Flowers have an amazing array of charms when you know what to look for, from night-blooming beauties, to the stars of irresistible wreaths and sachets, to butterfly- and hummingbird-whisperers,survival experts, and even tasty treats. These 5 blooms top our list because their divine scents will draw you into your garden, and make spending time on your deck or in your hammock a delight for your nose as well as your soul. And did we mention that they look beautiful, too? Read on to discover our top 5 fabulously fragrant flowers, and pamper your senses!
1. A Welcome to Spring: Lilac and Wisteria
Blooming flowers are one of the most wondrous signs of spring, and these two beauties use their lovely fragrances to announce that spring is here. While both of these plants bloom only for a short time, their early blooming and wonderful scent of spring will make them a favorite part of your flower garden.
Wisteria (Wisteria futescens) is a climbing vine that produces dangling bundles of beautiful flowers that almost resemble bunches of grapes, and can grow up to 3 feet long (see photo above). Wisteria blooms can be blue, lavender, purple or white, which gives this flower extra points, considering that blue can be a challenging color to find. It is perfect to grow on gazebos, arbors, pergolas or trellises, and can cover structures enough to offer privacy. On the other hand, you’ll need to prune wisteria to keep it from taking over everything. Wisteria also attracts butterflies. If you’re looking for a beautiful, sweet-smelling vine to greet you next spring, plant some wisteria this fall! Wisteria is perennial in USDA hardiness zones 5b to 9a. It covers much of the contiguous U.S., except cooler areas such as the upper Midwest and parts of New England.
If you live in one of those cooler climates, or if you would prefer a shrub instead of a vine, check out the lovely lilac. Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) are shrubs that can grow up to 12 feet tall after several years, but you can keep your lilac the size you want by pruning it. Lilacs produce clusters of small blooms that can be white, lavender, pink or purple (see photo at the top of this article). Lilac shrubs are ideal near doorways, because you will smell their lovely fragrance every time you enter or leave your home while they’re in bloom. Common lavender thrives in USDA hardiness zones 3b to 6b, so this is a perfect plant for the upper Midwest and New England, but not for the South. If you’d like to be greeted by lilac next spring, plant some this fall!
2. Sweetness on a Budget: Sweet Alyssum
Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) produces a lovely scent that drifts through the air and reaches your nose in spite of this plant’s low-to-the-ground profile. Alyssum produces large numbers of small, 4-petalled blooms that can be pink, purple, or white, from early spring until fall.
Best of all, you get all this beauty and olfactory pleasure for very little effort and expense. Sweet alyssum seeds are very inexpensive, and you can sow them uncovered directly into your garden. While sweet alyssum is an annual, it reseeds itself, which means you’ll have “volunteer” alyssum popping up next season. Alyssum is a mat-forming plant, which makes it an ideal ground cover. This sweet-smelling beauty grows well in partial shade as well as in full sun. What more could you ask for?
3. Exotic Beauty: Chocolate Cosmos
If you’re looking for an exotic beauty with a mouth-watering scent, look no further. Chocolate Cosmos(Cosmos atrosanguineus) is an absolutely striking flower that originates in Mexico.
This unique flower is sure to grab your guests’ attention both with its striking deep blood-red color (see photo above) and its alluring chocolate-vanilla scent. But, like most flowers, this plant is poisonous, so just stick to sniffing.
This tropical beauty is perennial in USDA hardiness zones 8a to 10a (Louisiana, Florida, southern Georgia, coastal South Carolina, southern Alabama, etc.). It can grow as an annual or container plant elsewhere. Cluster 6 to 8 plants together to revel in the full effect of chocolate cosmos’s yummy scent.
4. Hardy Dianthus
Dianthus are a longtime favorite with gardeners. Their lovely blossoms (see photo above) are made even better by their spicy fragrance and attractive foliage. Dianthis is a large family of flowers, most of which are perennial in a large range of climates. Dianthius x allwoodii, for example, is perennial in USDA hardiness zones 4a to 10a, which spans from the upper Midwest to Florida. Dianthius x allwoodiican produce pink, red or white blooms, attracts butterflies, and has lovely, silvery foliage. Dianthus also makes wonderful bouquets and dried arrangements.
5. Lovely Sweet Pea
Sweet pea smells just as good as it sounds, and its sweet scent quickly spreads across your garden with the breeze. Sweet pea blooms in the spring and summer, although it doesn’t thrive during particularly hot weather. Some types of sweet pea can grow quite tall, even reaching 4 to 6 feet, while others aren’t as tall. Look for bush varieties if you prefer shorter plants.
Most varieties of sweet peas produce blooms that are white, pink, lavender, purple, yellow or red, or a combination of those colors. If you’re interested in sweet pea’s lovely scent, be aware that some varieties lack this quality. Therefore, make sure that you choose a sweet pea that is actually sweet-smelling. Your gardening center will be able to tell you. You can even check a resource such as the National Gardening Association’s Plant Guide. For example, the Plant Guide says that Lathyrus odoratus has fragrant flowers (in this case, the name is also a pretty good clue).
Bonus: Sweetest-Smelling Roses
Roses are one of the world’s most popular flowers, but some roses are superior to others in the scent department. Do you love roses? Here is useful list that Better Homes and Gardens put together of 10 of the most fragrant garden roses.