o Which Shrubs Smell Good?


Image by: Olivier
Magnolia stellata

What's that smell?

We all know that many flowers smell and that is true of flowers on shrubs. Some also have fragrant foliage and occasionally fragrant roots or stems. This is often neglected when shrubs are chosen for the background because of their size and shape, leaving perennials and annuals to provide the scent.

Here are some ideas for shrubs that have a pleasant fragrance, either from their flowers or from their foliage.

Fragrant flowers

By far the commonest way to add scent to a garden is by using flowers.

Latin NameCommon NameCommentsUSDA Zone
Buddleia davidiiBuddleiaDistinctive summer fragrance.5-9
CalycanthusAllspiceFlowers smell like bubblegum. Leaves are also fragrant.5-9
Chimomanthus praecoxFragrant WintersweetSmall fruit-scented creamy flowers during late winter.7-10
Choisya ternataMexican OrangeOrange-scented spring flowers.7-11
ClethraSummersweetFlowers from mid-summer to autumn and smells like roses.3-8
Cytisus battandieriPineapple BroomFlowers smell like pineapple.7-9
Daphne ordoraWinter DaphneVery fragrant winter flowers.7-9
Daphne x burkwoodiiDaphneShowy fragrant flowers in spring.5-8
Gardenia jasminoidesGardeniaScented flowers for several months in spring and summer.8b-10
Hamamelis mollisWitchhazelSpicy scented yellow flowers during winter. Many Witchhazel hybrids are also scented.4-9
Jasminum nudiflorumWinter JasmineNot a strong scent but it last the whole winter.7-10
LigustrumPrivetFlowers have a distinctive smell, not always considered pleasant.5-11
LoniceraHoneysuckleFamiliar sweet-smelling flowers.5-9
MagnoliaMagnoliaThe large spring flowers are scented.7-9
OsmanthusFalse HollyInsignificant flowers in autumn have a subtle scent.7-9
RhododendronRhododendron/AzaleaMany species and varieties have scented flowers, but not all.4-9
RosaRoseChoose a Rugosa or an old rose like Damask for the strongest scent.5-10
SarcococcaSweetboxWinter flowers smell like honey. Followed by berries, S. hookeriana is the most fragrant.6-9
SyringaLilacLilac flowers add scent in spring.3-8
ViburnumViburnumHoney and spice scented flowers. V. burkwoodii, V. carlesii, V. farreri, and V. x bodnantense offer the best scent.4-8

Scented leaves

A few shrubs have leaves which produce a noticeable smell, sometimes only when touched or crushed.

Latin NameCommon NameCommentsUSDA Zone
Aloysia triphyllaLemon VerbenaLemon-scented foliage used as a herb.8-11
CalycanthusAllspiceAlso has fragrant flowers.5-9
Elettaria cardamomumCardamomLeaves smell like Cardamom.9-11
Elsholtzia stauntoniiMint ShrubLeaves smell like mint.4-8
IlliciumAniseCrushed leaves smell like aniseed.8-10
Ledum groenlandicumLabrador TeaAromatic leaves are used to make tea.2-8
Lindera benzoinSpicebushStrong spicy citrus scent from crushed leaves.4-9
Rosemarinus officinalisRosemarySmall scented shrub used as a herb.8-10
Ruta graveolensRueFoliage scented like gorse5-9
Salvia officinalisSageThe herb used in cooking is actually S. fruticosa5-9
Sassafras officinalisSassafrasThe roots, bark, and leaves are all strongly scented. Very large shrub or tree.4-11
Thymus vulgarisThymeThis herb is actually a small shrub.5-9

Entered by iann

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