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20 Fragrant Annuals and Perennials

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Fragrant annuals and perennials bring delight to the garden.

In planting fragrant annuals and perennials consider first the place and circumstance. Choose annuals and perennials that will grow in your climate, then consider whether the plant will thrive in the sun or shade in the spot you have in mind, then consider the flower color and fragrance–most fragrant annuals and perennials are sweet-scented but some may be described as richly earthy in scent.

Some fragrant flowers yield a distinct and powerful scent. It is best to choose the scent you want and then separate fragrant flowers of differing varieties by some distance so that the scents do not intermingle or become diffuse. As a rule, it is better to allow each strongly fragrant kind its undisputed sway without interference from any other.

The pleasure to be gained from fragrance is a most personal thing, so each gardener must select his or her flowers and develop a fragrant garden according to individual taste and preference. Any and all scents of personal association ought to be included.

Lemon scented, Pelargonium crispum
Lemon scented, Pelargonium crispum

20 Fragrant Annuals and Perennials

Common NameBotanical NameZones
Bee balmMonarda didyma4-8
Clematis, sweet autumnClematis spp.4-9
Daylily, ‘Hyperion’Hemerocallis ‘Hyperion’3-10
Flowering tobaccoNicotiana spp.Annual
Geraniums, scentedPelargonium spp.8-11
HeliotropeHeliotropium arborescens10-11
Honeysuckle, someLonicera spp.3-9
Hosta, August lilyHosta plantaginea3-9
Oriental lily
Oriental lily
Common NameBotanical NameZones
Iris, bearded someIris x germanica3-10
Jasmine, someJasminum spp.9-11
Jasmine, starTrachelospermum jasminoides8-10
LavenderLavandula spp.5-10
Lilies, OrientalLilium spp.3-9
Peony, somePaeonia spp.2-7
Phlox, somePhlox paniculata5-7
Pinks, someDianthus spp.4-8
Viola odorata
Viola odorata
Common NameBotanical NameZones
StockMatthiola incanaAnnual
Sweet alyssumLobularia maritmaAnnual
Sweet peaLathyrus odoratusAnnual
Violets (odorata species)Viola odorata7-9

Also of interest:

Fragrant Vines

Fragrant Flowering Shrubs

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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