21 plants for a fragrant garden
Spoil one of your strongest senses with some of the most fragrant flowers around.
1. Murraya paniculata
Also known as cosmetic bark, jasmine orange and orange jessamine, this evergreen shrub makes for a five-star hedging plant and offers a profusion of white, sweetly-perfumed flowers from spring to autumn.
2. Heliotrope or ‘Cherry Pie’ (Heliotropium arborescens)
For a vision of violet in your garden, plant this spreading, evergreen, bun-shaped shrub. Its shiny oval leaves are complemented by clusters of brilliant purple flowers that release a rich, vanilla fragrance, from early spring to late summer.
Brimming with pretty white flowers, this bloom’s intense, creamy scent is famous in the perfume world. Flowers appear in late summer through to autumn or winter, bulbs are easily grown in pots and it makes a long-lasting cut flower.
4. Night-scented jessamine (Cestrum nocturnum)
When the sun goes down, this plant comes into its own. An evergreen shrub, it produces yellow-green tubular flowers in spring and summer, which release an intense fragrance at night that's best enjoyed from afar.
Spruce up your garden with the many brilliant shades of freesia. One of the easiest bulbs to cultivate, it makes a great cut flower and is suitable for pots or can be left undisturbed in the ground for many years.
Although this evergreen shrub is deciduous, new foliage appears at the same time old leaves are dropping, so there’s no leaflessness. The gorgeous Gratissima (pictured) is the best-known variety and stars large clusters of pink flowers from autumn to mid-winter.
This versatile shrub flowers late spring to summer and features both evergreen and deciduous forms, with varying intensities of a zesty orange-like scent. The best-loved varieties are ‘Virginal’, coronarius and the evergreen mexicanus.
8. Osmanthus fragrans or ‘Sweet Olive’
A large shrub with small, inconspicuous flowers which deliver a strong, exquisite fragrance that's often compared to the aroma of apricots many times magnified. A popular hedging or specimen plant, osmanthus flowers prolifically in winter and repeatedly throughout the year.
Roses are some of the most romantic and fragrant flowers you can grow, and their scents are countless, from traditional to more spicy, musky or fruity. Plant a few varieties to keep your garden perfumed from spring to autumn. Click to select your perfect rose.
10. Frangipani (Plumeria)
With its delicious scent (which intensifies at night), this iconic tree will transform your garden into a heavenly abode with clusters of flowers from November to April. Despite growing to an impressive eight metres in the ground, frangipani also makes a great pot plant. Learn more about frangipani.
Wisteria is a beautiful, vanilla scented spring-flowering climber. Chinese wisteria is seen most frequently in gardens and is easy to grow. Japanese wisteria is one of the most spectacular varieties with hanging racemes up to one metre long. Learn more about wisteria.
12. Jonquil (Narcissus)
Thriving on neglect, even the brownest of thumbs will find these cheery bulbs are a cinch to grow. The sweet-scented flowers announce the coming of spring and come in a range of colours including white, cream and bright yellow.
13. Jasminum polyanthum
If you know the sweet scent of jasmine, you know it’s impossible to forget. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the perfume world’s most popular fragrance notes. Jasmine is adorned with masses of flowers and offers fast growth and hardiness. Learn more about jasminum polyanthum.
14. Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
Gardenias are one of the most rewarding fragrant shrubs to grow. Gardenia jasminoides in particular gives off a powerful fragrance, massed cream flowers from spring to autumn and glossy green leaves that are perfect for your garden, a hedge or a pot.
Hyacinth reveals its freshly-scented blooms in winter and spring when bulbs transform into tight clusters of purple, white, blue, pink or yellow flowers. Hyacinth also makes for a unique and beautiful feature when grown in a bulb vase.
16. ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ (Brunfelsia latifolia)
So called because over three days its fragrant flowers open deep purple, fade to lilac with a white ‘eye’, then soften to white. This evergreen shrub can grow almost three metres high but the “Sweet Petite” variety is a compact one metre.
17. Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)
A large shrub with long, narrow leaves that, as the name suggests, attracts butterflies. In summer, long arching shoots made up of masses of little tubular flowers emerge, in a range of colours including white, pink, lilac or dark purple.
18. Chinese star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
This evergreen climber has glossy leaves and masses of star-shaped, lace-like white flowers, from mid-spring to early summer. The stems will climb over supports and cling to walls, fences and pergolas with ease and abandon. Learn more about Chinese star jasmine.
19. Daphne Perfume Princess
Up your fragrant garden game with 2016’s Plant of the Year. Blush-pink blooms (later fading to white) appear mid-winter to spring. As the earliest and longest flowering of any daphne variety, you can really savour the heady, citrus scent. Learn more about Daphne Perfume Princess.
You’d be forgiven for not expecting this evergreen shrub to be on our list, but these glossy plants produce tiny, scented blossoms in spring and definitely deserve some love. Viburnum odoratissimum (sweet viburnum) is a particularly beautiful-scented variety.
21. Madagascar jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda)
Looking and smelling much like jasmine, Madagascar jasmine is actually in a genus of its own. From November to April, this evergreen climber produces clusters of white, powerfully-scented, bell-shaped flowers. With a little care, it can be grown indoors too.