The Best Fragrant Flowers for Your Garden
This family of old-fashioned favorites is grown for their pink, white, or red, spicy fragrant flowers and their often-evergreen clumps or mats of gray-blue, grassy leaves. Taller types are excellent for cutting. Dianthus includes both annual and perennial types with the perennial types suited to Zones 3-9.
Name: Dianthus selections
Among the most famous fragrances in the garden world, gardenias bear a heavy scent and lovely white flowers. Happily, this shrub can be grown indoors or out.
Name: Gardenia selections
Video: Create a Fragrant Garden
Watch this quick video for tips on filling your landscape with wonderfully fragrant flowers.
Look for old-fashioned varieties of nicotiana to fill your garden with a strong, sweet fragrance. Plant it near your patio or bedroom window as the scent is most pronounced at night.
Name: Nicotiana selections
Sweet Autumn Clematis
Want to make a big statement at the end of the season? Try sweet autumn clematis. This large vine (it can climb to more than 25 feet once established) literally covers itself in masses of starry white, fragrant flowers. You can smell it from across the yard on warm, sunny days.
Name: Clematis ternifolia
Powerfully fragrant and stunningly gorgeous, Oriental lilies such as the famous 'Star Gazer' can perfume an entire garden. Oriental lilies bloom in mid- to late summer in shades of white, pink, and yellow. They're wonderful cut flowers, too.
Name: Lilium selections
Phlox is one of summer's showstopping flowers. It bears big clusters of candy-colored blooms on 4-foot-tall stems from mid- to late summer. These blooms bear a sweet fragrance that's most apparent on warm, sunny days.
Name: Phlox paniculata
The rose has earned its place as America's favorite flower. It's no wonder why: The blooms are beautiful, perfect for cutting, and many are wonderfully fragrant. The flowers come in a wide range of colors, from dark reddish black to pure white.
Name: Rosa selections
Test Garden Tip: Do a sniff test on roses before you buy them. Some are powerfully fragrant and others bear no scent at all. Plus, their fragrance varies as much as their color—some smell citrusy, others smell floral, musky, or like fruit.
Prized for their intensely fragrant flowers, most sweet peas are 4- to 6-foot-tall vines. Their flowers appear in nearly every shade, plus stunning bicolors.
Name: Lathyrus selections
Test Garden Tip: Like roses, some varieties aren't fragrant at all. So if you want a scented selection, make sure you read the description on the plant tag or seed catalog.
Don't let this little beauty fool you—though it's small, lily-of-the-valley packs a big fragrance in its nodding white or pink bell-shaped flowers. It's a tough, low-care groundcover you can practically plant and forget in shady spots.
Name: Convallaria selections
Bearded irises grace spring garden with color and perfume. Available in almost every color of the rainbow, irises also have a range of fragrances, from anise to floral to fruity.
Name: Iris selections
Lilacs are among the most recognizable spring flowering shrubs. If you miss their large cone-shaped flower trusses, you can't avoid their intense fragrance. Lilacs are durable and able to put up with almost any growing conditions except shade.
Name: Syringa selections
Crabapples are small to mid-size trees that range in habit from low mounds to upright, column-shape, or weeping specimens. In spring, they are covered with fragrant white, pink, or red flowers, and in fall with small yellow, orange, or red apples that attract birds.
Name: Malus selections
Gather some friends around heliotrope in bloom and ask what it smells like. Some say cherry pie, others say vanilla, and yet others say grapes. No matter what you think it smells like, you're sure to love the sweet, rich fragrance that emanates from the lovely clusters of purple, blue, or white flowers.
Name: Heliotropium arborescens selections
Transport your nose to Provence by growing lavender in your garden. The flowers and foliage of this herb produce aromatic perfumes that permeate the countryside of southern France in mid-summer. In your own garden, grow it in well-drained soil in full sun. If you plant it next to a walkway, you'll catch a whiff every time you pass by.
Name: Lavandula selections
Known for its carpet of lightly fragrant flowers in white, rose, lavender, or purple, sweet alyssum is an easy-to-grow, low-maintenance cool-season annual. Rarely growing more than 6 inches tall and 1 foot wide, sweet alyssum is a good addition to edgings, beds, rock gardens, hanging baskets, and window boxes.
Name: Lobularia selections
This Southern tree is widely planted for its beautifully fragrant, creamy-to-white spring flowers; large, shiny, evergreen leaves with a fuzzy underside; and red fruit in fall. Magnolia is a large tree, reaching 60 to 80 feet tall and 30 to 50 feet wide. Smaller cultivars are available.
Name: Magnolia grandiflora
A favorite of our friends at Bailey Nursery, these deciduous shrubs add tons of sweet fragrance to the garden, along with their gorgeous white blossoms with yellow centers. Their strong scent keeps deer away and their height adds privacy to any yard. Plant mock orange in an area that gets full- to part-sun.
Name: Philadelphus selections
Florida Anise Tree
These evergreen shrubs can be seen in Southern landscapes and have glossy, dark leaves. Unlike most other fragrant plants, the scent actually comes from the foliage. The compact shape of Florida anise tree makes it a good hedge plant.
Name: Illicium floridanum