16 Best Smelling Houseplants
Start exploring the world of scented geraniums and you'll be amazed at the range of aromas these fragrant plants offer. Choose from rose, lemon, lime, nutmeg, ginger, or chocolate scents, just to name a few. Its foliage is available in a range of leaf shapes and textures that are as fun to touch as they are to smell. Make sure your scented geraniums get plenty of light, so they won't grow long and leggy. If they become lanky, pinch them back to encourage bushy growth. Use the parts you pinched off as cuttings.
Name: Pelargonium selections
Growing Conditions: Place in a bright, sunny but cool window; 45-70 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist in well-drained soil
Size: Up to 3 feet tall
The starry, pure-white fragrant flowers of Arabian jasmine bloom all year long and produce a soft, flowery scent. It's blooms are used to make jasmine tea and flower necklaces in Hawaii. You can let this shrubby vine's stems grow long and train them on a trellis or grow in an arching mound.
Name: Jasminum sambac
Growing Conditions: Sunny location; 70-80 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist in well drained soil
Size: Up to 5 feet tall
You're sure to fall in love with the sweet scent of orange, lemon, grapefruit, or other citrus blossoms. Most make good houseplants because they are surprisingly easy to grow, provided you give them enough light. If you're patient, you may even get to enjoy homegrown fruits. If you grow citrus from seed, your plants may take many years to flower and they'll likely have long, sharp spines. Your best bet for citrus as a houseplant is to purchase a named, grafted variety.
Name: Citrus selections
Growing Conditions: A bright, well lit location protected from drafts that provides abundant humidity; 60-65 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist
Size: Up to 10 feet tall
While most gardeners don't think of eucalyptus as a houseplant, this easy-growing tree makes a pretty showpiece indoors in a high-light spot. It offers blue-gray foliage with a distinct aroma when you rub it. Be sure to prune eucalyptus back to keep it full and bushy.
Name: Eucalyptus cinerea
Growing Conditions: A bright, sunny spot protected from hot and cold drafts; keep soil evenly moist
Size: Up to 10 feet tall
An attractive slow-growing shrub that may become a small tree, sweet bay shows off shiny green leaves with a savory, herbal scent. You can also use the leaves of sweet bay in soups, stews, and other delicious winter treats. You may allow this plant to go dormant in winter if you have a cool room to keep it in. Water it every few weeks—just enough to keep the potting mix from drying out.
Name: Laurus nobilis
Growing Conditions: Bright light; 45-60 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist
Size: Up to 30 feet tall
Renowned for being one of the most fragrant flowers around, gardenia is a lovely, but tricky houseplant. Its glossy green leaves put the spotlight on the single or double white flowers that emit a heavy, flowery scent. In the spring and summer, keep your gardenia happy by applying a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants such as azaleas. Also, be sure to protect this plant from hot and cold drafts.
Name: Gardenia augusta
Growing Conditions: Bright light with high humidity; 65-70 degrees F.; keep acidic soil evenly moist
Size: Up to 6 feet tall
A favorite flower for wedding bouquets, stephanotis shows off starry white flowers with a waxlike texture and shiny dark green leaves. But you don’t need to have a special event coming up to grow these delightfully fragranced blooms. Since stephanotis grows more slowly than many other vines when grown indoors, try getting more growth and blooms by moving it to a partly shaded spot outdoors for the summer.
Name: Stephanotis floribunda
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 64-69 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist
Size: Up to 20 feet tall
When not flowering, orange jessamine makes for a beautiful foliage plant. But when it does bloom, orange jessamine offers up some of the best smelling flowers around with its clusters of long-lasting white flowers that smell like orange blossoms. Happily, the leaves are fragrant if you rub them, so you can enjoy its scent even as a foliage plant.
