the border so that you can easily touch the plants. These include:
Chamomile, Anthemis tinctoria
Creeping Thyme, Thymus serpyllum
Woolly Thyme, Thymus praecox
Thyme, Thymus vulgaris
Mint, Mentha sp. (many cultivars)
Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis
Basil, Ocimum basilicum (many cultivars)
Lavender, Lavendula sp
Lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla
Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis
Scented geraniums, Pelargonium spp.

And don’t forget the wonderful smell of a freshly cut lawn!

By Karen

Related Post