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Zone 8 Hardy Fragrant Plants

16 years ago

What are your favorite fragrant plants? What are their habits, and are they perrienials? I recently found a hardy Gardenia, and I am in love with the smell. It reminds me of Hawaii! How about you?

Comments (35)

  • hemnancy
    16 years ago

    I love gardenias too. These are all perennials-

    Native fragrant plant- False Solomon's Seal, wonderful, google photo
    Herb- Valerian, lavender (careful, some are not hardy)

    Shrubs etc that waft-
    Clove Currant- Crandall- small yellow flowers
    Eleagnus ebbingei
    Dioscorea villosa- cinnamon vine

    Other fragrant shrubs-
    Daphne odora- likes shade, good drainage
    Daphne x caucasius Summer Ice- keeps blooming all summer until frost
    Lonicera syringantha- small purple flowers

    Narcissus (daffodils)- Geranium, many others. Poisonous to animals so they return well
    Lilies- Oriental, Trumpet. I've had better success planting the bulbs in pots in the fall and keeping them in a cold but non-freezing garage until spring then planting out then
    Daylily Hemerocallis citrina- the lemon lily, very fragrant and earlier than regular daylilies

  • Embothrium
    16 years ago

    Shrub-tree harlequin glorybower (Clerodendrum trichotomum) is coming into bloom around here now, you might want to look for that one at a nursery. It really carries.

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    Hi there! I grew up in Pgh and know some of the plants that my mom grows now. If you have good soil and a sheltered location, you can grow datura for evening fragrance, it doesn't get very big but it will die down in the fall. My mom had no problems with it coming back and reseeding like crazy every summer. There some color variations you can get, like the white, or light purple ones, and some yellow ones too. I saw them for sale in Jung seed catalogs. Also, it's an annual but you can grow some really nice nicotiania (flowering tobacco), it smells great! My mom has a carolina allspice shrub, she loves it! Smells best in the morning. Also, for vines, moonflowers are great for night time fragrance or if you want to make an all white moon garden! You could get the moonflowers and the daturas and (if they have it) some white flowering tobacco. It smells great at night too, no matter what color it is. :) If you have shade (or plant at the base of your shrubs), you could get some viola odorata (sweet violets), there are some nice colors out there, my mom planted royal robe and queen charlotte in Pgh, and they smell wonderful! She got those from bluestone perennials, in case you need a source. Hope this helps ya! :)
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  • plantknitter
    16 years ago

    Philadelphus right now

  • novita
    16 years ago

    I had to go right out and have a sniff! The strongest scent is Spanish broom - wafts all over the garden. I agree about the lilies - I have all mine in pots except for some robust Asiatics. Trumpets are out now, smell gorgeous.
    sweet peas in a raised bed - they smell delicious!
    not out right now, but Fringe Cups are native (I think!)and smell nice.

  • Embothrium
    16 years ago

    Spanish broom (Spartium) is on the weed control board poop list down here.

  • spring_chicken
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    I was recently given a glorybower, but I have never smelled one to my knowledge. I have probably seen one, but I didn't know the name. So far mine is too little to bloom.

    What are the Daphnes like? I looked them up, and the one says short lived, and the other has variegated leaves, and requires full sun. I have a spot I would love to put one where it is very dry (in the crook of the house), but easy to water, and only gets late afternoon sun (west side) Is there one that will do well there, maybe without watering, and has rebloom, and regular leaves? Wow, I know I ask for a lot, but I am willing to settle.

    My Philadelphus has sadly already finished blooming.

    I don't think I have seen a Lonicera syringantha in person either. How well do they do? What size do they reach?

    Thanks - Paul

  • hemnancy
    16 years ago

    Paul- My Daphne odora is on the north side of the house in a raised bed with railroad tie sides, so it has little sun and sharp drainage. I don't actually get around to watering there much if at all. I've had it 9 years so I'll assume it really likes where it is. It gets bigger every year but they only bloom in spring. D. Summer Ice doesn't waft like odora but keeps flowers on it all summer. It is in sun a good part of the day. After 4 years it is 3x3' and like a big bouquet. It also has good drainage being on a slope. I also have D. Lawrence Crocker and D. tangutica which only bloom in spring, and I had but lost D. bholua, cneorum, Brigg's Moonlight, and collina.

