The Best Scented Plants for your Garden

There is nothing better than stepping out into your yard and catching the intoxicating scents of a garden in bloom. A scented garden helps ease the frustration of pulling yet another dandelion from your perennial bed. Try these scented plant varieties to add to your garden and watch your frustration disappear.

Be sure to check your garden zones to make sure the plant is suitable for your climate before planting or enjoy them as an annual.

lilac flowers


Both the traditional lilac bush and the dwarf korean lilac bush have such strong fragrance that you will notice them from across the yard, especially on a damp summer evening. 

Be sure to try the topiary tree variety of the dwarf korean lilac to change the texture of your perennial garden. 

The traditional lilac can live up to 100 years and grow 8 to 12 feet, so they will do better outside of your garden bed as a solitary bush or in a line to create a scented hedge. Check your specific variety for hardiness, but traditional lilac zones range from zone 2 to 8 and they do well in cooler climates.

The dwarf korean lilac is more compact, blooms a little bit later than the traditional lilac, and can be a nice statement inside a garden bed. 


Hyacinth grows from bulbs and has a strong scent to add to your spring garden. You can start these bulbs inside to transplant out or continue to grow indoors. 

Hyacinth bulbs can be forced to start inside by simply placing the bulbs in a shallow tray of water and leaving them under some grow lights or in a sunny window. If you want to get fancy, place them on some stones in a glass vase or jar and keep them on your kitchen table.

Hyacinth are hardy for zone 4-8.

Sweet Alyssum

Alyssum is a low growing plant that adds great color and scent to your baskets, pots and garden edges. Place it along the edge of your pot, with tall plants in the middle and enjoy the flowers and scent all summer.

Hardy for zones 5–9, alyssum can be invasive in some warmer climates, so it might be best to keep it above ground.


A wonderful addition to any garden and a staple in an English garden, the peony adds beautiful texture to your garden bed.

Once the blooms open, they will fill your garden with a sweet smell. You may notice ants on the buds before they open; be sure to leave them to do their job as  they help the blooms open up. There are many different varieties and flower types of peony, leaving lots of room for color and size choices through zones 3 to 8.

Peony blooms make lovely cut flowers for the home; cut the flowers in the morning while buds are still tight and enjoy them for about a week indoors.



A garden isn’t complete until it has a rose! Traditionally, roses were viewed as difficult and fussy plants to grow, but with the amount of new varieties, they are easily grown by every level of  gardener. There are varieties that are bred more for looks than scent, so if you are hoping to make your garden more aromatic, make sure you are searching for a variety that is appropriate.

Be sure to plant your rose in an area that you will not have to move around too closely as the thorns can be painful. Some new varieties are available without thorns, making them great for any space. The type of rose will dictate which you can plant in your zone so pay close attention to which one you are buying as they can be hardy from zone 3 to 10. Here is a great guide on growing roses!


Dianthus, also known as pinks, have a gentle scent and add a nice pop of color to the garden bed. Usually placed along the border, there are many different varieties and colors available, so choose a few and see which will grow best in your garden. If you try different varieties you will figure out what works best in your garden microclimate and alleviate some of that garden frustration we all feel when things fail!

Dianthus is a perennial for zones 3-8 and enjoys a full sun location with well drained soil.

Are there any other plants that you love in your scented garden? Let me know in the comments below! If you are looking for other plant ideas, check out my post about my five favorite flowers for the vegetable garden!

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