20 Best Scented plants

 Scented plants are such a bonus in the garden, with the added benefit that many are aromatic and attractive to bees and butterflies. Warm days will enhance the scent, and it is nice to sit near to or walk around scented plants. If your garden space is limited, you can create a wonderful scented area using containers with a few chosen plants close to the house, on a balcony or patio area.  

Below is a selection of (mainly) easy to grow scented plants. If you are looking to fill gaps in the border, check out the lists below of scented plants and shrubs. 

 In this group of scented plants are some of our garden favourites, such as Lavender, Roses and Honeysuckle. There are many to choose from, including fragrant shrubs. We know the shrub Daphne for is lovely perfume, but it is not 100% reliable or easy to grow. In contrast, Choisya is easier to grow, its evergreen with attractive glossy leaves and tolerant of a wide range of conditions. Equally easy is Philadelphus, common name ' The Mock orange', a deciduous summer flowering shrub which will fill the air around with scent.

Buy Scented Shrubs and Plants

Lavender

Lavendar

Lavender is a summer flowering perennial and illustrated is Lavandula angustifolia, often called English lavender. This variety L. Hidcote is hardier, in contrast with L. stoechas, the French Lavender which is not fully hardy. There are many shades and sizes of Lavender and varying degrees of hardiness. I like to plant Lavender alongside a pathway so that as you brush past the lavender; it releases scent. For images of types of lavender and how to make a lavender path.

Lily

Lily

Lily is a showy, powerfully scented  summer flowering bulb. Not all Lily flowers are scented, check out growing advice to pick the best for your garden.

Lilies are well adapted to growing in containers and make a stylish and wonderfully scented statement on a patio. 

The taller varieties may require some support and watchout for the Lily Beetle. (when you find it a squish with your fingers, is best.)

Choiysa

Choiysa Aztec pearl

Choiysa is an evergreen shrub with glossy leaves and a rich sweet scent flowering in early summer from mid-May onwards. Known as Mexican orange blossom, because of its lovely scent, it is also easy to grow unfussy about soil conditions. Illustrated is c. Aztec pearl which will grow up to around 2.5m.

Virburnum

Viburnum x carlcephalum

Some Viburnum are highly scented and there are both evergreen and deciduous varieties. Viburnums are easy shrubs to grow, and which required little or no maintenance. This variety x carlcephalum has dozens of very scented snowball like flowers in early spring,  tips on growing Viburnum

Clematis

clematis montana 'Elizabeth'

There are several scented varieties of Clematis montana. Probably the most well known is Clematis montana 'Elizabeth', which has vanilla scented flowers. C. Montana is vigorous, May flowering and Pruning group 1 which makes it one of the easier Clematis to grow. For tips about growing Clematis including Montana Elizabeth. So many new Clematis are being brought to the market, means new scented varieties are being developed all the time, and it is worth searching them out.

Wisteria

Wisteria

A mature Wisteria is a spectacular plant with long mauve or white raceme flowers. It is eye-catching. Not only is it beautiful, but it also has (select the right varieties,) powerful scent. It is understandable why Wisteria is such a sort after climbing plant.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to grow. Advise on growing Wisteria and a video on how to prune Wisteria which is important to keep it flowering each year.

Buddleja

Buddleja the butterfly bush

Buddleja  is a lightly deciduous shrub, perhaps correct to say more aromatic than scented, and it is its aromatic quality which draws the butterflies in. It is a summer flowering shrub. There are many varieties and all are easy to grow with only a limited requirement for pruning and reward with scented flowers in late spring and early summer.

Sweet Peas

Sweet Pea

Sweet Peas are a highly scented annual, which means they grow, flower and finish in one year. A highly perfumed climbing plant, which adds height and scent to a border. In a good summer, Sweet Peas has a long flowering period from June to October. The downside is that sweet peas need a lot of attention. Lots of advice on the growing Sweet Peas

Philadelphus

Philadelphus

Another easy to grow shrub with wonderful scented flowers. It is deciduous, and fairly vigorous growing up to around 2.5m which means it needs a fair amount of space in the border. Philadelphus flowers in spring and early summer and makes a great addition to a mixed shrub border.

Tips on growing Philadelphus.

Honeysuckle

Lonicera common name honeysuckle

Honeysuckle is a woodland climbing plant with a sweet scent. It is a garden favourite and commonly grown. Planting position is important. As a woodland plant, it likes its roots in the shade and head in the sun. Some varieties are more scented than others information on the best varieties to grow for summer scent. There is also the most wonderfully perfumed Winter flowering Honeysuckle which arguable is the best scented plant of all. 

Monarda

Monarda

Monarda is a herbaceous summer flowering perennial with aromatic leaves and very attractive to bees. It is clump forming, and illustrated is M.Squaw. The only drawback is that it is a relatively short-lived perennial, but well worth growing, not least to help the bees. Its common name is Bee Balm.  

Nepeta

Nepeta Cat Mint

 Nepeta, common name Cat Mint, is a summer flowering aromatic perennial and a much better plant than it gets credit for. Aromatic, attractive to bees and able to grow almost anywhere, it makes a soft blue cloud of colour. Nepeta is ideal in blue colour planting schemes where for example Lavender will not tolerate the conditions. 

Winter Flowering Honeysuckle

winter flowering Honeysuckle

Winter Flowering Honeysuckle,  Latin name Lonicera fragrantissima  flowers from mid-December through to March and has very sweetly scented small white flowers.

True to say that the winter flowering honeysuckle has a knockout scent, one of the best. 

Rhododendron luteum

Scented, yellow Rhododendron luteum

There are some scented Rhododendrons, illustrated and one of the most popular is Rhododendron luteum . It has a sweet fragrance flowering in the spring. In common with all Rhododendrons R. luteum needs to be planted in acid soil and will tolerate semi shade. It is easy to grow and trouble free. 

Wallflowers

The brightly colored spring flowers of Erysimum cheiri Cheiranthus also kno

The brightly coloured spring flowers of Erysimum cheiri Cheiranthus also known as wallflowers, have a powerful sweet scent.

They make great spring bedding displays. Many Wallflowers are biennial and short-lived, it's not uncommon to treat them as bedding and replace each year. Some are more scented than others - find out which are best to buy for scent.

Scented Narcissus

Narcissus-scented-'Fragrant Rose'

Most daffodils do have a light scent, but there are some Narcissus which are highly perfumed. Illustrated is N. 'Fragrant Rose' and there is a good selected of very scented bulbs available.

Scented narcissus is ideal planted with wallflowers and Hyacinth also very scented for a spring bulb display which packs a powerful punch of scent as well.

Last updated 11.02.2022