    As for Lonicera syringantha (lilac-flowered) it is a rangy plant with sparse dull foliage, and only blooms in spring. It has red berries on it now. I'm thinking of trying to tie it up to some kind of trellis since it has long floppy branches going every which way. But it does smell really good. Maybe I need to cut it back more.

    The Osmanthuses have nice glossy foliage, and so does another fragrant shrub, Sarcococca ruscifolia. I haven't had them very long so I don't know much about them yet, but Sarcococca smells wonderful too.

  • albertine
    16 years ago

    Michelia yunnanensis is wonderful - easy to grow. Rhododendron fortunei and decorum are a couple fragrant varieties that have a strong heavenly scent that carries. Greer has some that are bloomimg size. Clematis armandii is good and early, Prunus mume is divine and starts in February.
    I have a daphne odora marginata that is in the doggie area and gets the hose pulled over it regularly. It is doing fine - it bends but doesn't break - you see them in lots of landscapes. My daphne retusa is doing well too.

  • Embothrium
    16 years ago

    Magnolia Society (and some others) going with merging of MIchelia into Magnolia, in which case you have Magnolia yunnanensis. Discussion is on their web site, DNA analysis showed Michelia (and other genera) had very definite Magnolia DNA; also explains why morphological disctinctions used not valid.

    Nurseries would benefit from picking up on this because public has heard of magnolias.

  • jennie
    16 years ago

    My Hebe salcifolia (sp?) is sweetly fragrant, though it doesn't waft far.

  • Embothrium
    16 years ago

    That's salicifolia, as in willowlike, Salix being the genus of willows. Hebe salicifolia has narrow (willowlike) leaves.

  • buyorsell888
    16 years ago

    Lilacs! I love my 'Miss Kim's compact habit and fragrance. Many of the older French hybrids are even more fragrant.

    Lily of the Valley are very invasive but as groundcover in a large pot they wouldn't eat your yard and the fragrance is amazing. Too bad they bloom such a short time.

    Hyacinths are very fragrant and fully hardy bulbs here. They get more attractive as the years go on to me, more informal looking. I buy half dead ones from big boxes and grocery stores cheap and plant them and have them all over the yard.

    I want a 'Summer Ice' Daphne but can't find one for a reasonable price. :(

    Oriental Lilies do great for me in the ground. Easter Lilies have faded away though, after a few years. They should be fine here.

    Some Clematis are fragrant in addition to Armandii the Viticella 'Betty Corning' is fragrant. Doesn't waft across the yard but it is sweet.

    Many Roses are fragrant, you can smell them at Heritage in St. Paul from the road. I have 'Midnight Blue' newly planted and I can smell it quite a ways away. Can't wait until it matures. Outstanding color and disease resistance too.

  • martinp
    16 years ago

    "What are the Daphnes like? I looked them up, and the one says short lived, and the other has variegated leaves, and requires full sun."

    Oh, goodness. Our Daphne here in Salem Oregon is one of my favorite plants. Yes, yes, yes, try it. Ours is under the eves, and only gets some morning direct sun. It is the varigated kind. I'm having so much fun cutting pieces off and trying to get them to grow. It is difficult for me, but I've got two new starts out in the yard. Wish me luck.

    I'm not sure what it is called, exactly, but we have something that looks like Hyacinth that blooms in the spring, and it has a wonderful smell. Our Grape Hyacinth doesn't smell good, though. I'm not a fan of Grape Hyacinth. :P I found some Hyacinth at the store, and it smelled great, too. Maybe you could just smell flowers at a nursery to find the ones you like. Someday I'd like to just go to the store and buy plants by how nice they smell. :)


  • eileen_grow
    16 years ago

    I love the common honeysuckle growing next to my patio. Smells wonderful, especially in the evening when I'm most likely to be sitting there enjoying the scene.

  • buyorsell888
    16 years ago

    Grape Hyacinth is Muscari armeniacum and it is a pretty blue but horribly invasive. I've never noticed a scent. I've been ripping it out for years.

    Hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis and cultivars) are not invasive and smell heavenly.

    Buddleia, Butterfly Bushes smell great but are a problem in some areas

  • Embothrium
    16 years ago

    There are other species of Muscari in gardens here besides M. armeniacum.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    16 years ago

    Flower scent tends to be pretty subjective and also rather heavily influenced by site conditions - what smells strongly fragrant in one garden to one nose may have little scent or be mildly offensive in another location and to another nose :-) And can vary clonally - sweet autumn clematis is one that seems to have a wide range of fragrance intensities, depending on origin.

