Plant material: Fragrant flowers

Updated Dec 30, 2021
Brite Eyes_med
Photo: Star Roses and Plants

If you’re not including fragrance in your planting plans, you’re missing the opportunity to enhance the landscape on a different sensory level.

Fragrance can trigger positive emotions, jog a pleasant memory or soften the edges of a sterile commercial setting. Think about different ways of incorporating scent in your projects. For example, old-fashioned roses may trigger a homeowner’s memories of being a child at Grandma’s house. Planting lavender outside a high-end boutique may get shoppers in the mood to buy. Potted herbs in an employee break area can be a morale booster.

You don’t need huge swaths of plants to achieve the benefits. A little bit can go a long way. Plant them near windows and entryways so the aroma can waft indoors. Use containers near benches. Intersperse them in mixed borders. The only caution: Be mindful of placing strong scents near dining areas, where they can be overpowering.

Here are a few fragrant plant introductions, as well as old favorites to add zing to your designs.

ROSES

Star Roses and Plants/Conard-PyleStar Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle

Brite Eyes (Rosa ‘Radbrite’ PP#17391)

This climber adds a punch of brilliant salmon color with yellow centers. Spicy-sweet fragrance. Black spot resistant. Fits well in small gardens, tumbling over a fence or trellis. Grows to 7 to 8 feet.

  • Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9
  • Full sun

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Star Roses and Plants/Conard-PyleStar Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle

Milwaukee’s Calatrava  (‘Radfragwhite’ PP#22988)

A variety with pure white flowers on a tall, bushy shape. Cooler temperatures encourage a pinkish tinge. Strong citrus scent. Does best in Eastern, Midwestern and Southern climates. Grows 4 to 5 feet tall, 3 feet wide.

  • Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9
  • Full sun

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Star Roses and Plants/Conard-PyleStar Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle

Orchid Romance (‘Radprov’ PPAF)

Shrub rose with colors ranging from dark pink to lavender with a citrusy scent. Full, English-style blooms are ideal for traditional or cottage garden settings. Grows 4 feet tall to 3 feet wide.

  • Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9
  • Full sun

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Star Roses and Plants/Conard-PyleStar Roses and Plants/Conard-Pyle

Sunny Knock Out Rose (Rosa ‘Radsunny’, PP#18562)

Super-hardy shrub rose that boasts outstanding disease resistance and repeat blooms from spring to frost. Compact, upright habit with yellow flowers that fade to creamy white. No deadheading required. Drought tolerant once established. Grows 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.

  • Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 11
  • Full sun

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ANNUALS

Ball Horticultural CompanyBall Horticultural Company

Heliotrope (Heliotropium Arborescens)

Old-fashioned shrubby plant with deep purple flowers and cherry pie scent. Upright habit works in containers near an entryway or massed with roses in the landscape. Look for varieties such as Marino Blue and Simply Sensational. Grows 10 to 14 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide.

  • Part to full sun

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Proven WinnersProven Winners

Lobularia (Allysum Lobularia hybrid)

Varieties such as Blushing Princess offer fresh color choices and longer bloom times. Honey scented. Tolerates heat and doesn’t need deadheading. Let it spill out of containers and window boxes or use as a low-growing groundcover (4 to 6 inches tall). Spreads up to 24 inches.

  • Part sun to sun

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Proven WinnersProven Winners

Superbena Verbena Royale Silverdust (Verbena hybrid)

Heat and mildew tolerant series that thrives in containers, hanging baskets or beds. Produces large clusters of flowers until hard frost. No deadheading necessary. Spreads 18 to 24 inches.

  • Full sun

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Ball Horticultural CompanyBall Horticultural Company

Viola (various)

Hardy and sweetly scented, violas come in a staggering array of colors and sizes and bloom continuously from early spring onward. Many newer varieties have improved cold and heat tolerance. Look for stunning colors such as the Popsicles Frost or Sorbet series.

  • Part sun

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SHRUBS

MonroviaMonrovia

Banana Shrub (Michelia figo)

Compact, rounded evergreen with glossy leaves and creamy-yellow blossoms that have a delightful banana bread scent. Use at the front of borders, near windows or doors or around pools. Can be sheared for a more formal appearance. Grows 6 to 10 feet tall and wide.

  • Hardy to USDA zones 8 to 11
  • Part to full sun

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Proven WinnersProven Winners

Bloomerang Lilac (Syringa)

Classic lilac fragrance but with blooms in spring and again in summer. Compact shape fits in smaller gardens. Attracts butterflies. Deer resistant. Grows 5 feet tall and wide.

  • Hardy to USDA zones 3 to 7
  • Full sun

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MonroviaMonrovia

Glossy Abelia (Abelia x. grandiflora)

Arching shrub with shiny foliage and bell-shaped flowers. Long season, blooming from June to October. Plant as a hedge or specimen, or layer in front of evergreens. Grows 4 to 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

  • Hardy to USDA zones 6 to 9
  • Part to full sun

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Proven WinnersProven Winners

Miss Ruby Summer Lilac  (Buddleia ‘Miss Ruby’)

Compact habit and bright magenta blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Works well in mass plantings or in containers. Grows 4 to 5 feet tall and wide.

  • Hardy to USDA zones 5 to 9
  • Full sun

 

 

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