Create a Fragrance Garden

My Garden Life
March 19, 2018
Table of Contents

There was a time when the garden was a place that smelled as great as it looked. However, as plant researchers worked to create larger, more colorful, and more varied flower hybrids, they seem have done so at the expense of those old-fashioned sweet smells. Many hybrid flowers have little or no scent compared to the original species. If you’re interested in bringing fragrance back to your garden, here are ten plants you will want to try:

1. Honeysuckle

Lonicera, Honeysuckle

This vigorous climbing vine comes in a host of colors and varieties suited for all manner of growing conditions. Plant it to climb near your front porch or patio to enjoy the familiar scent when you’re relaxing outside. Honey bees and hummingbirds will thank you–pollinators love honeysuckle.

2. Arabian Jasmine

Jasminum, Arabian Jasmine

Don’t let the tiny flowers on this plant fool you–it fills the air with sweet smells when it’s in bloom. A pot of Arabian jasmine does well as a house plant, which can be moved outside during the summer months to perfume your deck or balcony.

3. Garden Phlox

Phlox paniculata, Garden Phlox

This hardy garden favorite come in a range of colors and can add long-lasting color and fragrance to your mixed border or rock garden. Shorter varieties are great for growing in containers. Butterflies flock to the sweet scent!

4. Spearmint

Mentha spicata, Spearmint

Spearmint is a fast-growing herb that delivers it all: a minty fragrance, blue flowers favored by pollinators, and leaves you can use fresh in cooking or dry for teas. Just be careful to plant spearmint in a contained area or pot. It spreads quickly and can overtake surrounding plants if not kept under control.

5. French or Common Lilac

Syringa hybrid, Lilac shrub

This familiar bush produces lovely purple flowers that fill the air with their perfume from late spring into summer. Plant along walkways or near decks to enjoy the scent. Cut stems used in indoor arrangements will fill a room with fragrance.

6. English Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia, English Lavender

The most fragrant of the lavender family, English lavender is another sweet-smelling herb that can serve many purposes. Use it for color and scent in a mixed border, or, pot up a single plant and bring its beauty indoors to a sunny window. The purple flowers are a wonderful addition to a fresh or dried arrangement.

7. Peony

Paeonia lactiflora, Peony

The peony bush is the star of the cut flower garden, with its large showy blossoms and attractive foliage – even when not in bloom. It also adds its distinctive scent to garden paths, bridal bouquets, and indoor flower arrangements.

8. Tea Olive

Osmanthus fragrans, Tea Olive

This large shrub produces loads of small flowers over a long season, from late summer into autumn. The tea olive’s intense fragrance makes it a perfect choice for planting near a deck or other places people congregate outside.

9. Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary

Plant rosemary in pots on your deck, bring it inside and place in a sunny kitchen window, or use it as a perennial in your herb or flower gardens. Wherever you put your rosemary plant, it will fill the air with its distinctive scent and provide year-round clippings for arrangements and cooking.

10. Sweet Alyssum

Lobularia maritima, Sweet Alyssum

This low growing annual produces a lovely, softly-sweet aroma. It is perfect for use as a groundcover, in rock gardens, and as a container plant. So small and compact, Sweet Alyssum can easily be tucked in small spaces to add fragrance throughout the landscape.

Your plants–whether in the house, the garden, on the deck, or in a bouquet–should be a treat for all the senses. These scented plants give you options for incorporating fragrance in all aspects of your gardening.

If you’re looking for a list of fragrant plants that grow well in pots, check out Fragrant Plants for Containers.


  1. Fredrick Goad

    Superb site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

    • My Garden Life

      Hi Fredrick,
      You might enjoy the discussion forums found at the Dave’s Garden website. If there isn’t already a thread for fragrant gardens/plants, perhaps you could start one!

  2. Aubrey Schramm

    I enjoy your writing style truly loving this internet site.

    • My Garden Life

      Glad to hear it, Aubrey! Thank you for your kind words.

  3. Syreeta Sutter

    Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

    • My Garden Life

      Hi Syreeta,
      What a coincidence! We’re actually making some design updates soon, but keeping the same color palette (we like it too). Hope to have the “refresh” complete by the end of June so be sure to check back and see our new look.


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