If you’re looking for stunning flowers to add to your garden that will add fragrance as well as beauty, there are many different options to choose from. Quite simply, the best fragrant flowers for your garden may depend on your location, growing zone, etc.
To help you narrow down the extensive list of options you’re likely to find, check out our list of top fragrant flowers. Many of these options are widely grown worldwide, making them popular favorites among gardeners and novices alike.
Gardenias are some of the most popular fragrant flowers, known for growing in a wide range of locations. These beauties boast large, milky white blooms that look similar to roses. They’re sensitive to cold winters but are easy to plant in containers as well.
2. Arabian Jasmine
Arabian Jasmine is the national flower in the Phillippines, and it’s loved for its strong fragrance (which differs from traditional jasmine flowers). Expect to find a more vanilla-like scent. The blooms will grow easily in tropical areas, and bloom during the heat of summer.
With their purple blooms an almond-like scent, heliotropes are sometimes said to smell like homemade cherry pie cooling in the window. This annual does well in full-sun locations with hot summers, and you can expect blooms in the summer and fall.
Lavender is a popular herb to grow at home, is among the most fragrant flowers, and easy to grow both indoors and out. Its essential oil has calming and healing aromatherapy effects, and the plants look great in containers or planted along a walkway. Find a sunny spot with well-draining soil for the best results.
Gardeners lean toward hyacinths for their fragrance and beauty. They come in various shades, from blue and violet to white, yellow, orange, and pink. While each color bloom will offer a slightly varying scent in the spring, they’re all lightly floral. Plant them in a partial shade area near a walkway or window.
Freesias are popular amongst both European and South African gardeners, bearing yellow or white flowers with a fun, fruity scent. They almost smell like wine, although not all varieties are fragrant.
Roses are a fan favorite in just about any garden. Some varieties, however, are bred with color or form in mind, rather than scent. You can find aromatic varieties with scents ranging from musky to fruity, in a variety of color.
There are many hues and scents to choose from, and each variety will differ in their growing habits as well. You’ll most likely need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight and well-draining soil. The best fragrances are said to come from varieties such as Chine, Bourbon, and Yves Piaget.
Honeysuckle is an extremely popular flower for those who love sweet scents. They’ll exude fruity notes along with honey and vanilla. The vines can grow up to 40 feet long, and these plants will thrive in a warm environment with little care.
My personal favorite, lilac offers a heavenly aroma and grows with little care. These shrubs are hardy and low-maintenance additions to the garden, and you can find them in white, pink, or purple shades. The best part about these fragrant flowers is that they attract beneficial butterflies.
In addition, they make great cut flower arrangements for any occasion. Plant them in a full sun spot with rich, well-draining soil.
10. Stargazer Lily
A flower that appears to gaze up at the night sky, the Stargazer lily grows well in partial shade and is very aromatic. Look for a hybrid variety for the best fragrance, which is usually spicy yet sensual and addictive.
11. Sweet Alyssum
Delicate and subtle, these tiny blooms offer a sweet scent. They’re extremely easy to care for, and all they need is a bright spot with well-drained soil to produce blooms throughout the entire summer.
Stocks are hardy flowers that come in a range of colors, and are florist favorites to use in cut arrangements. They smell pleasant, and the mild fragrance blends nicely. When planted in a sunny location with well-drained soil, they’ll provide blooms throughout the entire season. They do well in colder climates as well, but can grow in the tropics with special care.
13. Scarlet Pineapple Sage
A shrub-like perennial, Scarlet Pineapple sage can grow up to 4 feet tall and it offers bright red blooms. As the name suggests, the flowers smell like ripe pineapples. You can grow this plant in a wide range of locations as well, including zones 5 to 24.
Daphne’s alluring fragrance is often found in perfumes, and gardeners find that growing this plant is easy because it requires little maintenance. Because it enjoys colder climates, this plant will grow in winter and bloom momentarily in early spring.
Another popular scent found in perfumes, Ylang-Ylang (pronounced eelang-eelang) grows well in zones 10 and 11, or rainforest settings. It’s commonly known as the perfume tree because of its great scent, and you can smell the exotic blooms from a long distance away.
