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9 Favorite Fragrant Flowers for Your Garden

By Wayside Gardens
Photographs courtesy of Wayside Gardens

Colorful blooms are vital for adding visual interest to a landscape and attracting those all too important pollinators. However, part of the allure of a flower garden is also its enticing fragrance! A garden should engage all your senses and fragrance adds an extra layer of richness to the landscape. Here are nine of our favorite fragrant plants for adding both beauty and lovely scents to your outdoor spaces.

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Peonies are one of the longest-lived perennials, lasting for generations and exhibiting enormous, luxurious blooms with staying power! They are prized for their form, range of colors, and exceptional hardiness. Few other flowers bloom year after year with such little maintenance. The large, glorious flowers add bright splashes of color to beds and borders, not to mention their intoxicating fragrance will make any gardener swoon. As if there wasn’t enough to love already about peonies, their scent takes it over the top!

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English lavender is renowned for being an aromatic herb for relaxation. It has really grown in popularity recently; you can buy lavender scented essential oils, spa products, and even lavender lattes at many coffee shops!

You can grow your own lavender in your garden! It looks beautiful planted in a large swath in the garden, but it also works well in containers. You won’t be the only one to fall in love with the delicate scent; butterflies adore it as well. Multipurpose herb, delicate purple blooms, and a scent to die for. What more could you want?

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There are very few plants out there than can top the sweet scent of gardenias! Not to mention the contrast between the snowy white blooms against the deep, glossy green foliage. Every time you walk by this shrub, you’ll get heavenly perfumed scent on a summer breeze. How can you resist?

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It is hard to find a more beautiful vine than wisteria! The fragrant, violet-blue or lavender blooms appear in mid- to late spring, the long racemes draping down from soft green heads of foliage, shifting gently with every breeze. The effect is graceful and thoroughly attractive! Once established, wisteria grows very vigorously, covering arbors, pergolas, trellises, and walls. Not to mention it boasts a sweet smell!

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You can’t go wrong with honeysuckle. It thrives in most conditions, making it easy to maintain. Let it vine up a trellis, wall, or fence and fill your landscape with its incredible honey and vanilla scent.

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Every garden needs a rose! When choosing a rose for fragrance, make sure to read about it, and choose one with a scent that appeals to you. Some types are bred more for form rather than fragrance, but if you choose a scented rose you will be enchanted by its unique scent.

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Garden phlox is available in a variety of colors — white, purple, orange, blue, lavender, red, peach, pink, and variegated shades — with foliage that’s typically medium green. These easy-to-grow perennials are often the backbone of summer borders, although their striking, often fragrant flower clusters are equally gorgeous in open sunny areas. Ranging in size from 15-48 inches high, phlox draws in butterflies and hummingbirds while proving unpalatable to deer. Be sure to plant some phlox in your cut flower garden, too, and enjoy their long vase life. And let their fragrance sweep you away.

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Butterfly Bush

Buddleia (butterfly bush) is a great addition to almost any garden, attracting butterflies, hummingbirds, and beneficial pollinators in droves. Buddleia are large, dense bushes featuring big, majestic flower spikes that bloom in intense hues of pink, orange, red, and purple throughout the summer. Wayside Gardens offers several cultivars with great drought-tolerance, making them the perfect low-maintenance, highly fragrant plant for the back of a mixed border planting.

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Dianthus is a low-growing perennial with a spicy or vanilla-like scent. It works well as edging or in containers for you to enjoy its sweet color and unique scent.

Shop For Fragrant Flowers and Plants 

Now that you have a few fragrant flower types in mind, place them where the scent will be most appreciated, such as in containers near your front door, along walkways where you’ll brush by them and release their sweetness, or near windows where you can pick up their scents on the breeze when you’re inside! Try adding a few of these fragrant favorites to enhance your garden’s personality and create a fully immersive experience in your landscape.

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Photos and story by Monrovia Nursery Company

Lavender is the on-trend plant for gardeners this year. Click here for an article that details a top-tier selection of lavender that ensures success.

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