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Fragrant Flowers: 10 Perennial Plants With The Most Beautiful Scent


Looking for some perennials and bushes that will add fragrance to your garden? This list of beautiful plants with the most fragrant flowers will have your yard smelling heavenly in no time.

10 Beautiful Perennial Plants With The Most Fragrant Flowers

Like most gardeners who have a flower garden, I love beautiful flowers. But what is even better…is beautiful flowers that smell beautiful, too! There is nothing like walking out the door and being surrounded by a sweet floral fragrance.

Fortunately, there are a lot of fairly easy to grow plants that have flagrant flowers…plant one or two of them outside your door or along your walkway to make the most of their scent. And since these are all plants that come back year after year, you only need to plant them once to enjoy them for many years to come.

Keep reading to see my list of 10 perennial plants with the most fragrant flowers.


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Gardenia "Chuck Hayes" with white fragrant flowers
Gardenia “Chuck Hayes”

Zone: 7 to 9

Full Sun to Part Shade

Bloom Time: Late Spring to Early Summer

Height: 2′ to 8′

Gardenias have pretty ivory white fragrant flowers that fill the air with their perfume.

And with their glossy, evergreen leaves, they even look good in the winter!

They like humid weather (which is perfect for the South) but don’t do well with cold winters, so you may have to grow them in pots and bring them in if you live further North.

Gardenia 'Chuck Hayes' has flowers with beautiful perfume
Gardenia ‘Chuck Hayes’

I have one growing right outside my front door that fills the whole front garden with its beautiful perfume when it is blooming.



Zone: 3 to 8

Full Sun to Part Shade

Bloom Time: Late spring

Height: 8′ to 12′

Honeysuckle is a vine with beautiful scented flowers that can easily be grown over an arbor, trellis or fence.

Honeysuckle By Ulf Eliasson (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Honeysuckle By Ulf Eliasson [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], from Wikimedia Commons

It smells heavenly and is very easy to grow. Regular pruning will keep it the size you want it.

One note of caution: Stay away from planting Japanese honeysuckle. It grows very fast and is a very invasive plant. Once it gets established, it is very hard to get rid of.


David Austin Rose "Gertrude Jekyll"
David Austin Rose “Gertrude Jekyll”

Zone: 3 to 8

Full Sun

Bloom Time: Spring to Fall (depending on the variety)

Height: 3′ to 12′ (depending on the variety

Roses are the standard that everyone thinks of when you mention plants with beautiful fragrant flowers. And if you get the right variety, they live up to the hype!

If you are looking for the rose to have a scent, be careful which kind you buy, since many of the newer ones do not have any scent at all.

Roses also have a reputation for being hard to grow. I actually haven’t found that to be true…the trick is to make sure that you get roses that are bred for your growing conditions, and don’t plant them right next to other roses. A lot of roses are susceptible to diseases like Black Spot and Mildew, which (in most cases) doesn’t kill the plant but does make them look pretty sickly by the end of the summer. (Here in South Carolina where it is very humid in the summer, black spot is pretty much a given!) Not planting roses right next to each other helps this in 2 ways…first, the roses are less likely to get diseased if they aren’t “catching” it from another rose, and second, if the leaves do start to fall off because of black spot, the other plants help to hide the bare-looking rose bush.

Rose - Zepherine Drouin
Rose – Zepherine Drouin

One other hint: My absolute favorite climbing rose is Zepherine Drouin (in the pictures below)…it has beautiful pink flowers, a nice scent and it has NO thorns!

Zepherine Drouin Over an Arbor
Zepherine Drouin Over an Arbor

That makes it perfect for growing over an arbor leading to the front door. You can smell it when you walk out the door and don’t have to worry about getting pricked as you walk by.


