The Best Plants for Scented Gardens

Table of Contents

A beautifully designed scented garden featuring the best fragrant garden plants, including vibrant best smelling flowers, aromatic herbs, and lush fragrant shrubs.

The Best Plants for Scented Gardens: An Introduction

The delightful aromas can make your garden a relaxing and enjoyable place to be. Let’s explore why having a fragrant garden is important and the benefits it brings.

Importance of a Fragrant Garden

A fragrant garden can transform your outdoor space into a sensory haven. The sweet smells can evoke memories, improve mood, and even reduce stress. Imagine walking through your garden and being greeted by the lovely scent of blooming flowers. It’s a simple pleasure that can make a big difference in your daily life.

Benefits of Scented Plants

They can attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which are essential for a healthy garden. Some fragrant plants also have medicinal properties. For example, lavender is known for its calming effects and can be used in teas and oils. Additionally, a scented garden can increase the value of your property, making it a smart investment.

Fragrant Garden Plants: The Top Choices

Best Smelling Flowers

  • Roses: Known for their classic beauty and sweet scent. They come in many colors and varieties. Some types, like the Damask rose, are especially fragrant.
  • Jasmine: They bloom in the evening, filling the air with a sweet, exotic aroma. Jasmine is often used in perfumes and teas.
  • Lavender: The purple flowers are not only beautiful but also useful. Lavender oil is often used in aromatherapy to help people relax.
  • Peonies: Peonies are large, lush flowers that smell wonderful. They bloom in late spring and early summer. Peonies come in many colors, from white to deep red, and are a favorite in many gardens.

Aromatic Herbs for Gardens


Known for its refreshing scent and taste. It grows well in both gardens and pots. Mint can spread quickly, so it’s best to plant it in a container. This herb is great for teas, salads, and desserts.

Tip: Keep mint in a sunny spot with well-drained soil.


It is a woody herb with needle-like leaves. It has a strong, pine-like aroma. This herb is often used in cooking, especially with meats and potatoes. Rosemary can also be used to make fragrant wreaths and sachets.

Tip: Plant rosemary in full sun and well-drained soil. It can grow quite large, so give it space.


It has a pleasant, earthy scent. Thyme is a staple in many kitchens and is used to flavor soups, stews, and roasted dishes. It also attracts bees and other beneficial insects.

Tip: Thyme prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It can be grown in garden beds or containers.


It is a tender herb with large, fragrant leaves. It is a key ingredient in many dishes, including pesto and tomato-based recipes. Basil also repels certain pests, making it a good companion plant.

Tip: Plant basil in a sunny spot with rich, well-drained soil. Pinch off the flowers to encourage more leaf growth.

Herb Preferred Sunlight Soil Type Uses
Mint Full Sun Well-Drained Teas, Salads, Desserts
Rosemary Full Sun Well-Drained Cooking, Wreaths, Sachets
Thyme Full Sun Well-Drained Soups, Stews, Roasted Dishes
Basil Full Sun Rich, Well-Drained Pesto, Tomato Dishes

Scented Garden Design: Planning and Planting

Choosing the Right Location

When planning a scented garden, the first step is to choose the right location. Look for a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. Most fragrant plants need at least 6 hours of sun each day. Also, consider the wind. A sheltered area can help keep the scents from blowing away too quickly.

Planning for Different Seasons

Choose plants that bloom at various times. For example, plant lavender for summer fragrance and winter daphne for winter scent. This way, you will always have something fragrant in your garden.

Combining Colors and Scents

Think about how different plants will look and smell together. For example, the purple flowers of lavender pair well with the white blooms of jasmine. This combination not only looks beautiful but also creates a delightful mix of scents.

