Top 20 Fragrant Plants

Some plants are just much more fragrant than others. Typically it’s the flowers that are fragrant, but some plants also have fragrant foliage. For this list, we will mostly focus on fragrant flowering plants for each blooming season, growing zone & region in the United States, with an added bonus tip at the end.

Creating A Fragrant Garden

Fragrant plants in the garden are beneficial for several reasons. If you have a high traffic area at your home like an entryway or patio, a fragrant plant can be nice for you and your guests without having to even cut the flowers. If you enjoy making your own cut flower arrangements, fragrant flowers are a fantastic addition and can make your entire home smell wonderful. Another great location for a fragrant garden is in hanging baskets, containers or even growing a large shrub by a window that you open frequently (like a kitchen window).

We recommend picking out fragrant plants that bloom at different times of the year, so you can enjoy great smelling flowers from spring to fall! Here are some shrubs, perennials and annuals that are sure to be a great addition to your garden!

Most Fragrant Shrubs



These spring blooming shrubs have extremely strong fragrance and bloom before most every other plant. These flowers are also great for cut flower bouquets to bring the fragrance indoors. Bonus, the shrubs are very easy to care for once established.

Growing Zones - 2-8

Scientific Name - Syringa

Shrub Roses


The most famous plant in the world, roses are grown from their long blooming seasons and their fragrance. These popular shrubs come in all different sizes and flower colors. But all of them create beautiful fragrant flowers. 

Growing Zones - 3-11

Scientific Name - Rosa



This is a bush that grows in warmer climates in southern states. The shrubs produce tiny white flowers that are very fragrant. An added bonus is that these are also evergreen and provide 4 season interest in the garden. Create a natural evergreen hedge that also produces great smelling flowers with gardenia!

Growing Zones - 7-11

Scientific Name - Gardenia



Viburnum are native shrubs that can withstand very extreme cold and hot weather. The shrubs produce fragrant white flowers during the summer, which also attract pollinators. Because these are mostly native to the United States, the shrubs are also easy to care for.

Growing Zones - 1-10

Scientific Name - Viburnum

Mock Orange


Intoxicatingly sweet perfumed white flowers bloom on Mock Orange in the spring and early summer. If you want something that is not commonly grown everywhere, try a Mock Orange to stand out in your neighborhood.

Growing Zones - 4-11

Scientific Name - Philadelphus



Most plants with the word "sweet" in the name will have wonderful fragrance, and Summersweet shrubs are no different. These summer flowering shrubs attract pollinators but are mostly deer resistant as an added bonus.

Growing Zones - 3-9

Scientific Name - Clethra

Honeysuckle Bushes


Also known as Diervilla, honeysuckle bushes have bright yellow flowers that smell wonderful and attract pollinators in the summer. These bushes will also produce pretty red foliage in the fall for even more interest throughout the growing season. Plant these instead of burning bushes and get a shrub that produces fragrant flowers and isn't invasive like burning bushes can sometimes be.

Growing Zones - 3-9

Scientific Name - Diervilla or Lonicera

Most Fragrant Perennials

Bee Balm


This flowering perennial is also called hummingbird mint, and that is because of the fragrance of the foliage and the flowers of this plant. And it also attracts pollinators. As an added bonus, this plant will slowly spread throughout the garden and fill in empty spots and it's super easy to care for. We recommend every gardener tries to grow bee balm. And it comes in several different flower colors.  

Growing Zones - 3-10

Scientific Name - Monarda



This drought tolerant perennial (sometimes it's also grown as an annual), has very fragrant flowers that start to bloom in the springtime. These also go great in garden planters, which can be used in high traffic areas so you and your guests can smell the flowers as you walk by.

Growing Zones - 4-9

Scientific Name - Dianthus, sometimes called Pinks or Sweet William



This spring-blooming plant can be grown as an annual or perennial. But you will notice this throughout the neighborhood in the early spring as it's one of the first plants to bloom. It comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and growth habits, so it's easy to find the perfect phlox for your specific space.

Growing Zones - 3-11

Scientific Name - Phlox



Salvia is the largest genus in the mint family, with over 900 species known worldwide. The plants are typically drought tolerant and produce fragrant purple flowers that pollinators love. Sage, catmint & rosemary are all part of this family as well.