Peony "Eden's Perfume" has beautiful fragrant flowers
Peony “Eden’s Perfume” has beautiful fragrant flowers

Zone: 2 to 8

Full Sun

Bloom Time: Spring

Height: 2′ to 3′

Peonies are a favorite of many gardeners because of their big beautiful blooms…but some varieties also have beautiful scents to go with the blooms!

Not all peonies have a fragrance (and some of them actually smell pretty bad), so check the variety you are getting to make sure it smells the way you want it to.

Peony "Eden's Perfume"
Peony “Eden’s Perfume”

Peonies can take a couple of years to get established, but once they have, they really don’t require much maintenance at all (my favorite kind of plant!)

Just make sure you plant them where you want them to grow…they also don’t like to be moved…

Peony "Santa Fe"
Peony “Santa Fe”

If you live in the South (like I do), peonies can be a little tricky since they don’t do very well in hot summers.

Peony "Eden's Perfume"
Peony “Eden’s Perfume”

I try to pick early flowering varieties that are finished blooming before it gets too hot and have had pretty good luck getting them to bloom.


Lavender By Rosina Peixoto (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Lavender By Rosina Peixoto [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Zone: 4 to 9

Full Sun

Bloom Time: Summer

Height: 1′ to 3′

Lavender is a member of the herb family with beautiful silver or grey-green foliage and blue, purple, pink or white flowers. Being a herb, it is fairly drought tolerant and produces more scent if it is not fertilized…definitely a low maintenance plant!

To keep it growing well, prune lavender immediately after flowering (you may even get a second round of blooms!), but do not cut into the woody part of the stem…you may kill the plant.

They are also a little finicky about spring pruning. Make sure you wait until the plant has started growing, otherwise it may not survive.


Hyacinth "Delft Blue" By KorAn (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hyacinth “Delft Blue” By KorAn [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Zone: 4 to 9

Full Sun to Part Sun

Bloom Time: Spring

Height: 6″ to 1′

Hyacinths are a bulb that is planted in the fall, blooms in the spring and comes in a variety of colors. They have a sweet, lingering scent and look great planted in masses in the garden.

You might also like: Companion plants for spring bulbs

Like most bulbs, the leaves will die back after the plant has finished blooming so you will want to plant something else in the same location to cover the bare spot.



Zone: 3 to 7

Full Sun

Bloom Time: Spring

Height: 4′ to 12′

Lilacs are another traditional plant that everyone associates with its beautiful smell.

Their beautiful fragrant flowers grow on old wood so if you are going to prune them, it needs to be done right after they have finished blooming…otherwise you are probably cutting off next year’s blooms.

10 Beautiful Perennial Plants With The Most Fragrant Flowers

By Jjron [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Another benefit of lilacs is that they are a favorite plant of hummingbirds and butterflies.


Pink Jasmine (Jasmine stephanense)
Pink Jasmine (Jasmine stephanense)

Zone: 7 to 10

Full Sun

Bloom Time: Spring to Summer

Height: 10′ to 25′

Fragrant Jasmine (there are non-fragrant types) is generally a vine that grows in warmer climates, may have evergreen leaves and has a beautiful sweet smell.

It grows quite tall so is better suited for an arbor than a trellis…which also gives you the benefit of being able to walk through the scented flowers!

You might also like: Flowering Vines For Shade

Most varieties need some pruning to keep them tidy, but other than that are very easy to maintain.

Mock Orange (Philadelphus)

Mock Orange By Aurora Puentes Graña (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mock Orange By Aurora Puentes Graña [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Zone: 4 to 7

Full Sun to Part Sun

Bloom Time: Summer

Height: 3′ to 20′

Mock Orange is a bush that produces fragrant white flowers in the summer. It is drought tolerant and pest free, making it a very easy plant to maintain in your garden!

Traditional varieties can tend to be a little lanky and scraggly (ie. not much to look at when they are not in bloom), so you may want to go for one of the newer dwarf plants that can be mixed with other plants in the garden.


