Fragrant Garden Plants – Best Smelling Plants For Gardens

Purple Flowered Plants Overhanging A White Picket Fence
scented plants
(Image credit: gurineb)

A lot of focus these days is placed on how a plant looks, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, plants bred for appearance tend to be lacking in another very important quality: smell. Putting fragrant plants in your garden and around your house can be incredibly rewarding. Of course, some plants smell better than others. Keep reading to learn more about the best-smelling plants for gardens.

Fragrant Garden Plants

When planting fragrant garden plants, keep in mind how strong their scents are. You want to be able to smell them, but at the same time, you don’t want them to be overwhelming. Situate your lightly scented plants along walkways where people will brush against them often. You want them to notice the scent as they pass but not be overwhelmed by it. When choosing scented plants for gardens, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Flowering plants are usually the ones with the most impressive fragrances, but they cover a very wide range. If you want scented garden flowers that will come back year after year, you should consider the following perennial fragrant garden plants:

If you want something bigger, try some fragrant flowering shrubs like butterfly bush and lilac. Vining plants like honeysuckle, wisteria, and sweet pea can completely cover an unsightly wall and turn it into the centerpiece of a scented garden. Some plants, like evening primrose, catchfly, and night scented stock, are the most fragrant in the evening, making them perfect under windows where their scent will drift inside at night. There are plenty of annual fragrant garden plants as well. Marigold, pansy, and nasturtium are all great scented plants for gardens. Nothing says you have to stop at flowering plants either. In fact, some of the best smelling plants for gardens include herbs. Herbs are known for their fragrance, especially if they’ve just been trimmed. Plants like basil, rosemary, thyme, and sage all produce very pleasant scents.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.