15 Fragrant Garden Flowers

Fill your yard with scent-sational flowers that smell as good as they look.

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Easy Elegance Rose

Few plants symbolize fragrance like roses. This group of plants features shrubs, climbers, miniatures — and all sorts of other wonderful types. Flower color runs the gamut, including white, deep burgundy (almost black), lemon yellow and a host of other hues. New rose introductions like the Easy Elegance collection feature disease-resistant leaves with strong winter hardiness (Zones 5-9). Kiss Me (Rosa 'BAIsme’) unfurls richly petaled blooms reminiscent of old English garden roses — and redolent with fragrance. Other roses packed with perfume? A few that have stood the test of time include 'Autumn Damask’ (Zones 5-9), 'Madame Isaac Pereire’ (Zones 6-9), 'Double Delight’ (Zones 3-9), 'Mister Lincoln (Zones 5-9) and 'Roseraie de l’Hay’ (Zones 3-9).

‘Sweet Summer Love’ Clematis

‘Sweet Summer Love’ clematis is the hot weather cousin to sweet autumn clematis, a classic fall bloomer that opens sweetly scented flowers. ‘Sweet Summer Love’ clematis unfurls flowers all summer long — from July through September — that exude a sweet fragrance. On hot humid days, the scent hangs deliciously in the air. Blossoms start a cranberry hue and shift to purple as they age. Best of all, ‘Sweet Summer Love’ won’t invade your garden with unwanted seedlings (like its cousin, sweet autumn clematis). Plants benefit from a hard pruning (cut stems to 6" tall) in late winter. Vines grow 10' to 15' tall and 6' to 10' wide — a great choice for an entry arch or trellis. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

‘Sweet Tea’ Gardenia

The classic corsage flower, gardenia delivers fragrance — and ‘Sweet Tea’ is no exception. Pure white, tennis ball-size blooms contrast beautifully with waxy, deep-green leaves. Plants grow 3' to 5' tall and wide, with a strong upright shape. The secret to a happy gardenia in the landscape is thick mulch, no soil disturbance (roots like to be left alone) and monthly feeding with an acid fertilizer, blood meal or fish emulsion. Grow ‘Sweet Tea’ as a hedge, or tuck it in a pot you can place beside your favorite outdoor seat to keep the perfume close at hand. Hardy in Zones 7 to 10.

Dutch Hyacinth

Dutch hyacinth is a fragrance powerhouse in the garden. Its stocky blooms open in mid-spring, around the time that daffodils strut their stuff. The blooms release a rich, full fragrance that can fill the spring garden. Indoors, pots of forced hyacinths bring spring scents to life in the heart of winter. Plant bulbs in fall for a spring show in the garden. Choose flower colors in many shades, including pink, purple, blue, salmon, white and red. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

Flowering Stock

In the cool weather seasons of fall and spring, count on flowering stock (Matthiola incana) to deliver amazing fragrance with its strong and spicy clove-scented blooms. This variety is ‘Sugar & Spice,’ and it grows 10" to 12" tall and 8" to 10" wide. Stock is a much beloved old-fashioned flower, a common plant in Victorian-era gardens. The modern varieties offer things like better heat tolerance and a vivid range of jewel-tone blooms, including deep violet, rose-pink, fuchsia and white. Use flowering stock in containers or planting beds, placing it near an entrance so you can savor the scent. This is an annual plant, dying after a hard frost.

Chocolate Flower

Can’t get enough chocolate? Then this is the plant for you. Chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata) is a native wildflower from the Southwest. These sunny yellow blossoms release a rich chocolate fragrance during the morning hours. Plants are drought-tolerant once established and make a great choice for low water-use or xeriscape gardens. Encourage longer blooming and tame plant sprawl by cutting stems back in midsummer. Chocolate flower grows 12" to 20" tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

Pansy and Sweet Alyssum

Fill spring and fall with eye-catching color and sweet floral perfume by planting a container overflowing with fragrant annuals. This pot features a trio of plants that thrive in the seasons when days and nights are cool. Perennial 'Lucius’ snowy woodrush (Luzula nivea 'Lucius’) is the grassy green plant in the center of the container (hardy in Zones 4-9). It’s surrounded by Cool Wave Lavender Blue Trailing Pansy, which has a light floral fragrance. Clear Crystal white sweet alyssum offers a sweet perfume. This group of plants beckons early and late season pollinator insects.

