The 10 most fragrant flowers for your balcony & garden

The 10 most fragrant flowers for your balcony & garden

Are you fed up with dull plants without a scent? These 10 plants have the best fragrance that will not disappoint even the finest of noses!

Just thinking of nature and flowers is generally sure to evoke the scent of a meadow. But what would flowers be without their lovely scent? We think that everybody will agree, that the pleasant smell of flowers is just as much a part of a garden as the bright coloured leaves and blossoms. Some might wonder which flower has the best or the most exotic scent. The following plants are bound to transform your garden into a paradise for your nose, regardless if you are looking for a tropical plant to spice up you garden, an inconspicuous plant to surprise you, a new variety or a tried and true scented classic.

10. Frangipani

Fancy a bit of a tropical flair in your garden? No problem! The frangipani (Plumeria) is a gorgeous exotic flower that will enliven your garden in more than just one way. This plant blooms during the summer months and, at the same time, exudes a wonderful fragrance. No wonder, then, that they not only decorate numerous parks but also many monuments and temples in their native tropical regions. The fragrance of the frangipani is universally beloved to such an extent that it is now added to numerous perfumes and other cosmetic products. In winter months, the frangipani blends in with the other plants as it loses its leaves and looks like an ordinary deciduous tree. If properly treated, the frangipani can be grown and thrive well in temperate climates. The exotic needs one thing above all else: warmth. This is why it is a good idea to plant the flower in a pot, especially in colder areas, so that it can be brought indoors for the winter when the first cold sets in. Other than that, nothing stands in a way of you converting your garden into a lush tropical paradise.

9. Freesia

Freesia (Freesia) has several perks. First, it has a subtle sweet scent and, second, it is stunning to look at especially when in bloom. The charming flowers of the freesia appear in a whole palette of colour variations and flower shapes. The beauty of the large blossoms has been long admired by humans. Already about a hundred years ago the fragrant flowers made it from South Africa to Europe and immediately became popular houseplants, which is why they still evoke a certain nostalgia in many people today. In recent years, countless outdoor cultivars, that can manage winters in moderate climates, have been developed. Therefore, gardeners living in temperate climate zones can also enjoy the fruity scent of the freesia in their garden.

8. Rose

When reading the title of this article, many have very likely thought of roses. The rose (Rosa) is a classic among the scented flowers. After all, the title of the queen of flowers has not be bestowed upon the rose without reason. Certainly many would agree, that the rose should be present in every good garden. Because the rose has been a favourite garden flower for such a long time, it has been cultivated into many different varieties. There are countless variations in colour, shape and even in how often it flowers. But beware: there are also plenty of varieties of non-scented roses. So if you want to buy a rose to pamper your nose, double-check that you are purchasing a fragrant variety before buying it. Old and traditional varieties of roses and specially bred fragrant roses tend to have a more intense scent that garden roses. If the right care is provided, the rose is a charming addition to any garden.

7. Sweet pea

Yet another delightfully scented favourite of gardeners: the sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus). As the name suggests, the fragrance of this plant is on the sweet side. The sweet pea belongs to the family of legumes, which means that it is related to peas. In fact, when not in bloom, the sweet pea can be easily mistaken for any other pea plant. Once this climbing plant forms its flowers and flaunts them in their full splendour, there won’t be any doubts left of why it is one of the most popular climbing plants in the garden. Unlike its edible relatives, though, the seeds of the sweet pea are slightly toxic. The sweet pea blooms from June to September and during this time it enriches the garden with an enticing honey-sweet scent.

6. Marvel of Peru

The marvel of Peru (Mirabilis jalapa) looks rather unimpressive during the day. The flowers are closed during the majority of the day and it is easy to not even notice this plant. However, as the plant’s name suggests, there are some hidden wonders that this somewhat shy plant keeps to itself during the day. Although the marvellous flowers hide from daylight, at night they show its full beauty. From dusk until late in the morning, the plant blooms in all its grandeur and exudes its intense scent. The aroma of the marvel of Peru is just as appealing as its appearance. When the flowers expand at night, you can see the beautiful yellow, red or orange flowers. What makes this plant a true botanical sensation is that each flower can have up to three different shades. The marvel of Peru can also thrive in gardens in temperate climates but it is not hardy. It is therefore recommended to dig up the marvel of Peru and repot and keep it indoors for the winter. All in all, this plant is a must for all the night owls who want to enrich their warm summer nights with a delightful flower scent. 

