Fragrance Gardens

Small flower with yellow-cream, waxy petals tipped with pink
The flowers of banana shrub are small, but fragrant. UF/IFAS.

Scent is one of the strongest human senses, and fragrant plants can add a new dimension to your landscape.

Floral and herbal scents have been loved, distilled, and enjoyed indoors for centuries, and they can be equally delightful in the garden.

With thoughtful planning and design, it’s not hard to create a pleasant fragrance garden using the tangy scent of tea olive blooms, the heady perfume of gardenia flowers, or the resinous smell of pine needles.

Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata) flourishes in South Florida and has been a component in many fragrances including the famous Chanel No. 5.

Some plants release their fragrance with the heat of the sun, while others emit a scent only when crushed. Plants like angel’s trumpet, star jasmine, and water lilies are more fragrant at night.

Different times of year can bring you different fragrances; sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritimaand pink bud jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) are notable for their winter blooming and fragrance.

There are even edible plants, such as tomato, citrus, and herbs, that have strong scents that can be incorporated into your fragrance garden.

You can easily create a garden devoted to fragrance, as Florida is blessed with hundreds of divinely-scented plants — the trouble will be choosing which ones you want to plant!

The delicate flower of ylang-ylang
The delicate flower of ylang-ylang. Photo: Edward Gilman, UF/IFAS.

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