P. Allen Smith at Moss Mountain Farm
Blooms are great for adding visual interest to a landscape and attracting those all-important pollinators. Part of the allure of a flower garden also is its wonderful fragrance! Fragrance in the garden seems like a superfluous topic, every garden is fragrant. However, much like color, texture or shape one can use the element of fragrance to enhance a garden. Strategically placed flowers and herbs with sweet scents give reason to pause and enjoy. Here are 10 of our favorite fragrant plants for adding beauty and lovely scents to your outdoor spaces.
10 Fragrant Plants to Add to Your Garden:
English lavender at Moss Mountain Farm
English lavender – This aromatic herb looks beautiful planted in a large swath in the garden. It also grows well in containers. The dark, lavender-blue flower spikes are very attractive to butterflies as well. Lavender thrives in growing conditions similar to its native habitat along the Mediterranean coast. They prefer moist, cool winters and hot, dry summers. Well-drained soil and a full day’s sun are also essential for robust plants and plentiful blooms. ‘Munstead’ English Lavender is among the hardiest of lavenders.
Garden Phlox at Moss Mountain Farm
Garden Phlox – Phlox is unequaled for its showy blooms over a long period in summer. It does require some maintenance to sustain its health and vigor. Phlox grows best in rich, moist soil in full sun. ‘Ultraviolet’ Garden Phlox is a fragrant reblooming variety with very dark, magenta violet flowers that are certain to make a statement in the garden.
Peonies – Prized for their form, stunning range of colors, and exceptional hardiness, few other plants once established bloom so reliably year after year with such little care. Their large, glorious flowers add bright splashes of color to beds and borders, and their intoxicating fragrance makes them wonderful cut flowers. The ‘Big Ben’ peony has a very sweet scent and is a perfect cut flower variety. And, as if there wasn’t enough to love already about peonies, they’re also deer resistant.
‘Pineapple’ Salvia at Moss Mountain Farm
Salvia – Salvia, commonly called sage, is a big family with some members more fragrant than others. In some cases, it’s the foliage that’s most fragrant such as Pineapple Sage or Mexican Sage (featured in photo). ‘May Night’ blooms first for us and I find its foliage fragrance subtle, yet delightful. Salvia is easy to grow in almost any climate. Though it is drought tolerant, it will bloom better with regular watering. Deadheading encourages a longer bloom time. If plants get leggy during the season, cut them all the way back to the newly developed foliage. If cut back, plants may rebloom in fall but often the flowers are fewer and smaller.
Oriental lilies at Moss Mountain Farm
Oriental lilies – These fragrant flowers are late summer bloomers. They need to be planted in well-drained soil in full sun. Water moderately once they start to bloom. These lilies are so easy to care for, but a word of warning: deer will love your lilies as much as you do!
Butterfly Bush at Moss Mountain Farm
Butterfly Bush – Talk about versatility. The ‘Butterfly Bush’ buddleia makes it ideal for growing in mixed flower borders, containers, or en masse as a deciduous ground cover. Like other butterfly bushes, ‘Butterfly Bush’’ attracts butterflies but isn’t appealing to deer. As with other buddleias, plant your Gibert H. Wild ‘Butterfly Bush’ in a full sun location with fertile, moist, well-drained soil for best results.
‘Cordoba’ iris at Moss Mountain Farm
Iris – As a gardener and designer, I’ve had a long love affair with iris. I tend to always find a place for them in the gardens that I design. ‘City Lights’ Iris is one of my top performers at Moss Mountain Farm. Not only does this variety have a lovely fragrance, but it is also drought-tolerant, highly resistant to deer and rabbits, and very attractive to pollinators!
Bee Balm – This ultimate pollinator-friendly perennial is a great companion plant for others that rely on bees for pollination, and the fragrance is intoxicating. ‘Berry Taffy’ Bee Balm’s sweet nectar and hot raspberry pink flowers attract scores of hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees to the garden.
Daylily at Moss Mountain Farm
Daylily – I always recommend daylilies for a garden because they’re low-maintenance, showy in the garden and the late-blooming varieties will offer bold, trumpet blossoms until fall. You’ll find one of the best things about growing daylilies is they multiply, and if you choose several different varieties that bloom early, mid and late in the season, you can extend their bloom time throughout the entire season. ‘Wineberry Candy’ is one of the longest blooming daylilies and the first to bloom.
Catmint – Nepetas are easy-to-grow perennials that provide a beautiful show of color all summer long. At the peak of spring, the 30-inch tall plants are lush with gray-green, scented foliage and literally covered in spires of soft purple blooms. Catmint does best in full sun, planted in soil that is moist, but well-drained.
With a little planning, you can ensure your garden will be perfumed from early spring through fall. No matter which variety you choose, make sure to plant sweet-smelling flowers in areas where you (and your guests) can easily enjoy them.