5. Chocolate cosmos

Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, the chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) is the perfect plant for you. Although this plant is not a suitable dessert, it is not undeserving of its name. The chocolate cosmos is one of the most unique plants as far as scent is regarded. In warm summer weather, it exudes a scent reminiscent of dark chocolate that makes the heart of every chocolate lover beat faster. The chocolate fragrance also matches the plants outward appearance. It has dark red flowers that complement the chocolatey smell. The chocolate cosmos is native to Mexico and therefore prefers warm locations fully exposed to the sun. It does not tolerate winter and should be relocated to winter quarters for the cold season. Apart from that, the chocolate cosmos can be effortlessly cultivated in European gardens and is a great alternative to those who would like to take a break from the typical smell of flowers in their garden.

chocholate cosmos flower
As the name suggests, this flower exudes a scent reminiscent of chocolate [ Alenka Krek]

4. Jasmine

The scent of jasmine (Jasminum) is well known to everybody and lauded by tea makers and perfumers alike. The essence of jasmine is used in a vast spectrum of applications ranging from Chinese jasmine tea to cosmetics. Although the smell of jasmine is the one of the best features of this plant, it is further distinguished in its beauty. The jasmine is a deciduous or evergreen plant that blooms in a multitude of delicate flowers often for several months at a time. There are many varieties of jasmine, some of which thrive well in colder regions. The winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorium) even blooms in winter and early spring (December to April) and sweetens the winter with the magic of its flowers, even if it does not smell quite as intense as its warmth-loving brother, the Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac), for example. The Arabian jasmine flourishes mainly as a houseplant where it can delight your nose with its distinct sweet scent.

3. Lily

The lily (Lilium) is also a true classic among the aromatic plants. It is grown in traditional farmer’s gardens as well as in modern city parks. There seems to be no limit to the form and colour of the lily, it comes in variations of diverse colour combinations ranging from spotted and striped to completely monochrome. The most intensely scented lily is probably the Stargazer lily, a hybrid Oriental lily, which is often grown as a houseplant. Its smell is described as slightly spicy and, although some may find the intense fragrance overwhelming, it has numerous lovers worldwide including (many of them are unsurprisingly perfumers). For the garden, however, it is recommended to use the more robust lily varieties that have a less intense yet still pleasant scent.

2. Lily of the valley

The lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) can look rather modest in its natural habitat on the edges of forests in spring. The bell shaped flowers exude a lovely sweet scent and have for many a nostalgic association (hands up if you ever gave your mother a bouquet of lily of the valley on Mother’s day as a child). For all these reasons, the lily of the valley is a common garden plant. Caution is advised with wild lilies of the valley, though. They are protected by law and it is forbidden to pick or repot them. If you would like to experience the fragrance and beauty of these little flowers in your own garden, visit your local garden centre and not the nearest forest. Usually either seeds or partially grown young plants are available for purchase in well stocked garden centres. In this way, the needless hassle with the forester or the police is avoided.

1. Gardenia

The gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) is the number one on our list not without reason: it is gorgeously fragrant and beautiful to look at! It is often compared to jasmine and rose. Although it is unrelated to either of these plants, the gardenia is a perfect mix of jasmine’s scent and the glamour of the rose. In the past, gardenias were often beloved indoor plants. Today the gardenia is frequently regarded as old-fashioned but many are beginning to appreciate the classic charm of this plant. In recent years, the evergreen gardenia has been increasing in popularity as a garden plant again and as a flower for wedding bouquets and decorative flower arrangements. In addition to that, the gardenia is perfectly suited to be grown indoors or in pots because it does not handle frost well. Therefore, it is advised to cultivate the gardenia in the pot, so that it can enchant with its grace and fragrance in the garden during summer and then indoors in winter.

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