Factor in the Fragrance: Make Scents of Your Garden

Part of the appeal of having a flower garden is not just all the beautiful, colorful blooms. Color and greenery enhance your yard, but sweet-smelling scents will add another level of beauty and enjoyment to your garden.

And as we know, many of our best memories are rooted in good scents.

You can add even more beauty to your outdoor space by planting flowers known for their wonderful, aromatic blooms. Some have the extra benefits of attracting butterflies or hummingbirds to your garden. 

Before you begin

  • Plant these flowers where you’ll be able to enjoy their fragrance—next to an open window, a balcony, a patio, or in a container you can move around
  • Plant them in large clumps, so you can get the strongest fragrance impact. 
  • Spread your fragrant plants around, so their scents do not compete. 
  • Be aware that some plants are more fragrant at different times of day. 

7 vibrant and fragrant plants

  • Wisteria are perfect if you have a sunny trellis or a lattice wall. This vining plant makes a statement in purples and lavenders that bloom in late summer. Its fragrance can be faint to overpowering. Wisteria likes full sun and damp, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. 
  • Honeysuckle is a vigorous vine that makes a beautiful visual statement by spilling over a cascading bed, trellis or fence, and all the pollinators love honeysuckle. It likes full sun with well-drained, neutral soil. Try the Scentsation variety, which flowers from mid-spring to late summer and then offers bright red berries. 
  • Try to have at least one rose in your garden, no matter what. They’re not as delicate as most people think, and many varieties are insect and disease resistant. If you choose to plant roses, look for those that state that they’re scented. Mr. Lincoln, a scarlet red variety, and Princesse Charlene de Monaco, a striking pink, are both noted for their strong, sweet fragrances. 
  • Jasmine is intensely fragrant; it’s also used in many lotions and perfumes. It has an intoxicating, strong scent and there are over 200 species. Jasmine likes full sun to partial shade, and likes nutrient-rich, well-drained neutral to slightly alkaline soil. 
  • Lavender, beloved for its beauty as well as its relaxing, calming scent is also used in many lotions and perfumes. It blooms in varieties ranging from deep violet to blue, pink or white, and it can be used for potpourri, herbal tea, and many DIY crafts. Lavender enjoys full sun, damp, well-draining slightly acidic soil, and is generally drought resistant.  
  • Lilacs are known for their fragrant blossoms and their pastel shades of purple, pink, white and cream. These hardy shrubs live and bloom for up to 100 years, and they attract butterflies and other pollinators as well as fill the space with a heavenly, sweet perfume. Lilacs are drought resistant and like full sun to partial shade. 
  • Dianthus are a low-growing perennial that functions well as edging or in containers, but also gives off a spicy, vanilla scent. Dianthus like full sun, well-drained, slightly alkaline soil, and need to be completely dry between waterings. It is heat and drought resistant and is also resistant to deer and other pests. 
Dianthus barbatus, the sweet William

Keep in mind that some blooms are lightly scented and need to be appreciated up close, and other scents might engulf your yard or patio. Bloom times vary based on climate.

Experiment with fragrant plants to see which ones grow best, keeping in mind that not everyone appreciates the same scents. And because insects are also attracted to fragrant plants, keep children and others who are sensitive to bee stings away from these areas. 

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