Flowers add such beauty to our landscapes and gardens, attracting people and pollinators.

In addition to appealing to our eyes, many plants also have a wonderful fragrance.

So when you're ready to add some aroma to your yard, here's some plants with wonderful fragrances.

Fragrant bulbs

Hyacinths: These bulbs produce gorgeous fragrant blooms in late winter through early spring. Bulbs require 13 weeks to 16 weeks at 32 degrees before planting to bloom. Hyacinths can also be grown in a bulb vase but must be chilled first.

Paperwhites (narcissus): These bulbs can easily be forced indoors or grown in the garden. Outside bulbs make fragrant, white blooms from late December through January. These bulbs also require 12 weeks to 16 weeks of chilling.

Oriental lilies (Lilium asiatica): These late-summer bloomers come from bulbs planted in well-drained soil in full sun. Bulbs should go in the ground a few weeks before winter brings freezing temperatures for chilling requirements.

Fragrant shrubs

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii): This is a large deciduous shrub with fragrant flowers that, as the name says, butterflies just love. Masses of little tubular flowers emerge in large clusters in late spring in a range of colors such as white, pink, lilac and dark purple. Flutterby Petite Tutti Fruitti Pink butterfly bush is a Louisiana Super Plant selection.

Butterfly ginger (Hedychium coronarium): This plant makes highly fragrant, pure white flowers on strappy leaves growing on upright stems. Blooms attract butterflies from midsummer all the way to first frost.

Gardenia: A true Southern garden staple, this evergreen shrub makes wonderfully fragrant white blooms on glossy dark green foliage from spring to autumn in full sun to part shade. Frostproof gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) is a Louisiana Super Plant selection.

Roses: Enjoy these romantic, fragrant and traditional flowers. There are many cultivars from which you can select that will bloom from spring to autumn.

Sweet viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum): This is an evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves and tiny, scented blossoms the come in spring.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow (Brunfelsia latifolia): This shrub blooms over three days as fragrant flowers open in a deep purple, fade to lilac with a white center, then soften to white on an evergreen shrub.

Fragrant trees

Banana shrub (Magnolia figo): Use this small evergreen tree or large shrub as a foundation or specimen plant. Flowers smell like bananas and are a creamy yellow. It blooms in the spring and several times throughout the year. It's easy to care for.

Frangipani (Plumeria): Plumeria produces clusters of fragrant flowers from November to April in a variety of colors. A tropical plant, it grows best in hardiness zones 9 to 11 and makes a great pot plant.

Lemon (Citrus x ‘Meyers’): All citrus trees produce highly scented flowers. Meyer’s lemons are repeat bloomers and produce mild-flavored, thin-skinned lemons. They grow well as large container plants.

Sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans): This is a large evergreen shrub or small tree that produces tiny white flowers that pack a punch of sweet fragrance. A popular specimen tree as a foundation planting, it blooms in repeatedly throughout the year.

Fragrant vines

Star (confederate) jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides): This evergreen climber has glossy leaves and masses of star-shaped white flowers from midspring to early summer. The stems will climb over supports and cling to walls and trellises.

White jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum): Tiny masses of jasmine flowers grow on glossy green leaves on a climbing vine. Full sun and trellising support vigorous growth.

Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis): Gorgeous grapelike clusters of violet-blue blooms smell so sweet. Wisteria is one of the earliest-blooming vines. It can be trained into shrub form with controlled pruning and staking. Once established, wisteria is drought tolerant.

Fragrant flowers

Peonies: These herbaceous perennials prefer cooler climates. Unique flower forms of every color add fragrance to beds and make wonderful cut flowers. Look for more heat tolerant varieties. In Louisiana, plant shallowly — about 1 inch deep — in well-drained soil in eastern-facing beds with afternoon shade. Peonies need three weeks of temperatures at 32 degrees or lower to bloom.

Stock (Matthiola incana): This is a cool-season annual with a spicy scent. Stock has a grayish leaf color that goes nicely with bright colors.

Sweet peas (Lathyrum odoratus): Planted in fall with vines growing all winter long, buds open with colorful and fragrant flowers on long stems ideal for cutting into early summer.

Fragrant herbs

English lavender: One of the most well-known and loved fragrances comes from lavender-blue flower spikes. Lavender requires full sun and well-drained soils. It also grows well in containers, and pollinators love it.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): This is a mounding herbaceous perennial with inconspicuous flowers and foliage that smells like lemon.

Pineapple sage: Pollinators love this late summer, early fall red bloomer. Grow in full sun in a well-drained area. Once established, pineapple sage is drought tolerant and, of course, smells like pineapple.

Rosemary: This evergreen herb or woody perennial is highly fragrant. It makes white, pink or purple flowers. The spikey leaves are highly fragrant, and sprigs can but cut and brought indoors for fragrance, cooking and as part of cut flower arrangements.


Email questions to gardennews@agcenter.lsu.edu.