25 Outdoor Plants That Smell Amazing

25 Outdoor Plants That Smell Amazing

Creating a beautifully landscaped path is great for attracting attention. But it becomes even more impressive when all your senses are called upon, including smell. “What’s really interesting is that no two flowers can smell the same because of the diversity of their distinct compounds and interactions,” says Stephen McFarlane, Regional Landscape Manager for Sandals Resorts. “In addition to adding color and beauty to the garden, fragrant flowers can improve mood, increase positivity levels, and reduce stress—essentially, aromatherapy.”

Here are some of our top picks for great-smelling outdoor plants. Bonus: Many of these plants also attract wildlife, from birds to butterflies to bees, creating a pollinator-friendly garden and elaborate ecosystem in your backyard.

Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

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Consider Cape jasmine, which grows as a large shrub with fragrant, 3-inch flowers. This aromatic plant is best grown in acidic, constantly moist and well-drained soil. It can grow in full sun, but partial shade is preferred in the afternoon in hot climates. Be sure to use fertilizer for this acid-loving plant during the growing season.

Regions: 8 to 11

Common jasmine

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A fast-growing climbing shrub with clusters of fragrant white flowers, common jasmine thrives in full sun to partial shade. The pleasant scent will hit you, even from several feet away. This plant needs moist, well-drained soil. Remember to prune old shoots after flowering to encourage new growth, which will produce new flowers.

Regions: 7 to 10

Frangipani (Plumeria sp.)

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A gorgeous small tree with fragrant flowers used to make the famous Hawaiian flower, frangipani is an aromatic plant that prefers full sun and well-drained soil with deep, infrequent watering. This plant benefits from fertilizers with a high phosphorus composition.

Regions: 10 to 12

Ylang Ylang Tree (Cananga odorata)

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A fast-growing medium to large tree, the ylang-ylang tree produces incredibly fragrant flowers and is actually a key ingredient in the famous Chanel No. 5 perfume. This tree enjoys full sun with rich soil that does not dry out. Be sure to fertilize every three to four months.

Regions: 9 to 11

Ginger butterfly lily (Hedychium Coronarium)

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The perennial white butterfly ginger lily produces an attractive, spicy scent. The upright-rooted plant prefers full sun to part shade with moist to constantly moist soil that is high in organic matter.

Regions: 7 to 11

Orange Jessamine (Muraea paniculata)

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When you want to add a versatile plant to your collection, orange jasmine is the plant that can be trained onto a small tree or clipped hedge. It does best in morning sun and afternoon shade with rich, well-drained soil. It will also benefit from a balanced fertilizer throughout the year.

Regions: 10 to 12

Night blooms jasmine

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Just as the name suggests, the sweet, intoxicating night-blooming fragrance of jasmine is only released at night. It thrives in full sun to part shade in rich, well-drained soil. For care, provide regular water and balanced fertilizer throughout the year. Annual pruning will help keep the foliage in check.

Regions: 9 to 11

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

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Not only do lilies have a beautiful, intense scent, but these blue, pink, red, purple, or white perennials are relatively easy to grow. Plant them in the fall in the ground or in planters. Just be sure to prevent children and pets from eating them, as the bulbs are toxic. They thrive best when exposed to six to eight hours of sunlight daily.

Regions: 4 to 8

Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)

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Gardenias are high-maintenance tropical plants with white flowers that grow best in warm climates. But if you’re willing to put in the time and energy to care for it, you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful citrus scent. They thrive in partial shade and like soil with a low pH. They need about an inch of water per week, so if it doesn’t rain much, be sure to water them.

Regions: 8 – 11

Dianthus (Dianthus caryophilus)

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This plant (also called Sweet William) has bright pink (sometimes white or red) flowers and a spicy scent reminiscent of cloves and cinnamon. It needs alkaline soil and at least six hours of full sun. Dianthus is watered when it is dry and needs fertilizer every two months.