Growing Zones - 3-11

Scientific Name - Salvia

Most Fragrant Annuals



These flowering annuals are perfect for hanging baskets, planters and small rock gardens. The flowers are one of the most fragrant annuals you can buy, and will definitely be noticed by guests when they walk by the gorgeous plants.

Scientific Name - Lobularia



One of the most well-known annuals, these are widely grown in garden plants and garden beds as annuals across the country. But the reason most gardeners grow these are for the prolific blooms the plants produce. The fragrance is very nice on these flowers though, and something most gardeners don't realize until they start growing petunias at their house. 

Scientific Name - Petunia



This is a hard to find annual that is heat tolerant and perfect for containers, borders, & landscapes. Use as a filler in combination garden planters to add color and fragrance to the mix.

Scientific Name - Heliotropium

Fragrant Flowering Vines

Climbing Roses


Plant these on an arbor for beautiful flowers that provide fragrance and color throughout the summer. These vigorous climbing plants look fantastic growing up a trellis, fence or an arbor.

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There is a huge variety of clematis you can grow, but some varieties are more fragrant than others. Some of the most fragrant clematis are the Sweet Summer Love Clematis and Sweet Autumn Clematis. See we told you that the word "sweet" in the name is a good indication of great smelling flowers!

Growing Zones - 4-11

Honeysuckle Vine


This vine can also be grown as a groundcover. Sometimes these can be invasive depending on where you live, so be careful on which honeysuckle vine you plant in your yard. But the lovely fragrance of the flowers produced by this plant is second to none, and the vines are very easy to care for and grow.

Growing Zones - 4-9

Star Jasmine Vine


Most Jasmine plants have very fragrant flowers, but this is one of our favorites, especially for southern gardens. This fast growing vine has small white fragrant flowers in the spring and summer.

Growing Zones - 7-10

Scientific Name - Mandevilla



These tropical climbing plants are both beautiful and have great smelling flowers. We love growing these up a trellis next to the patio for added privacy and beauty to the space. Or you can plant these on a fence or on the deck posts as well. Most of the time these are grown as an annual, but in hotter climates they can be grown as a perennial. 

Growing Zones - 10-11

Most Fragrant Plants For Southern Gardens

Typically a southern garden is considered growing zones 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11. The summers can be extremely hot, humid & dry, and can be tough on some plants. However, there are still plenty of plants to choose from for southern gardens. Some of our favorites are Gardenia, Carolina Jessamine, Star Jasmine Vine, Coccineus Red Creeping Thyme, and Bee Balm. Another very popular fragrant plant to grow in the south is Rosemary. The plants will typically come back every year in zones 7 and above, and provide great fragrance in the garden. Bonus you get to use the rosemary in cooking, which is a great benefit too!

Most Fragrant Plants For Northern Gardens

Northern gardens (typically zones 3, 4, 5 & 6) will have very different requirements compared to southern states. Some great plants from Northern Gardens include Roses, Lilacs, Iris, Clematis, Dianthus and Viburnum.

If you do not like any of those choices or like to change up your garden from year to year, you could plant fragrant annuals and not have to worry about growing zones.

Gardening Tip: If you want a functional garden that is low maintenance, and you do not want to make any cut flower arrangements, herbs are a fantastic choice to grow. They provide great fragrance when you walk by the plants, but you also get fresh herbs to cook with. And most herbs are also pretty easy to care for, which is an added bonus! Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Mint & Basil are some of our favorites to grow!

Best Smelling Plants For Your Garden

If your goal is to have a fragrant garden or home, then grow these plants and you won’t be disappointed! We recommend growing fragrant plants that bloom at different times of the year for great smelling flowers through the whole growing season!

  1. Lilacs
  2. Roses
  3. Gardenia
  4. Viburnum
  5. Mock Orange
  6. Summersweet
  7. Honeysuckle
  8. Bee Balm
  9. Dianthus
  10. Lavender
  11. Phlox
  12. Sage/Salvia/Catmint
  13. Alyssum
  14. Petunias
  15. Heliotrope
  16. Climbing Roses
  17. Clematis
  18. Honeysuckle
  19. Star Jasmine Vine
  20. Mandevilla