Top Fragrant Plants: A Closer Look

Perfumed Garden Flowers

  • Lilacs: Known for their sweet fragrance. They bloom in spring and come in colors like purple, white, and pink. Lilacs can grow as tall as 15 feet.
  • Gardenias: They have a strong, sweet scent. They are evergreen shrubs that bloom in summer. Gardenias need lots of sunlight and well-drained soil.
  • Hyacinths: They bloom in early spring and come in many colors, including blue, pink, and white. Hyacinths are great for borders and containers.
Flower Bloom Time Color Height
Lilacs Spring Purple, White, Pink Up to 15 feet
Gardenias Summer White Up to 6 feet
Hyacinths Early Spring Blue, Pink, White Up to 1 foot

Sweet-Smelling Garden Plants


A popular choice for gardens due to its sweet fragrance. This plant blooms in late spring and summer, filling the air with a delightful scent. Honeysuckle can also attract hummingbirds and butterflies, adding more life to your garden.

Did you know? There are over 180 species of honeysuckle, and they can be grown as shrubs or vines.


Chamomile is known for its calming scent and is often used in teas. This plant has small, daisy-like flowers that bloom in the summer. Chamomile is easy to grow and can thrive in various soil types.

Fun fact: Chamomile has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for stress and sleep problems.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm has a fresh, lemony scent that is very refreshing. This plant is part of the mint family and grows well in sunny spots. Lemon Balm is also known for its calming effects and can be used in teas and recipes.

Interesting: Lemon Balm can help repel mosquitoes, making it a great addition to outdoor spaces.

Plant Bloom Time Special Features
Honeysuckle Late Spring to Summer Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
Chamomile Summer Used in teas for calming effects
Lemon Balm Summer Repels mosquitoes

Fragrant Shrubs for Gardens: Adding Structure and Scent


Daphne shrubs are known for their sweet-smelling flowers. They bloom in late winter to early spring, adding early color and fragrance to your garden. Daphne prefers well-drained soil and partial shade.

Feature Details
Bloom Time Late Winter to Early Spring
Preferred Soil Well-drained
Light Requirement Partial Shade


Lilac shrubs are famous for their lovely purple flowers and strong fragrance. They bloom in late spring and are easy to grow. Lilacs prefer full sun and well-drained soil.

Feature Details
Bloom Time Late Spring
Preferred Soil Well-drained
Light Requirement Full Sun

Mock Orange

Mock Orange shrubs produce white flowers with a citrus-like scent. They bloom in late spring to early summer. Mock Orange thrives in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.

Feature Details
Bloom Time Late Spring to Early Summer
Preferred Soil Well-drained
Light Requirement Full Sun to Partial Shade

Scented Perennials: Long-Lasting Fragrance

  • Phlox: Known for its sweet scent and vibrant colors. It blooms in late spring to early summer and can fill your garden with a pleasant aroma. Phlox is also great for attracting butterflies.
  • Peony: Are famous for their large, fragrant blooms. They come in various colors like pink, white, and red. Peonies usually bloom in late spring and early summer, adding both beauty and scent to your garden.
  • Daylily: Hardy perennials that can thrive in many conditions. They have a light, sweet fragrance and come in many colors. Daylilies bloom from late spring to early fall, providing a long-lasting scent.

Best Aromatic Plants for Gardens: The Final Verdict

Top Picks for Best Overall Scent

Lavender is a top choice. Its sweet and calming fragrance is loved by many. Another great option is Jasmine. Its strong, sweet smell can fill your garden with a delightful aroma, especially in the evening.

Here is a quick comparison of these top picks:

Plant Fragrance Best Time to Smell
Lavender Sweet and calming All day
Jasmine Strong and sweet Evening

Best Plants for Specific Garden Conditions

For sunny spots, Rosemary is a great choice. It loves the sun and has a fresh, pine-like scent. For shady areas, Sweet Woodruff is perfect. It has a sweet, hay-like fragrance and thrives in the shade.

Consider these examples for specific conditions:

    • Rosemary – Best for sunny spots
    • Sweet Woodruff – Best for shady areas

Most Versatile Aromatic Plants

Mint is one such plant. It has a refreshing scent and can grow in both sun and shade. Another versatile plant is Thyme. It has a strong, earthy fragrance and can be used in cooking as well.

Here are the most versatile aromatic plants:

    • Mint – Grows in sun and shade
    • Thyme – Strong fragrance and culinary use

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