A fragrant garden!

There are innumerable fragrant flowers and plants that will bathe the garden in fresh perfumes that tickle our senses and increase enjoyment.

Although some flowers are only fragrant up close, like thrush, others spread their perfume wide and far, like lilac, Mexican orange tree or simply nearby like the mimosa tree.

A short plant list of fragrant plants.

Fragrant climbing plants

  • Clematis

Feet in the shade, crown in the sun, at the base of a wall or on a balcony. That is what clematis requires. One particular variety, Clematis armandii, spreads a sophisticated perfume with hints of almond. Prune it after the blooming.

  • Wisteria:

The most famous, Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) is purple or white (‘Alba’) with an intense fragrance. It blooms abundantly in May and in summer, and loves full sun.

  • Forest honeysuckle

Planted in part sun, this vigorous honeysuckle produces abundant fragrant flowers. The Lonicera japonica variety produce white flowers from June to October and copes well with growing in pots (sun or part sun).

  • Sweet pea

This annual plant (Lathyrus odoratus) will advantageously decorate a wire fence and also does great in pots. Read our page with information on sweet pea.

Flowers releasing their smell in the night

  • Four o’clock flower

Its yellow or pink flowers only open towards the end of the afternoon, and the smell that wafts from them is somewhat similar to that of jasmine. Four o’clock flower (Mirabilis jalapa) loves sun but demands rich soil and frequent watering; fertilizer is needed during the blooming!

  • Dame’s rocket

This white or purple perennial (Hesperis matronalis) doesn’t live for very long but it re-seeds easily. From May to June, its tall stems bear flowers that also smell a bit of jasmine in the evening.

Easy plants

  • Wallflowers

Ideal for poor and rocky soil, wallflower (Erysimum cheiri) exhales a powerful fragrance and embellishes low rock walls with its bright colors.

  • Catnip

Also called “Catgrass”, catnip (Nepeta cataria) attracts cats thanks to its fragrant leaves. The wallflowers produce a delicious fragrance.

Both these hardy plants love sun. As for the chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus), it is sought after for its delicate smell of cocoa.

Fragrant shrubs

Daphne, jasmines, butterfly bush, viburnum… there are a great many shrubs that smell fantastic. Rose trees of course spread distinctive fragrances like the centifolia and the damascena, and many more typical ones exist among the hybrid varieties. Extremely abundant blooming, long-lasting flowers with repeat flowering characterizes the ‘Martin des senteurs®‘ variety, with orange, fruity-smelling flowers.

Fragrant herbs and spices

Aside from lavender and rosemary, which require well drained soil, think to use easy and little-known herbs and spices:

• Lemon balm

• Medicinal hyssop

• Fragrant dill

• Mint: pepper, green, ‘Chocolate Peppermint’, ‘Eau de Cologne’…

• Lemon verbena

• The curry plant (Helichrysum)

Potted fragrance

Alyssum are great to cover pot arrangements and produce a delicate honey-like smell from May to September. Lobularia ‘Snow Princess®‘ is a vigorous crawling variety.

A small hardy shrub, Cape jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides ‘Klem’s Hardy’) bears star-shaped flowers and evergreen, very fragrant leaves.

By C. Levesque


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
good-smelling honeysuckle by Adam under Pixabay license