Name: Murraya paniculata
Growing Conditions: Bright light; high humidity; allow soil surface to dry between waterings
Size: Up to 12 feet tall
While most begonias aren't scented, use your nose while shopping to discover varieties such as 'Tea Rose' that are scented. This old-fashioned favorite offers clusters of pink fragrant flowers over lustrous green leaves. Water and fertilize begonias regularly in spring and summer to ensure a steady show of flowers.
Name: Begonia selections
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light in high humidity and protection from drafts; keep soil evenly moist
Size: Up to 1 foot tall
Brighten up your home with showy corsage orchids. These orchids are so lovely to look at that you may forget to give them a sniff. Since 1929, new cattleya orchid hybrids have been created for each First Lady of the United States. Do your research before shopping for your orchids; some fragrant corsage orchids flower once a year, others bear blossoms twice. Water and fertilize orchids regularly in spring and summer; keep them drier and cooler in autumn and winter.
Name: Cattleya selections
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light that offers high humidity and protection from drafts; 70-85 degrees F.; allow soil surface to dry between waterings
Size: Up to 2 feet tall
While the corsage orchids are among the showiest, oncidium orchids are among the easiest to grow orchids and make the best houseplants. They offer a range of bloom colors and sizes, as well as bloom times. Their fragrance varies as much as their color and size. Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance', for example, has a distinct chocolate scent; Twinkle 'Fragrance Fantasy', on the other hand, smells more herbal.
Name: Oncidium selections
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light that offers high humidity and protection from drafts; 70-85 degrees F.
Size: Up to 10 feet tall
A big-leafed plant with a distinct spicy aroma, Cuban oregano is an easy-to-grow relative of Swedish ivy. (Interestingly, neither plant is native to the locations from where they get their common names.) You can cook with the fleshy, fuzzy green leaves or just brush them to release their scent. Cuttings from this plant root easily in potting mix, so it's easy to propagate and share these fragrant plants with friends.
Name: Plectranthus amboinicus
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright spot with protection from drafts; keep soil evenly moist in well drained soil
Size: Up to 18 inches tall
Among the most exotic plants you can grow indoors, passionflowers feature bizarre, almost alien-looking flowers. Not all are fragrant, so shop and sniff or read the plant tags and descriptions to ensure you get a scented selection. Some of the best scented flowers are Passiflora x belotii, 'Inspiration', and 'Elizabeth' (shown here). Passionflowers are fast growers and will need support, such as a trellis to climb on. Fertilize with a general-purpose houseplant food in spring and summer.
Name: Passiflora selections
Growing Conditions: Bright spot protected from drafts; 55-65 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist
Size: Up to 15 feet tall
Commonly called wax plant, hoya is a climbing or trailing perennial of the dogbane and milkweed family. This no-fuss, old-fashioned plant is coming back into style. It's known for its waxy, sweetly scented pink or white flowers and glossy, dark green leaves that thrive indoors. Hoyas can take a while to bloom. If you've had one for a couple of years and never seen a flower, give it more light.
Name: Hoya selections
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and protection from drafts; allow soil surface to dry between waterings
Size: Up to 4 feet tall
When angel's trumpet is in full bloom, it's nothing short of spectacular. This common patio tree can also be moved inside for the winter to try to coax more blooms from it. Be warned, though: It's not the best plant for beginners and all parts are extremely poisonous. A lot of common pests love angel's trumpet, so be on the watch for aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies.
Name: Brugmansia x candida
Growing Conditions: a bright spot and protection from drafts; keep soil evenly moist
Size: Up to 10 feet tall
A tropical tree famous for its beautiful flowers and stunning fragrance, plumeria flowers are often used to make Hawaiian leis. These best-smelling flowers' scent is similar to the sweetshade tree and appear in a wide range of shades, including reds and pinks, yellows and oranges, whites, and mixtures. As gorgeous as it is, plumeria can be a bit tricky and isn't recommended for beginners.
Name: Plumeria selections
Growing Conditions: Bright light and protection from drafts; allow soil surface to dry between waterings
Size: Up to 25 feet tall