‘First Love’ Dianthus

Fill your garden with the spicy clove fragrance of ‘First Love’ dianthus. Also known as cheddar pink, dianthus is a strong garden performer, unfurling flowers from mid-spring until fall frost. Removing spent blooms on plants ensures a steady, season-long flower show. Like other dianthus, ‘First Love’ is a short-lived perennial, lasting just a few years in the garden. Flowers open pure white and fade to bright rose. In winter, evergreen leaves add color to the garden in warmer regions. Plants grow 14" to 20" tall and 12" to 16" wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9.

Scentropia Dark Blue Heliotrope

This old-fashioned beauty brings unparalleled fragrance to the garden. Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) is a native of Peru and is an annual in all but the very warmest regions (Zones 10-11). Also known as cherry pie plant, heliotrope has a complex fragrance that’s said to have notes of marzipan, vanilla, almond and cherry pie. Grow it in containers to keep the scent close at hand on a patio or deck. Or fill a flower bed with this blooming beauty to release a wave of living aromatherapy in your yard. Give heliotrope rich, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade (a little shade is good during the hottest part of the day). Pinch growing tips when young to encourage branching, and remove spent blooms to promote more flowers.

‘Stargazer’ Oriental Lily

‘Stargazer’ Oriental lily unfurls large blooms that exude a rich perfume. Petals are deep pink with a white edge. Oriental lily grows from a bulb that can be planted in fall or spring. Top-heavy stems grow to 3' and benefit from staking. Add stakes at planting time to help avoid spearing bulbs. Flowers appear in midsummer and can scent an entire yard on a steamy summer evening. Grow Oriental lilies in planting beds or containers. Hardy in Zones 3-9.

Sunset Hyssop

Welcome a native Amerian wildflower to your garden with sunset hyssop (Agastache rupestris). This blooming beauty brings a rich root beer aroma to the garden. Flowers appear on the plant from late summer to frost, unfurling in shades of sunset-orange. Pollinators mob this wildflower. It grows best in well-drained soil and is extremely drought tolerant once established. It’s a good plant for a xeriscape or low water-use garden. Wait until spring to cut back old growth. Plants grow 20" to 24" tall and 16" to 20" wide. Hardy in Zones 4-10.

Spice Girl Korean Spice Viburnum

Spice Girl viburnum is a selection of Korean spice viburnum, which is beloved for its wonderful fragrance that can perfume an entire yard in mid-spring. Flower clusters start with pink buds that open to reveal white blossoms. Spice Girl viburnum dazzles with bright red fall color and is deer resistant. Give it a spot in light shade to full sun. Spice Girl viburnum grows 6' to 7' tall and 7' to 8' wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.


It’s tough to beat the floral perfume of lilacs. These flowering shrubs open blooms from late spring to early summer, depending on variety. The blossoms offer traditional colors, like purple, lavender and white. You can also find lilacs with pink, yellow and even bicolor blooms. A few lilacs actually lack fragrance, so it’s important to do your homework before buying a plant. Some of the most fragrant varieties include light blue 'President Grevy (Zones 3-7, shown), wine-red 'Congo’ (Zones 4-7), pink 'Maiden’s Blush’ (Zones 2-7) and white 'Beauty of Moscow’ (Zones 3-7). Plants grow from shrub to small tree size, reaching from 3' to 15' tall. Hardiness depends on variety, from Zones 2-9.

Garden Phlox

Tall garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) is an old-fashioned perennial that fills midsummer with perfumed color. Flowers open in shades of pink, red, purple, white and various bicolor combinations. The blooms release a sweet fragrance that wafts through the garden on sultry summer days. This beauty is sold as Flame Series Coral garden phlox. The Flame Series is a group of naturally dwarf, compact garden phlox that grows 15" to 18" tall — a perfect height for containers, the front of the border or courtyard gardens. Plants boast strong disease resistance and a naturally bushy form. Hardy in Zones 3-8.

Sweet Romance Lavender

Include beautiful English lavender (Lavender angustifolia) in your garden plans for a plant that’s packed with fragrance. Leaves, flowers and stems all exude that classic lavender scent, and when sun warms the plants, you only need to brush the leaves to release the fragrance. Lavender helps keep biting mosquitoes at bay outdoors. In the evening, reap its bug-busting benefits by crushing flower buds and leaves and rubbing them on your skin. Tuck lavender into pots or planting beds. Plants grow 12" to 18" tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

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