    The strongest, furthest reaching fragrances in my own garden are the sarcococca (sweet box) in winter and the honeysuckles in summer. Roses are always a good choice, depending on cultivar, but you need to be up close and personal to really get the full effect :-)

    I am also very fond of the early spring scent of boxleaf azara - a chocolate-y aroma that is light and very pleasing. Same with some of the early flowering viburnums - juddii, carlesii, carlcephalum.

  • hostaguy
    16 years ago

    How timely, I've been in a SMELLY mood all year and learning what is fragrant.

    This years obsession started with waft of Deciduous Azaleas on a night walk in early spring - I didn't know they were fragrant, but boy... some are intoxicating!

    I made and effort to go to all the nurseries when the deciduous Azaleas were blooming this year, so I could smell and find the most fragrant. Plants pass genetics, so some are more genetically fragrant than others that are supposed to be fragrant - so best time to choose is peak bloom time.

    Plants that stink! (in a good way)

    Azalea Luteum (Luteum means yellow in latin - Very Fragrant)
    Washington State Centennial Azalea
    Mt. St. Helens Azalea
    Exbury Azalea
    Rhododendron arborescens . . Sweet Azalea
    Rhododendron alabamense . . Alabama Azalea
    Rhododendron austrinum

    All the Daphne's! (Downside - Short lived due to a virus, Poisonous, Fussy - don't like to be moved)
    Just bought a Russian Daphne (Daphne Caucasica) supposed to bloom through summer, it is so far!

    Michelia figo - Banana Shrub, Port Wine Magnolia (I can't find one here)
    Chimonanthus praecox - Fragrant Wintersweet Calycanthaceae

    Sweet Tea Olive - Osmanthus (readily available)
    Osmanthus burkwoodii (Wonderfull hedge! - Not very common, but should be!)


    Nicotiana - Fragrant Tobacco

    Some common Fragrant Hostas
    Hosta Culitvar 'Guacomle'
    Hosta Cultivar 'Fragrant Bouquet'
    Hosta Cultivar 'Royal Standard'
    Hosta Cultivar 'Honeybells'
    Hosta Cultivar 'Sugar and Cream'
    Hosta Cultivar 'So Sweet'
    Hosta Cultivar 'Aphrodite'
    Hosta Cultivar 'Hoosier Harmony'
    Hosta Cultivar 'Fried Bananas'
    Hosta 'Plantaginea'

    Star Jasmine (fairly hardy)

    Most Oriental Lilies

    Some Mock Oranges (buy when in bloom to get maximum smell)

    Lilacs (of course!) Miss Kim, Korean lilac, Standard oldies

    Gardenia 'Chuck Hayes - Oregon Gardenia' (Double Flowering)
    Gardenia 'Kleims Hardy' (Single flowering)

    I really like wooly thyme (seems to waft)

    Passion Vines


    Some Wisteria (buy when blooming - plant far away from your house foundation)

    Viola Odorata

    Favorite right now is: Voodoo (Beautiful colors and fragrant)

  • buyorsell888
    16 years ago

    Yes, bboy, I know there are more Muscaris but by far, armeniacum is the most common.

  • hemnancy
    16 years ago

    There are some fragrant Muscari like Golden Fragrance, and M. ambrosiacum- I have this one, it smells great but doesn't spread rapidly like M. armeniacum.

  • spring_chicken
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    There's some great recommendations there. Thanks everyone.

    HostaGuy mentions that wisteria needs to be planted away from the foundation. How far? I would love it on the corner of my porch, about 6 feet from my foundation. Far enough to pull that off?

    Thanks again everyone! - Paul

  • Embothrium
    16 years ago

    Wisterias are kept in line with twice yearly pruning. That is how wisteria trees are maintained, likewise one trained onto a structure can be kept small if kept up with. They flower on spurs, as do orchard apple trees. Pruning back of new growth in summer to control habit does not interfere with flowering.

  • puppy3
    16 years ago

    "Wisterias are kept in line with twice yearly pruning" BBoy, I agree with this to a point. I had wisteria growing over my arbor for about 9yrs. Then I got so sick of pruning it at least once weekly so visitors could get to the front door it had to come down. Yes, I do miss the beautiful blooms just not the pruning;) Laurie

  • hemnancy
    16 years ago

    I used to have a Wisteria planted by my deck and it tried to take over the deck every year, so I dug it up and moved it to a place by itself in the lawn, held up by a metal T-stake. It still tries to act like an octopus but I chop off the excess growth. I think it actually blooms better now.

  • buyorsell888
    16 years ago

    I found a 'Summer Ice' Daphne at Shortys on Mill Plain in Vancouver yesterday for $14.99 in case anyone else wants this fragrant long blooming Daphne.

  • nwkrys
    16 years ago

    I have a two year old Clematis Rubromarginata with a lovely fragarance that fills my back yard each morning. This is not a traditional large flowered variety but with small leaves and white/magenta colored flowers. It covers an ugly fence with foilage and the charming subtle flowers. Has a long summer bloom period too. Much more fragarant than Betty Corning or Olgae.

  • tallclover
    14 years ago

    Fragrance is such an added dimension to any garden. I listed my favorites for the Pacific Northwest Zone 8 below.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Planting Perfume and Memories: Fragrant plants you won't soon forget.

  • luxrosa
    8 years ago

    The Incense Rose = Rosa primula has small bright yellow flowers but it is the foliage that give it a WOW factor.
    I was sitting on a bench at a nursery and I wondered if a Buddhist temple was located near by, for there was a strong scent of incense wafting around me. I looked around and saw that on either side of the bench were two pots of Rosa primula.
    It has attractive foliage that is highly scented.


  • princessgrace79
    8 years ago

    I have star jasmine growing in a wine barrel up the front of my house and it smells amazing right now! the bloom also lasts a few weeks and is evergreen. I've had the plant for 7 years and I don't know how long it was there before we bought the house but its fairly old, and its lived just fine here in z8

  • oliveoyl3
    8 years ago

    I would add that currently Oriental lily 'Stargazer' & tall garden phlox are a lovely combination in our side yard.

    It took me a few days to figure out the lilies were the source of the fabulous additional fragrance as I walked past the phlox. I had forgotten where I placed the large pot of them after we moved last summer.

  • Karchita
    8 years ago

    Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) Light and lovely scent that fills my yard in January and February.

  • CathyJ
    8 years ago

    Clerodendrum trichotomum, actually a small tree or shrub. Currently in bloom, heavenly fragrance all over our half-acre back yard.

  • daphnexduck
    8 years ago

    I have a Daphne odora marginata that I planted maybe 20 years ago even though the experts say Daphnes are short-lived and difficult. (My name is Daphne so I had to have one!) It is planted on the west side of my house and now gets very little sun since the pear tree above it has grown so much. I have watered very little the last few years and it is still quite healthy. (I read somewhere that Daphnes die more from overwatering than anything else.) I usually pick a few blooms to bring in the house and they will scent the whole room.

    Some bearded iris are very fragrant. A friend let me pick a beautiful bouquet of them for my house, and the following day my living room was full of the loveliest, light scent. It took me a while to figure out that the iris were scented, as I had never heard of this before.

    The iris growers don't care about fragrance, so they don't make mention of it in catalogs. (I got this info from one of the owners of a huge iris nursery. He seemed annoyed that I wads bothering him with a question about fragrance !!!) You'll have to find iris in bloom iin the spring and sniff yourself or get recommendations from other gardeners. Make a note of the variety and then order that type for the following year.

    I also have a scented camellia (pale pink). The tag said 'fragrant' so I bought it even though I was very sceptical. Since I love camellias, I thought I'd give it a try since I knew I would like the plant, scented or not. I planted it several years ago next to my front steps where it didn't get much sun until it got tall, but now it is over 8' and had a ton of blooms last year. The scent is only noticeable outside when the temperature is warm, but then it is lovely.

  • cedar_wa
    8 years ago

    One of my favorites is Phlomis fruiticosa. Got a cutting from the Abundant Life garden when they were still in Port Townsend. The flowers waft fragrance in the evening and up close during the day or in an arrangement. Kids like to suck the nectar from the flowers. The original plant grew to about 3 foot high by 4 foot. They root very easily. The original plant and cuttings at a school garden have survived temps to 10 degrees and perhaps lower.