With a stunning scent and foliage, viburnums will bloom in a cluster of tiny, super fragrant flowers throughout the spring and summer months. The variety known as Korean spice is a great addition for any shrub garden, and the blooms will range in color from white and pink to red.
17. Lily of the Valley
These dainty blooms smell like springtime itself. Lily of the Valley’s flowers look like tiny white bells, and are easy to grow in partial shade with moist soil. Just note that it can become invasive if planted outdoors. This plant is also better grown in containers, as it’s poisonous to kids and pets.
18. Angel’s Trumpet
This shrub enjoys wood-like settings and comes in a wide range of hues. Although most of the varieties available will come with strong fragrances, Charles Grimaldi is the best-scented option.
Also known as tobacco flower, Nicotiana grows tubular flowers that will open around noon and smell strongly during dusk hours. This small flower is an ornamental, perfect for flower beds, and comes in a wide range of colors.
20. Sweet Autumn Clematis
With white clusters of flowers, Sweet Autumn clematis almost appears silver. It flowers during the late summer into fall, and the fragrance is strong and appealing. Plant them in partial shade to watch them thrive, and prune back the long vines during the summer for the best results. Otherwise, this plant can grow up to 30 feet per year.
21. Flowering Plum
The clusters of tiny light pink and white colored buds on this tree will appear even before the leaves, and they offer a honey-like scent that’s especially noticeable on sunny, warm days. Flowering plum will reach up to 30 feet tall in a full-sun location.
A tropical shrub that’s closely related to oleander, plumeria offers gorgeous clusters of flowers and a soft fragrance. It smells great during the day but stronger at night, and you may find this plant called Yasmin or champa as well. This flower is often used to create wonderful smelling leis in Hawaii, which are used to welcome visitors.
23. Scented Geranium
Although geranium offers stunning flowers, this plant’s famous fragrance actually comes from its leaves.
Crush the leaves, and you’ll notice an oil released that’s packed with its sweet scent. Some say it smells like mint or lemon, others claim its fruitier, like strawberries or apricots. No matter which scent your geranium plants take after, a full sun or partial shade location is best.
24. Scented Primrose
A flower that’s widely grown across Europe, primrose comes in varying bright colors. The scented varieties will offer a fruity smell, and these flowers tend to signify the beginning of springtime. They’re easy to grow outdoors or in a container garden.
25. Star Magnolia
Star Magnolia is a slow-growing shrub that can reach up to 20 feet tall in sun or part shade. These pink buds will open up to reveal white flowers during the early spring months, and you can expect your plants to smell sweet, with subtle citrus notes.
26. Mexican Orange
With small white blooms, the Mexican Orange plant smells like a mix of gardenia with orange blossoms. Contrary to what you may think, this plant is a shrub rather than a citrus tree. It does well in sunny or partial shade locations, typically in colder climates.
27. Chocolate Cosmos
If you love the smell of chocolate, this plant will astound you. It’s unlike any other fragrant flower, with hints of vanilla and a strong chocolatey aroma. The flowers are a deep red or nearly brown hue, and will bloom during the night. Expect the fragrance to intensify in the summer heat.
28. Sweet Pea
An annual plant with an intense fragrance, sweet pea’s small flowers come in white, pink, yellow, and deep red shades. They’re commonly found in floral arrangements in boutiques thanks to their pleasant scent, and they’re popular in gardens as well. Expect the blooms to come up in the spring and winter.
Peony blooms smell as great as they look, and come in varying colors and scents. Some are more distinct than others, but the variety known as Charlie’s White is a popular option. This one has a distinctive fragrance and large white blooms, which flower from May until July.
30. Flowering Crabapple
A small crabapple tree that will flower in the spring, this plant offers attractive blooms in the Autumn landscape. You can find disease-resistant varieties available, such as Prarifire, and in a full-sun location, the flowers may bloom all season long.
A Final Word
The best part about filling your garden and home with these fragrant flowers is that you have the option to create your own floral arrangements as gifts or bring the scent inside your home. Enjoy the scent all year long by preserving the blooms or try using them to create your own perfume.