Choose these plants for eye-appealing, sweet-smelling landscapes

Get It Growing for 04/09/21

Choose these plants for eye-appealing, sweet-smelling landscapes

By Heather Kirk-Ballard

LSU AgCenter Horticulturist

Flowers are perfect for adding attractive blooms to our landscapes and gardens. They attract both humans and pollinators. In addition to being beautiful to the eye, there are many plants that have wonderful fragrance. Here is a list of highly scented plants that add fragrance to your garden that can be enjoyed outdoors or brought inside.

Fragrant bulbs include:

— Hyacinths. These make gorgeous fragrant blooms in late winter through early spring. Bulbs require 13 to 16 weeks at 32 degrees Fahrenheit before planting to bloom. Hyacinth can also be grown in a bulb vase but must be chilled first.

— Paperwhites (narcissus). These bulbs can easily be forced indoors or grown in the garden. Outside bulbs make fragrant, white blooms from late December through January. These bulbs also require 12 to 16 weeks of chilling hours.

— Oriental lilies (Lilium asiatica). These fragrant flowers are late summer bloomers. Bulbs need to be planted in well-drained soil in full sun. These lilies are easy care. Plant bulbs in fall a few weeks before the winter brings freezing temperatures for chilling requirements.

Fragrant shrubs include:

— Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). This is a large deciduous shrub with fragrant flowers that the butterflies just love. Masses of little tubular flowers emerge in large clusters in late spring in a range of colors such as white, pink, lilac and dark purple. Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink butterfly bush is a Louisiana Super Plant selection.

— Butterfly ginger (Hedychium coronarium). This plant makes highly fragrant, pure white flowers on strappy leaves on upright stems. Blooms attract butterflies from mid-summer all the way to first frost.

— Gardenia. A true Southern garden staple, this evergreen shrub makes highly fragrant white blooms on glossy dark green foliage from spring to autumn in full sun to part shade. Frostproof gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) is a Louisiana Super Plant selection.

— Roses. Enjoy these romantic, fragrant and traditional flowers. There are many cultivars you can select that bloom from spring to autumn.

— Sweet viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum). This is an evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves and tiny, scented blossoms in spring. It is a particularly highly scented variety.

— Yesterday, today and tomorrow (Brunfelsia latifolia). It blooms over three days as fragrant flowers open in a deep purple, fade to lilac with a white “eye,” then soften to white on an evergreen shrub.

Trees that are fragrant include:

— Banana shrub (Magnolia figo). Use this small evergreen tree or large shrub as a foundation or specimen plant. Flowers smell like bananas and are a creamy yellow. Blooming in the spring and several times throughout the year, this is a great plant that’s easy to care for.

— Frangipani (Plumeria). One of the most fragrant flowers, plumeria produces clusters of flowers from November to April in a variety of colors. This also makes a great pot plant. A tropical plant, it grows best in hardiness zones 9 to 11.

— Lemon (Citrus x ‘Meyers’). Enjoy citrus-scented flowers almost year-round in addition to the mild-flavored, thin-skinned lemons. All citrus trees produce highly scented flowers. Meyer’s lemons are repeat bloomers. They grow well as large container plants.

— Sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans). This is a large evergreen shrub or small tree that produces tiny white flowers that pack a true punch of sweet fragrance. A popular specimen tree as a foundation planting, it blooms in late winter, early spring and repeatedly throughout the year.

Some highly fragrant vines include:

— Star (confederate) jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). This evergreen climber has glossy leaves and masses of star-shaped white flowers from mid-spring to early summer. The stems will climb over supports and cling to walls and trellises.

— White jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum). This is one of the most popular fragrances in the world. Tiny masses of jasmine flowers grow on glossy green leaves on a climbing vine. Full sun and trellising support vigorous growth.

— Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). Gorgeous grape-like clusters of violet-blue blooms smell so sweet. Wisteria is one of the earliest-blooming vines. It can grow to be in a shrub form with controlled pruning and staking. Once established, wisteria is drought tolerant.

Bedding plants and flowers that are highly fragrant include:

— Peonies. These herbaceous perennials prefer cooler climates. Unique flower forms of every color add fragrance to beds and make wonderful cut flowers. Look for more heat tolerant varieties. In Louisiana, plant shallowly — about 1 inch deep — in well-drained soil in eastern-facing beds with afternoon shade. Peonies need three weeks of temperatures at 32 degrees or lower to bloom.

— Stock (Matthiola incana). This is a cool-season annual with a spicy scent. Stock has a grayish leaf color that goes nicely with bright colors.

— Sweet peas (Lathyrum odoratus). Planted in fall with vines growing all winter long, buds open with colorful and fragrant flowers on long stems ideal for cutting into early summer.

Herbs for fragrance include:

— English lavender. One of the most well-known and loved fragrances comes from lavender-blue flower spikes. Lavender requires full sun and well-drained soils. It also grows well in containers, and pollinators love it.

— Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). This is a mounding herbaceous perennial with inconspicuous flowers and foliage that smells like lemon.

— Pineapple sage. Pollinators love this late summer, early fall red bloomer. Grow in full sun in a well-drained area. Once established, pineapple sage is drought tolerant and, of course, smells like pineapple.

— Rosemary. This evergreen herb or woody perennial is highly fragrant. It makes white, pink or purple flowers. The spikey leaves are highly fragrant, and sprigs can but cut and brought indoors for fragrance, cooking and as part of cut flower arrangements.

Butterfly Bush.

Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink Butterfly Bush is a Louisiana Super Plant selection. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter

Paper Whites.

Paper whites bloom in winter and are highly fragrant. LSU AgCenter file photo

Banana Shrub.

Banana shrubs make creamy yellow flowers that smell like bananas on an evergreen shrub. LSU AgCenter file photo

Frostproof gardenia.

Frostproof gardenia is a highly fragrant evergreen shrub that is a Louisiana Super Plant selection. LSU AgCenter file photo

4/9/2021 2:56:08 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture