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Tips for growing a fragrant garden

By: Garden Gate staff
Here’s where to plant your favorite fragrant flowers for the most impact.

Who can resist leaning into a big peony (Paeonia hybrid) or rose (Rosa hybrid) bloom to enjoy the sweet smell? Fragrance has the ability to take us back to moments and people in our past, too. Does the grapey scent of tall bearded irises (Iris hybrid) like this transport you to your grandma’s back porch? The tips that follow will help you make sure you’re getting the most of the fragrant plants in your garden.

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Perfect places

Fragrant flowers belong where they can perfume your everyday activities. Do you have a favorite place to sit? That’s a great place for a container like this pot of star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). Star jasmine is only cold-hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10. Grow it as an annual or save plants in fall and overwinter them indoors. If the scent isn’t to your visitor’s taste it’s easy to temporarily reposition this tender vine.

Look for a place that’s warm and still to allow the fragrance to build in a getaway. A fence or hedge can prevent the wind from dissipating your favorite scent or sending it over to the neighbor’s patio.

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Touchable plants

On some plants, the foliage is where the action is, but a touch is required to get results.

Line a path with lavender (Lavandula spp. and hybrids) like the purple and white cultivars above and you can enjoy a relaxing walk as you brush your hands through its fragrant foliage. This perennial is well suited to all the nearby reflected heat. In fact, lavender thrives in warm sunny areas where the soil has excellent drainage.

You may notice that fragrance is a little more intense when plants are somewhat drought-stressed. The lack of water makes the oils in the plant more concentrated.

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Take a step

Can’t squeeze in one more plant? Grow ground covers with fragrant foliage where you wouldn’t expect plants to thrive—between the steppers on your patio. This creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) has spread to form an aromatic mat that you don’t have to worry about walking on — in fact, doing so releases the herb’s fragrance.

Check out 10 fragrant flowers for your garden to learn some great planting options.

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