Regions: 6 to 9

Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana)

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Star-shaped nicotianas have a strong smell, not unlike tobacco. They smell like jasmine. It blooms in a wide range of colors and thrives in full sun and rich soil. Their scent is stronger after dark.

Regions: 10 and 11

Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)

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Peonies have a sweet scent reminiscent of roses. They thrive in full sun, and bloom from late spring through early summer as long as they get about one inch of water per week. But be patient: Peonies don’t usually bloom the first year but will begin to appear the second spring after you plant them.

Regions: 3 – 8

Lilac (Syringa L.)

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Lilac is a shrub with a sweet scent somewhat similar to vanilla. They are usually purple in color, but can be pink or white. They need at least six hours of full sun, and well-drained, alkaline-neutral soil. Water lilacs when they appear dry, and apply fertilizer once a winter.

Regions: 3 -8

Lily of the valley (Convallaria macilis)

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Lily of the valley flowers have a fresh, invigorating spring-like scent, which may be why there are a number of perfumes designed for this scent. They are usually white but sometimes pink, and grow best in full or partial shade. They prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil.

Regions: 3 – 9

Phlox (P. paniculata)

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Phlox flowers have a sweet, nutty scent and come in colors ranging from pink and white to purple and blue. Tall phlox thrive in direct sunlight, while other varieties grow best in partial shade. They need regular water, balanced fertilizer, and nutrient-rich soil.

Regions: 4 – 8


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Known for its bright red color and sweet scent, honeysuckle screams summer. This flower attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, making your garden a delight. Honeysuckle is usually red or sometimes white, and is very low maintenance. Try planting honeysuckle on trellises and fences to improve your garden’s curb appeal (and make it smell really good).

Regions: from 4 to 10


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Magnolia flowers evoke a citrus and floral scent. These fragrant flowers come in many shapes, sizes and colors. White, pink, red, purple, or yellow are all color options for magnolia. Make sure to find a spot in your garden that receives full sun and light shade for optimal care.

Regions: 4 to 9


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This flower has a mixture of floral, citrus and sweet notes. Daphne comes in a range of gorgeous colours, such as pink, lavender or white. To care for the plants, daphne flowers should be planted in moist soil and exposed to sun to part shade.

Regions: 7 to 9

Sweetened peas

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Sweet pea flowers have an orange blossom scent with a touch of rose. As if we can’t love this flower enough, it comes in a variety of colors. To keep sweet peas well cared for, plant them in full sun in well-drained soil.

Regions: 3 to 8


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You can recognize the freesia flower from wedding bouquets. With its multi-colored flowers and fruity scent, it is a great choice for weddings or your backyard. Some types of bright colors include red, yellow, pink, purple, orange, and more. Keep this plant in good condition by planting it in full sun and well-drained soil.

Regions: 9 and 10


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If you love the sweet scent of honey, alyssum is the perfect choice. With its honey scent, this flower attracts pollinators, as well as butterflies and songbirds. This flower prefers full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil.

Regions: 5 to 9

Butterfly bush

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The butterfly bush flower is known for its sweet honey scent that attracts pollinators. This flower comes in purple and burgundy. For plant maintenance, butterfly bushes prefer moist, well-drained soil grown in partial or full sun.

Regions: 6 to 9

moon flower

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In a stunning lavender colour, Moonflower offers a sweet scent with jasmine and vanilla. As an added bonus, this type of flower is low-maintenance, only needing regular watering and feeding.

Regions: 10 to 12


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Rose flowers have a fruity and floral scent to match their vibrant colours. Roses work wonders to complement your backyard with color options. From gold to pink, the color possibilities are endless.

Regions: 5 to 11


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Heliotrope exudes a sweet floral scent in your garden. This type of flower comes in a range of colors such as purple, blue and white. To take good care of heliotrope, it is important to grow it outdoors in moist, well-drained soil in full sun.

Regions: 3 to 10

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