Best scented plants for a beautiful, fragrant garden

Scented flowers are a vital component of any garden’s design and will bestow an extra dimension of pleasure to time spent outside. Cover all the seasons with a selection of fragrant bulbs, shrubs, perennials and roses.

Best scented plants for your garden
Published: December 20, 2021 at 12:07 pm

Our sense of smell is fundamental to our wellbeing and can have a powerful effect on our mood. It could even be said that a garden devoid of scent is like a room without any furnishings – not the sort of place you want to linger in.

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So this summer, enrich your outdoor space with plenty of natural mood enhancers; you really will notice the difference! You could even create a scented patio – choose plants that will happily grow in pots and surround your seating area.

Best scented plants

Cosmos atrosanguineus

Cosmos atrosanguineus


A rather exotic looking cosmos with a delicious aroma of chocolate and vanilla. It produces copious velvety maroon-coloured flowers if planted in a sunny spot with moderately fertile free-draining soil. Lift the tender tubers in autumn before the first frosts.

Pelargonium ‘Sweet Mimosa’

Pelargonium 'Sweet Mimosa' AGM
Credit: Hayloft Plants

The aromatic oils in the leaves of scented Pelargoniums release their heady fragrances when the sun is hot or when their foliage is touched. This pretty variety has intense rose and lemon-scented foliage and two-tone pink blooms. Available from hayloft.co.uk

Buddleja

Buddleja

Entice butterflies to your garden with a highly scented buddleja shrub that produces honey-scented blooms in shades of lilac, purple, mauve, pink or white. Look out for the beautiful compact forms that grow well in containers if you have limited outdoor space.

Lavender

Lavender

Prized for its intense perfume and ability to attract numerous pollinating insects to a garden, lavender never fails to stimulate the senses over a long period in summer. It needs sun and good drainage and doesn’t even mind impoverished soil.

Lilium ‘Star Gazer’

Lilium 'Star Gazer'

As a member of the highly fragrant group of oriental lilies, this much-loved summer-flowering bulbous plant produces tall sprays of star-shaped flowers, which emit a powerful perfume that floats on the breeze. For best impact plant in groups of three.

Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’

Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll'

One of the most highly scented of David Austin’s English roses, this shrub produces clusters of double cup-shaped pink blooms that have a divine old rose fragrance. It is disease-resistant and repeat flowers from late spring until the first frosts.

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Check out our gardening section for more inspiration, tips and advice

Authors

Louise Midgley is a gardener and garden writer

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