Those hubs of activity outdoors—like patios, pools, and decks—are perfect places to add sweetly scented plants for ambiance. Forget the candles and citronella.—we're talking about fragrant plants that remind you and your guests why it's so enjoyable to be spending time outdoors instead of in.
What makes a plant's fragrance appealing—if not intoxicating—is highly subjective. For some, a lovely, sweet scent is better than any perfume, while, for others, something spicy and almost musky does it for them. Many plants' scents are intensified at night—all the more reason to relax outdoors under the stars. Plants are presented in no particular order. Enjoy the aromas of the sweet-smelling plants we've picked for your garden.
01 of 11
Botanical name: Brugmansia
Details: This beautiful shrub or tree does best growing under eaves, against walls, or over fences. Angel's trumpet grows in spurts—sometimes several times a year—forming a thick blanket of beautiful blooms. Its flowers are long and trumpet shaped and that sweet scent picks up during the evening hours and if there's a light breeze.
02 of 11
Botanical name: Jasminum floridum, J. humile (Italian jasmine) J. laurifolium nitidum (Shining and Angelwing Jasmine), J. officinale (Common White and Poet's Jasmine), and J. sambac (Arabian Jasmine and Pikake).
Details: Some jasmines are unscented. If you're looking for the fragrant ones, try Jasminum floridum, J. humile (Italian Jasmine), The popular Star Jasmine is not a true jasmine, but wonderfully fragrant. Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) comes from China and grows to a twining 20-30-foot vine with support.
03 of 11
Botanical name: Frangipani, Pua Melia
Details: Plumeria (Frangipani, Pua Melia) are flowering plants or small trees often associated with Hawaii and other tropical islands. Native to Singapore, plumerias were introduced to Hawaii in the 1860. Sweetly scented varieties are Plumeria rubra 'Kauka Wilder' and 'Smith's Candystripe.' Plumeria is an excellent pool or spa-side plant and grows well in containers.
04 of 11
Botanical name: Lonicera japonica
Details: A vigorous-growing species with long-tubed fragrant white flowers that attract hummingbirds and yellow as they age. A twining climber, honeysuckle requires support and can grow up to 30 feet. It grows well in sun or partial shade. For repeat blooms, prune after flowering.
Zones: 6-9Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
Botanical Name: Dianthus
Details: Sometimes referred to as "pinks", these papery thin, variegated flowers are perennially popular flowers in English and European border gardens. Popular Dianthus hybrids include 'Doris', 'Charles Musgrave', 'Loveliness', 'Candy Floss' and 'Fruit Punch'. Deadhead for repeat blooms.
06 of 11
Botanical name: Gardenia augusta, G. grandiflora, or G. jasmnoides
Details: When scented plants are discussed, gardenias always come to mind. Longtime favorites in all types of gardens, from cottage to tropical, the shrubs produce dozens of creamy satiny flowers in spring that have an intoxicating fragrance. Favorite cultivars with gardeners include 'Fortuniana', 'Chuck Hayes', and 'Florida'.
07 of 11
Botanical name: Mandevilla
Details: Also known as Rocktrumpet, this tropical, fast-growing evergreen shrub or vine that produces waxy blooms from spring until frost. Mandevilla likes a sturdy post or support to climb along with enriched soil. Its strong scent is reminiscent of a gardenia. Popular cultivars include 'Alice du Pont', 'Bride's Cascade', and 'Magic Trio'.
Zones: Through zone 11
08 of 11
Botanical name: Rosa primula
Details: Of course these have to be mentioned, even if everyone knows about their legendary scents. If planting rose bushes near a pool or spa, make sure they are several feet away from high-traffic areas. You know—the thorn issue.
Zones: VariesContinue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
Jewel Mint of Corsica
Botanical name: Mentha requienii
Details: Just the intriguing name alone makes you want to add this to your garden. is a Mediterranean native and a spreading, low-growing mint ground cover that has a nice minty aroma when touched or lightly bruised. Try it as a fragrant filler between pavers or stepping stones.
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Botanical name: Nicotiana
Details: Especially for nonsmokers, the thought of anything with the name "tobacco" added to this list might raise eyebrows. Flowering tobacco is an upright plant with slightly sticky flowers in pink, white or light green that sometimes open just at night or on cloudy days. The sweetest-smelling varieties are Nicotiana alata 'Grandiflora,' and N. sylvestris. Many gardeners grow flowering tobacco as an annual, making it suitable for many zones.
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Botanical name: Phlox sp.
Details: A colorful and prolific bloomer that performs in gardens from late spring to early fall. Phlox grows in both sun and shade and is available in a full range of colors. Its scent has been described as "spicy-vanilla clove".
Zones: Through zone 10