9 of the Best-Smelling Flowers That Belong in Your Garden
This fragrant mix of annuals and perennials will help you find the best smelling flowers for your garden.
There’s nothing like catching the scent of flowers drifting through the window on a warm summer breeze. From roses to sweet peas, here are the most aromatic flowers that will help freshen up any garden. When selecting flowers for your garden or even inside your home in a vase, make sure you know these 26 things florists won’t tell you.
This list of best-smelling flowers has to start with roses! There are a dizzying number of rose varieties, which means you can find the perfect color, growing habit, and scent for your garden. English roses are particularly prized for their aroma and disease resistance. The scent description for the orange ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ rose reads like a wine label: “Fruity, with hints of pear, grape, and citrus.” Here’s the reason why roses are so popular on Valentine’s Day.
The clean, calming scent of lavender has been cherished for millennia, dried and used in cleaning products, soaps, and even medicinally. English lavender is hardy to zone 5 and easy to grow. And they look even lovelier in a bouquet—here’s how to make even the simplest bouquet look elegant.
Lily of the Valley
This perennial ground cover is one of the first to poke through the ground in spring, with slender, dark-green leaves. Lily of the valley flowers hang from green stems like a row of little white bells. Though the flowers are tiny, they have one of the most potent and lovely floral perfumes you’ll ever smell. Don’t know where to start? Here are 10 easy plants you can grow in a container garden.
The scent of bee balm flowers has been described as having hints of mint, oregano, or thyme. There is also an orangey scent to the flowers and leaves, one reason why bee balm is sometimes referred to as “wild bergamot.” (Though true bergamot is derived from citrus oil.) No matter how you describe the spicy scent, it’s a beautiful flower to have in your garden and is hardy in zones 4-9.
Frilly and pretty, sweet peas are beloved for their beauty in the garden, in cut bouquets, and for their honey-sweet scent. These annual or perennial plants are garden vines, so train them over trellises and supports to add a vertical dimension to your yard.
Some find sweet peas fussy to grow. To ensure success, start seeds early, plant in rich soil, and give them lots of sun with shaded roots. When planting, watch out for these plants you didn’t know could be dangerous.
The powerful and rather seductive aroma of Oriental lilies will drift through your windows the moment they bloom in mid-summer. They are also visually stunning with rich color, broad, showy petals, and long stamen. One of the most popular varieties of Oriental lily is ‘Stargazer,’ with petals that are deep reddish-pink edged in white. Even better, lilies are one of those inexpensive flowers that’ll make your garden pop.
If you’re looking for a plant to sweeten the evening air, this is a great choice. Also known as flowering tobacco, nicotiana is grown in most zones as an annual. It has slender, tubular white flowers growing above large green leaves, and the jasmine-like scent is strongest after dark. Look for the heirloom variety Nicotiana alata, or ‘Jasmine Tobacco,’ which is more fragrant than modern cultivars.
Clouds of sweet alyssum in shades of white, purple, and pink are so pretty in garden borders and containers, and they have a wonderful, honey-like scent to boot. Grow alyssum from starts or from seeds planted directly in the ground. It grows as an annual in colder zones, and will readily self-sow in the following years. Growing alyssum in containers is a great way to have easy access to the sweetly scented flowers. And they’ll look lovely in your home too—here are some tips on arranging if you decide to bring them inside.
This is another garden favorite whose fragrance will not only draw you in, but will also attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Phlox grow to heights of two to four feet and are perfect to place behind shorter perennials. The perfumed blooms appear in mid-summer, and you can find varieties of phlox in white, pink, orange, and purple. Next, know these 10 secrets to creating a lovely yard, according to landscape artists.