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14 of the Best Fragrant Flowers to Grow for a Sweet-Scented Garden

Scented flowers and fragrant blooms are some of the greatest pleasures of gardening. Here are a few of my favorites.

This article will break down 14 of my favorite plants with wonderful, sweet-smelling flowers.

This article will break down 14 of my favorite plants with wonderful, sweet-smelling flowers.

Fragrant Flowers and Their Names

What could be more lovely than a flower's gentle scent guiding your sense of smell! Scented flowers and fragrant blooms are some of the greatest pleasures of gardening. They release a wonderful smell into the breeze that can be just so soothing to the senses.

We have two fragrant flowering plants on our patio: the jasmine I got from Wal-Mart a couple of years ago and the night-blooming jasmine that I received from my uncle that has been flowering for years now.

But what other sweet or fragrant flowering plants are your choices if you're not into these two? Here's a small list of sweet-scented flowering plants—along with plenty of photos to feast your eyes on—for you to consider adding to your garden.

14 Plants That Produce Lovely, Sweet-Smelling Flowers

  1. Honeysuckle
  2. Plumeria
  3. Night-Blooming Jasmine
  4. Ylang-Ylang
  5. Spanish Jasmine
  6. Fragrant Columbine
  7. Sampaguita
  8. Moonflower
  9. Mock Orange Flower
  10. Jasmine Tobacco
  11. Bluebell
  12. Evening Primrose
  13. Chinese Wisteria
  14. Lavender

1. Honeysuckle

Binomial Name: Lonicera periclymenum

Common Names: Woodbine, common honeysuckle, European honeysuckle

Description: Honeysuckle can either be a vine or a shrub. It can grow as high as 10 meters, and it's loved by hummingbirds. It is also used in alternative medicine, as it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. (No wonder I've seen it as one of the ingredients on my Breathe Easy tea.)

This scented yellow flower symbolizes love, where the fragrance is said to be a dream-inducer about love.

Care: Grow in full sun or a partially shaded area, ideally with a trellis or other support structure if you plan on growing it as a climbing vine.

Water frequently after planting and keep the soil evenly moist. However, once it has established itself, you'll only have to water it during long summer droughts.

2. Plumeria

Binomial Name: Plumeria acuminata

Common Names: Plumeria, frangipani, lei flowers, calachuchi/kalachuchi

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Description: Named after botanist Charles Plumier, these beautiful, five-petaled flowers are grown as an ornamental plant reaching up to 20 feet tall. They are a common tree in the Philippines, where they are known as calachuchi or kalachuchi.

Plumeria's scent comes on strong at night, inviting the sphinx moths—as these plants are nectarless beauties. The buds appear to be pinkish in color, but they turn white with a spray of yellow on the base once in complete bloom.

However, exercise caution when handling the plant as the sap can irritate the skin.

Care: Since it is a plant native to tropical locations, plumeria requires at least six hours of full sun a day and does not like to be in the cold. It should be planted in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. (If you live in a colder climate, you might want to try growing it in a container with perlite and sand.)

Water well during the growing season, but allow it to dry out a bit before doing so again. Reduce watering in the fall and leave it to dry out in winter as it enters dormancy. Begin watering again in spring at the sight of new growth.

Fertilizing once every two or three weeks with a mix high in phosphorus during the growing season will help foster more blooms, while a mix with too much nitrogen will encourage more foliage instead.

3. Night-Blooming Jasmine

Binomial Name: Cestrum nocturnum

Common Names: Night-blooming jasmine, lady of the night, night queen, raatrani, dama de noche

Description: As the name suggests, the white flowers of night-blooming jasmine only open at dusk and remain that way throughout the night, giving off their sweet scent. As a new day begins at the crack of dawn, the tubular-shaped flowers close, only to open again for the evening.

Night-blooming jasmine is a sub-tropical plant that can grow up to 10–12 feet high and spread up to 6 feet. Take note, however, that ingesting any part of this plant can be toxic to humans, pets, and livestock.

Care: Night-blooming jasmine grows best in loose, well-draining, sandy soil, ideally somewhere with a lot of space for its roots to spread out.

This plant needs consistently moist soil. So it's best to water it well whenever it begins to dry out, especially early on before it's well established, when it will need weekly watering.

4. Ylang-Ylang

Binomial Name: Cananga odorata

Common Names: Ylang-ylang, fragrant cananga, Macassar oil plant, kenanga, perfume tree

Description: I could close my eyes and imagine the sweet-smelling ylang-ylang flowers. They are highly regarded in the world of perfume-making and even as essential oils.

The plant can grow up to 40 feet tall and bears drooping, yellowish scented flowers. The flower is also often made into leis for parties, welcoming tourists or guests, and religious offerings.

Care: Grow in either full sun or a partially shaded area, preferably in a more humid setting (encouraging more blooms). It is also is fairly susceptible to wind, so it's best to plant it near a wall or a hill for protection.

Ylang-ylang prefers well-draining, dry soil. If the top 2 inches of the soil are moist, avoid watering for a little while longer—the plant will tell you when it needs more water by wilting.

5. Spanish Jasmine

Binomial Name: Jasminum grandiflorum

Common Names: Spanish jasmine, Catalan/Catalonian jasmine, royal jasmine

Description: Native to Persia and Southeast Asia and planted as an ornamental plant, this deciduous shrub grows about 4 meters tall. The scented flowers are also made into leis and are used in offerings and for welcoming visitors.

I got this jasmine in the above photo a few years ago from a Wal-Mart garden center. Every spring, it bursts with beautiful, sweet-smelling white blossoms.

Care: Grow in partial to full sun, with no fewer than six hours of sunlight a day. It prefers moist, well-draining soil that is neither dry nor waterlogged.

Water your jasmine frequently during the growing season of spring to late summer, but reduce watering in the fall and scale back to only once every few weeks in the winter.

Only apply a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.

6. Fragrant Columbine

Binomial Name: Aquilegia fragrans

Common Names: Sweet-scented columbine, granny's bonnets, crowfoot

Description: This fragrant flower appears in spring and up through early summer and has the scent of honeysuckle. Native to the Western Himalayas, fragrant columbine grows between 12–18 inches.

The creamy, short-spurred flowers sit atop delicate stems and are loved by hummingbirds and bees. They come in a wide range of colors, including yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, blue, and white.

Care: Columbine loves partially shaded locations, especially during the hottest parts of summer (since it can be sensitive to extreme heat). While most any soil will do, it tends to prefer sandier, loamier soils.

Water well until your plant is established and putting out a lot of new growth. New plants will need to be kept moist until they become established. Don't let it get too dry in summer or too soggy in the winter.

7. Sampaguita

Binomial Name: Jasminum sambac

Common Names: Sampaguita, Philipine jasmine, Arabian jasmine, pikake

Description: Sampaguita is the national flower of both the Philippines and Indonesia and is used in making leis for occasions such as graduations and welcoming guests. A small, white, sweetly fragrant flower, it is often sold near church entrances for religious offerings.

As a shrub, Sampaguita grows up to 2 meters, blooms all year round, and symbolizes purity and love. According to one Philippine legend, the flower's name was derived from the word "sumpa kita," which translates to "my pledge to you" or a vow between two lovers. The word later turned into Sampaguita.

Care: Grow in full sun or partial shade. Plant in well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Tie the stems to supports as they grow.

Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season, careful not to overwater. Ensure it gets plenty of sun and is protected from frost.

The plant can acclimate to different conditions, but it does not like drastic changes. If you plan on changing its setting, do so gradually.