8 / 9

Best Fragrant Flowers for the Desert Southwest

Use these classic plants to bring welcome fragrance to your southwestern garden.

Our region is blessed with a bounty of fragrant (and sometimes downright stinky) plants that are well-adapted to local conditions. Below are a few of my favorites:

Hummingbird mint (Agastache cana): I was introduced to this mint family plant as "Double Bubble Mint" and I still think that bubble gum it what its scent most recalls. Besides its fragrance, its red tubular flowers are hummingbird magnets. This plant does best in the mid to high deserts, but will grow with extra water at lower elevations.

Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii): This intensely aromatic plant grows to shrubby proportions (3-4 feet high and wide) and in spring is covered in whorls of showy dark blue to purple flowers. Its dried leaves are often tied together and burned as incense.

Mt. Lemmon marigold (Tagetes lemmonii): Whether you consider Mt. Lemmon marigold fragrant or just stinky is highly individual. I find the acerbic scent sagelike and invigorating, much like its profusion of yellow composite flowers that make a fine fall show hovering above the ferny foliage.

More Inspiration

  • Plant Encyclopedia

    The Better Homes & Gardens Plant Encyclopedia is an invaluable resource for new and experienced gardeners everywher...

  • New Varieties for 2013

    Learn about the hottest new perennial and annual flowers, as well as vegetables and blooming trees and shrubs.

  • Top Flowering Shrubs for the Midwest

    Pretty, long-blooming shrubs are a perfect fit for gardens old and new. Check out these expert picks for Midwestern...

  • Home Landscaping 101

    Here's how to get begin planning a practical home landscape that will grow more beautiful over time.

8 / 9

  • Roses

    Beautiful, fragrant, and easy to grow in bed, borders, and containers. Plant extras for bouquets!

  • Vegetables & Fruits

    Taste the goodness of homegrown produce. Easy-to-grow fruits and veggies make eating healthy so delicious.

  • Flowers

    Plant the garden of your dreams with annuals and perennial flowers.

  • Trees, Shrubs & Vines

    Enhance your garden and landscape with these permanent plantings.

  • return to collection

Loading... Please wait...

Add My Photo close