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Fragrant winter flowers, scents for brisk winter air!

Fragrant winter flowers

Fruity, flowery or vanilla-like, sensuous and mesmerizing, the fragrance of certain winter flowers is anything but low-key.

A foretaste of spring that is perfect perfuming the air for brisk walks during the cold season.

Winter blooming, a battle of seduction

To attract the few remaining pollinating insects still active in winter, flowers double down on all senses, especially the sense of smell! The flowers of winter-blooming shrubs sure know how to catch attention, releasing such fruity, honey-like, vanilla or flowery scents that it would be a crime to shun them.

Winter flowers that smell goodTake your pick from the different varieties described below. Plant these near your main door or along an oft-traveled path, a bit sheltered from drafts, so that you may savor that bubble of fragrance during the entire blooming. Also check that your plants aren’t exposed to the East. Indeed, easterly morning sun might damage their buds when quickly thawing frozen buds.

Fragrant winter flowers for ordinary soil

Fragrant flowers for winterAmong the several hardy, easy-going shrubs there is wintersweet. It bears little yellow bells that release a spicy, exotic-fruit-like fragrance in February. Set it up in the sun.

Same thing for the winter honeysuckleLonicera fragrantissima – a sure bet as regards fragrance, and an easy plant to succeed in growing.

Fragrant winter flowers for rich soil

In cool, rich and well-draining soil, winter viburnum do just great, with their jasmine-like and vanilla fragrance (try out the hardy Viburnum x bodnantense). Planted in part shade, daphne ‘bois joli’ will appeal to you with its sensuous odor that also is a bit reminiscent of jasmine.

Winter shrubs that are fragrant include this mahoniaChinese witch-hazel or Hamamelis mollis, with yellow or orange flowers, is another option, as is mahonia which smells like thrush. Both will appreciate growing in part sun.

A humble but steady bloomer, Sarcococca humilis or sweet box can be planted in pots. One way for those whose garden soil isn’t very humus-rich to still savor its delicious vanilla-like fragrance.

  • Even vines can have scented winter blooming: the ‘Jingle Bells’ fragrant clematis is one that flowers from December through February.

Fragrant winter flowers for acidic soil

If your soil is rich and and acidic, you can plant, in part sun, a Corylopsis pauciflora which has an early spring blooming smelling of oranges. Camellia sasanqua is another possible choice, to set up in anywhere from full sun to shade. In areas with mild climates, mimosa trees offer their delicate pompoms that smell like rice powder. Elsewhere, Skimmia japonica appreciates cool soil: male ‘Rubella’ plants won’t bear fruit but their lily-of-the-valley-scented flowers are very agreeable.

Laure Hamann

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY-SA 2.0: F. D. Richards
CC BY 2.0: Olive Titus
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  • arrinoD wrote on 24 January 2023 at 11 h 14 min

    My mahonia is blooming now. It smells good.