Best Smelling Roses: Fragrant Roses For Your Garden

Woman Smelling A Yellow Rose
(Image credit: Svisho)

Roses are beautiful and have been beloved by many, especially for their wonderful aromas. Fragrant roses have been delighting people for millennia. While some varieties have notes of specific fruit, spices, and other flowers, all roses have a unique smell characteristic of this type of flower. If you’re looking for roses that smell good, try these particularly fragrant varieties.

About the Best-Smelling Roses

Among the most popular of all flowering shrubs is the rose. People have been enjoying these flowers for thousands of years and changing them too. Selective breeding has led to thousands of varieties with different sizes, petal types, colors, and fragrances.

Not all roses have a fragrance; some have been bred simply for appearance. Here are some other interesting facts about great smelling roses:

  • The fragrance of the bud is different from the fully-opened bloom.
  • Roses of the same variety can have different scent elements.
  • Roses smell most intense in the early morning.
  • The Damask rose is an ancient variety and likely the source of the characteristic rose scent.
  • The smell of a rose is in its petals.

Most Fragrant Rose Varieties

Great smelling roses come in a range of colors and varieties. If you’re planting primarily for fragrance, try these potent varieties:

  • Honey Perfume – This is an award-winning flower with apricot-colored blooms and a strong aroma of spice. You’ll notice clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Memorial Day – A hybrid tea rose; this variety has an intense aroma and pretty pink petals. The fragrance is classic rose.
  • Sunsprite – If you love both bright yellow blooms and a strong, sweet rose aroma, this is your variety.
  • Radiant Perfume – Another cheerful yellow flower, this variety has a strong scent of citrus and rose.
  • Lady Emma Hamilton – This English rose is a compact, peachy flower with a scent reminiscent of pears and citrus.
  • Boscobel – Note hints of pear, almond, and elderberry in the strong fragrance of this rich pink rose.
  • Mister Lincoln – If traditional red is your favorite type of rose, choose ‘Mister Lincoln.’ It has a stronger scent than most other red roses and it continues blooming from June through the beginning of winter.
  • Fragrant Cloud – The name of this variety says it all. You’ll detect notes of spice, fruit, and even pumpkin pie in this coral red bloom.
  • Double Delight – This hybrid tea has beautiful magenta edged, white leaves and a sweet and spicy smell.
  • Fourth of July – This was the first climbing variety to win the American Rose Society’s best variety award. Use it to climb a trellis, fence, or wall while emitting an exceptional fragrance. The cheerful blooms are streaked red and white.
  • Heritage – ‘Heritage’ roses are delicate and pale pink with a note of lemon in the fragrance.
  • Louise Odier – For one of the most intensely sweet rose aromas, choose this bourbon variety that dates to 1851.
  • Autumn Damask – This is a truly old variety, originating in the 1500s. It has the classic scent of rose and is used in the perfume industry.
Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.