From the evocative fragrance of jasmine to the aromatic allure of lavender, there’s nothing like the invisible power of a scented garden to lift the spirits. With many fragrant plants well suited to pots, they are also a fantastic way to get the most pleasure out of a small outdoor space. Here’s our pick of the bunch to get you growing:
No scented garden is complete without lavender, a highly aromatic, bee-attracting plant that has silvery-green foliage and attractive flower spikes all summer. It likes full sun to part shade, and thrives in pots with well-draining, alkaline soil. Look for new varieties including ‘Lavender Lace,’ ‘The Princess’ and ‘Ruffles’, which have outstanding flower colour, form and disease resistance.
Known for their intoxicatingly fragrant white to yellow flowers from late spring to early autumn, gardenias are adaptable plants that tolerate full sun to part shade. For container growing, choose varieties that grow to no more than 1 metre tall – G. augusta ‘Florida’ is ideal – and use a potting mix that’s formulated for plants that prefer acidic growing conditions.
Also called Madagascar jasmine, this climber with waxy, deep-green leaves bears fragrant, tubular white flowers from spring to autumn. It likes a well-draining soil and needs a warm, sheltered position in partial shade, ideally with strong morning sun. Being a climber, it also needs some kind of support.
The brown boronia, or sweet-scented boronia, is among the most fragrant of all Australian native plants. Its exquisitely perfumed brown/red flowers with yellow centres are borne profusely from late winter to spring. It grows best in dappled shade in a moist, well-draining soil.
Dianthus, or pinks, are a great all-round choice for pots. Hardy and drought tolerant, they produce pretty, fringed flowers with a clove-like scent in shades of white, pink, mauve and red throughout the warmer months. For best results, grow them in full sun in a moist, humus-rich, well-draining soil.
An attractive aromatic culinary herb with needle-like leaves and blue/purple flowers, rosemary is best positioned near a path or doorway so the plant releases its fragrance whenever you brush past it. Rosemary is drought tolerant and thrives in full sun in a rich, well-draining soil.
This small, slow-growing deciduous tree, which is covered in waxy white or pink perfumed flowers in the summer, has a relatively small root ball so is perfect for pots. It doesn’t like wet feet, so needs a good-quality, well-draining potting mix and a sunny position.
Valued for its perfumed, pinwheel-shaped flowers, this versatile and attractive evergreen climber blooms from spring to midsummer. It tolerates full sun to part shade, prefers a moist, well-draining soil and needs to be trained on a tripod or other support to keep it upright.
A favourite with cottage gardeners, alyssum is renowned for its sweet, heavy scent that attracts beneficial insects, including bees and butterflies. This low-growing annual is covered in tiny white to purple flowers from spring to autumn and grows best in full sun to part shade in a well-draining, fertile soil.
This compact plant with glossy leaves and highly scented, waxy white, pink or red flowers in spring is one of the world’s most fragrant shrubs. Look out for the sun-tolerant varieties ‘Eternal Fragrance’ and ‘Spring Pink Eternal Fragrance’ that will spot flower throughout the year.
It’s time to select a planter. Check out our guide on how to choose the right pot for your plant.
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