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Ten Faithfully Fragrant Annuals, Perennials and Shrubs

I would guess that most gardeners cherish having fragrance in their gardens. Afterall, just about the first thing a kid will do when a flower grabs their attention is smell it. Kids intrinsically know something we often forget as we grow older – flowers “should” smell good. Now, not all flowers, even in their wild habitat, are fragrant. However, there are a wealth of plants with fabulous fragrance that you can introduce to your garden to add an extra dimension of sensory joy to how you experience your outdoor space. Here are ten plants that will deliver a fragrant bonus to your garden.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer

Rockin’® ‘Golden Delicious’ Salvia 
Common Name:
Golden Leaved Pineapple Sage

The leaves of this lovely, durable plant have the fragrance of sweet pineapple when crushed. Plants with fun foliage are always popular because they offer color and style all season. ‘Golden Delicious’ is a large plant that makes a bright filler in the landscape or thriller in extra-large container recipes. When you grow it in full sun, its foliage will be radiant yellow. In more shade, it will be closer to chartreuse. It is heat and humidity tolerant and more disease resistant than similarly colored coleus. Fire engine red flowers are a bonus in fall if you garden where the growing season is long. 

3-4’ tall. Part sun to sun. Grown as an annual but perennial in zones 8-11.

 
SAPPHIRE RECIPE


Snow Princess® Lobularia
Common Name: Sweet Alyssum

If there's one plant that should be on everyone's fragrant plants list, it's Snow Princess, which is highly and obviously fragrant. It’s a unique breakthrough in the genus for heat tolerance and extended season performance. No really--it blooms through the summer in the Deep South. This sterile sweet alyssum is extremely vigorous and because it puts no energy into setting seed, it has an incredibly long bloom time. It makes a great hanging basket or window box and is a perfect edging for garden beds.

4-8” tall. Part sun to sun. Annual.

HER MAJESTY RECIPE


Luscious® Citrus Blend Lantana
Common Name: Lantana

We’ve improved on a classic favorite by adding more flowers on densely branched plants with Luscious Citrus Blend. Watch as the hummingbirds and butterflies come calling when its clusters of tubular, brilliant red, orange and yellow patterned flowers are on display. Plant one in your window box so you can see the show up close. Luscious lantana are fantastic sun, heat and drought tolerant flowers with a sweet fragrance. They are perfect for large containers and landscapes. Since they are selected to have no or few seeds, they’ll bloom continuously all season without deadheading.

20-30” tall. Sun. Grown as an annual except in zones 9-11.

 

NIGHT FEVER RECIPE


Shadowland® ‘Etched Glass’ Hosta
Common Name: Hosta

There are hostas, and then there is ‘Etched Glass’—bringing style and refinement to your hosta garden. This sport of ‘Stained Glass’ has wider margins and thicker leaves than its parent. Very wide, dark green margins contrast with a bright, brilliant yellow margin. Between the margin and the centers is a light green pattern. Margins have puckering when the plant is mature. Very large and fragrant, near-white flowers appear in late summer.

18” tall. Part shade to shade. Perennial in zones 3-9.


Funshine® Abelia grandiflora
Common Name: Abelia

Color, color, color! That’s why we selected Funshine abelia. New in garden centers this year, this is one of the brightest abelias on the market. It’s a shining beacon of bright golden and orange foliage from spring through frost. Come summer, sweetly perfumed, bell-shaped, lilac colored blossoms appear on the stems, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Its great qualities aren’t purely aesthetic: abelia thrives even in shaded conditions, blooms for months, and is unbothered by deer and rabbits. 

24-36” tall. Part sun to sun. Hardy in zones 6-9.

 

 

 

Pugster® Amethyst Buddleia
Common Name: Butterfly Bush

Meet Pugster Amethyst butterfly bush, a dwarf variety with full-sized, notably fragrant blossoms. Reaching just 2' tall and wide at maturity, it bears the same large flowers that you'd typically see on much larger cultivars. It blooms non-stop from early summer through frost with amethyst-toned flowers, each with a tiny yellow-orange eye in the center. Thanks to thick, sturdy stems, the Pugster series offers vastly improved hardiness and winter survival over other types of dwarf butterfly bush.

20-24” tall. Sun. Hardy in zones 5-9.


Temple of Bloom® Heptacodium
Common Name: Seven-Son Flower


Hang on to your hat - Temple of Bloom seven-son flower is going to blow your mind! Temple of Bloom is a beautiful, easy to grow, small tree which simply can't be matched for year-round beauty. In spring, the handsome leaves emerge with dramatically deep veins that make the plant stand out in the landscape. As the season progresses, the leaves grow larger and develop a long, twisted tip. Come August, when everything else is winding down, Temple of Bloom seven-son flower is just coming into its own, as it becomes covered in big clusters of fragrant white flowers that hummingbirds and other pollinators flock to. They last for weeks before gracefully falling to the ground to reveal vivid red, fan-like bracts, which make it look like the plant is blooming again in a completely different color. As winter comes and the leaves drop, the tree's elegant frame is revealed, along with amazing light tan peeling bark.

6-10’ tall. Part sun to sun. Hardy in zones 5-9.


Scentlandia® Itea
Common Name: Sweetspire


We sniffed dozens of different sweetspires in pursuit of the most fragrant variety, and we can say with confidence that we've found it in Scentlandia sweetspire. Though this native plant is beloved for its sweetly scented summer blooms, not all plants exhibit equally strong fragrance, so it was our primary goal in introducing this variety. We also wanted a smaller variety that works with any size landscape, as well as outstanding fall color so the plant stays interesting beyond its bloom time. Scentlandia sweetspire delivers on all three! The flowers aren't just longer, larger and more fragrant than other varieties - they're also more cold tolerant, assuring a good display even in USDA zone 5 where flower buds are frequently damaged. Itea is one of the most shade tolerant flowering shrubs and thrives even in wet soils, making it an excellent problem solver. 

24-36” tall. Part sun to sun. Hardy in zones 5-9.


Bloomerang® Dwarf Purple and
Bloomerang® Dwarf Pink Syringa
Common Name: Lilac


You can’t think of lilacs without thinking about fragrance and these petite shrubs deliver it in spades. They are everything you want in a lilac and more! Think you don't have room for a lilac? Think again! Bloomerang® Dwarf Purple lilac naturally grows as a small, rounded shrub, maturing to about one third the size of conventional lilacs. It outperforms other lilacs with its beautifully fragrant, purple blossoms that cover the plant in late spring, then rebloom throughout summer and fall. Plus, it's vigorous and resistant to disease. Just plant it in full sun, soil that's not too wet, and enjoy the show for years to come.

30-36” tall. Sun. Hardy in zones 3-7.


Scentara® Double Blue Syringa
Common Name: Lilac

 

Tie your shoes tight - the fragrance of this lilac will knock your socks off! There are about 15 different species of lilacs found in nature, and Syringa hyacinthiflora is the queen of them all when it comes to fragrance. And that's what makes Scentara®Double Blue the most fragrant Proven Winners lilac yet! The cool purple blossoms take on a blue tone in the spring sunshine, each one full of petals for a delicate seashell-like effect. This very heavy bloomer exhibits excellent disease resistant and a handsome, appealing shape that will look right at home in your landscape.

72-96” tall. Sun. Hardy in zones 2-8.

Want to learn more? Here are some additional resources about fragrant plants.

Watch this video on 10 great fragrant shrubs. 

Browse more fragrant plants in our plant library.

Check out our Pinterest board featuring fragrant plants.

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