Planting for fragrance

Published on August 21st 2020
A close up of a flower
Perfumed gardens have such a romantic feel about them and spring is the perfect time to enjoy these fragrances in your own garden. The delightfully sweet or zesty scents exuded by flowers and foliage instantly invites one into the garden to enjoy spring’s warm embrace.
You can easily create your own sensory sanctuary by strategically planting or placing containers with fragrant flowers and foliage close to the entertainment area, windows or entrances to emit a welcoming aroma.
A close up of a rose with green leaves
Position these aromatic plants in areas where you will often brush past to encourage the release of their scent. The fragrance will be stronger if the plant is well protected from the wind, and by mixing and matching different species and varieties of aromatic plants, whether exotic or indigenous, you can create a fragrant garden that provides enduring pleasure and bliss.
A close up of a flower
Here are some of our favourite indigenous and exotic perfumed flowers to inspire your fragrant garden:

Fragrant flowers

The fragrance of flowers vary throughout the seasons and even with the time of day. Select fragrant plants that will flower in each season to create continued interest and delight.
One cannot talk about fragrant flowers and not mention the spring-favourite - Starry wild jasmine. These climbers transform the whole garden or patio in early spring when their blooms open up to exude an inviting perfume.
Wild gardenia, Weeping bride's bush and Kamassi, three indigenous shrubs, produce heavily perfumed white flowers in the summer garden.
Also, do not let the inconspicuous flowers of the Bladdernut fool you, it can pack quite a pungent punch in early summer.
Other firm fragrant favourites include the late winter blooming Weeping sage and early spring flowering Sagewood. These indigenous Buddlejas are wonderful sources of pollen and nectar, attracting an array of insects, especially butterflies.
A close up of a flower
Weeping sage
The honey-scented flowers of the False olive, September bells, and the faintly sweet-scented Cape chestnut are also lovely additions to the fragrant mid-summer garden.
There is nothing quite like the scent of sweetpeas to announce the arrival of spring! Dig into our Sweet Pea Series and learn how to grow your own.
Other fragrant climbers like Wisteria and the Corkscrew vine adds beautiful colour and interest climbing up patios, pergolas and other support structures.
A close up of a flower
Corkscrew vine
Who can withstand the calming aroma of lavender growing en masse or in containers close to windows and entrances? Lavender is a must-have in the fragrant garden and has numerous uses in the kitchen and home.
The large, pendulous flowers of Brugmansia (Angel'sTrumpet) radiate an unbelievably sweet scent and is sure to stop you dead in your tracks.
The fragrance of roses is legendary and it comes as no surprise that for many millennia the rose has infused numerous perfumes and beauty products with its delicate scent. And, when it comes to choosing scented roses for the garden the options are endless!
If you're looking for something with a little more height, these fragrant trees with their whitish blooms awaken early spring, releasing pleasantly sweet, citrusy scents.
Don't forget the Gardenias and Frangipanis!
A close up of a flower

Fragrant foliage

The heart of a fragrant garden must be planted up with fragrant foliage. In our beautiful country, we are blessed with a diverse range of plants to choose from, just think Coleonemas, Pelargoniums, Salvias, Plectranthus and buchus.
Don't forget the Helichrysum species. These beautiful plants not only have fragrance foliage but are also very pleasing to the eye with their greyish, soft leaves, creating a charming contrast planted with other garden greenery.
A plant in a forest
Wild rosemary
Other grey-leaved fragrant favourites include Wild rosemary (Eriocephalus africanus) and African wormwood (Artemesia afra).
Keep in mind that most aromatic plants only release their scent when touched or rubbed, so strategically place them where they will most often be brushed against. Favourable positions include along pathways, between paving steps, at entrances and gateways, or beside benches and entertainment areas.
A close up of a flower garden
Of course, no fragrant garden can be complete without a few herbs. Below are some of our best picks.

For more fragrant plants to add to your spring garden, dig into the collection below!

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