Daphne odora is a very fragrant bush
Daphne odora is a very fragrant bush

Zone: 5 to 10

Part Shade

Bloom Time: Late Winter / Early Spring

Height: 3′ to 5′

Daphnes are small bushes that can be evergreen or deciduous (depending on the climate) with white or pink flowers, and have a very strong scent in the spring that fills the air.

They can be a little finicky to grow…keeping them well watered, applying a generous layer of mulch in the spring, and pruning out the old wood once a year will help keep them alive and well.

You might also like: Bushes To Grow Under Trees

So there you have it…our list of the most fragrant flowers that will come back year after year…hopefully you have room in your garden for at least one of these beauties!

Do you have any additions to our list of perennial plants with the most fragrant flowers? Tell us in the section below.

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10 Beautiful Perennial Plants With The Most Fragrant Flowers

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This post was originally published on May 25, 2016 but was updated with new content on September 15, 2022.

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  1. Thank you, thank you so much for this wonderful post. Love it!

    1. Thanks, Ivory! I love all of those beautiful scented flowers, too 🙂

      1. Love your beautiful post can I replant cannas in summer to move them to a new location? Will they keep growing?

        1. Wanda Simone says:

          Hi Judy…I haven’t tried with Cannas so I can’t say for sure. But I usually try not to replant things during the summer because the heat adds to the stress of the move so the plant is less likely to survive. However, if you live somewhere that doesn’t have really hot summers, it might work okay. (They will take a while to settle in and start growing again). Dig a large enough hole to get all of the rhizomes without disturbing them and then water well in its new location.

  2. I love Stargazer Lillies. Very fragrant

    1. Thanks for the addition to the list! I love Stargazer Lilies also 🙂

  3. Joyce Daily says:

    I am looking for perennials for a bed that is full son. I live in SE Missourian area. Need ones that grow slightly tall then drop down to shorter sort of a cascade affect. Could anyone help me? tks

    1. Hi Joyce…for low growing sun perennials, I would try creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), Catmint (Nepeta) and creeping Thyme. For the mid-height, try perennial Geranium, silver mound Artemesia, and perennial Salvia. For taller plants, try coneflowers (Echinacea), peonies, and russian sage (Perovskia). Hope that helps!

  4. I wouldn’t recommend Mock Orange. It’s fragrance is lovely but it doesn’t bloom for very long and it is impossible to get rid of it. It spreads underground. We’ve been trying to kill it for 3 years.

    1. Thanks for the warning, Sandra! I haven’t had problems with it in my garden, but it’s good to keep in mind that it could be an issue.

    2. Joni hays says:

      Wow thanks for that info,almost planted this & I wouldn’t of wanted it

  5. Stephanie says:

    Daphne blooms in the late winter in southeastern Virginia, not in the summertime. It is a lovely welcome surprise!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks, Stephanie! You are right, it blooms late winter/early spring…I fixed it 🙂

  6. There are a few scented shrubs that I love. Osmanthus and winter honeysuckle are great for the South. We get a lot of unseasonably warm days to enjoy these scents over winter. Osmanthus grows quickly, is evergreen and both can bloom anytime late fall through late winter depending on seasonal weather. I also love trifoliate orange. I have osmanthus by my porch because it makes a great privacy screen and the birds love it.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Natalie! I haven’t tried growing Osmanthus, but it sounds like I need to put it on my list 🙂

  7. Kim Dickenson says:

    Looking for a perennial bush about a foot tall, with long bloom time. The David Austin Rose “Gertrude Jekyll” you mention looks to fit the bill.
    Do you have any other recommendations? We live in North Carolina and this area receives full sun. Thanks!!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Kim…You could also try Polyantha Roses (like ‘The Fairy’). You will need to prune them to keep them low, but they form a nice bush shape. Some other dwarf varieties that might work are ‘Flare’ Hydrangea paniculata, “Rainbow Fizz” Spirea and “Bella Bellissima” Potentilla.