There are many reasons people plant shrubs and bushes in their gardens, not the least of which is that they look beautiful. Shrubs can also serve the purpose of creating more privacy in the yard, blocking out yard pollution, and more! However, fragrant shrubs serve an additional purpose by bringing a beautiful scent to your yard.
Bushes and shrubs are easy to take care of, are multi-functional, and many remain in bloom longer than other types of fragrant flower plants. Sweet-smelling, colorful shrubs are the best way to enjoy your garden with all of your senses, making a stroll through the yard a genuinely immersive experience.
Whether you’re looking for drought-tolerant, long-blooming, or evergreen shrubs, there is a fragrant shrub out there for you. In this article, we’re going to talk about different shrubs for all climates and uses so you can be one step closer to the garden of your dreams. So next time you’re choosing which shrubs to put in your garden, follow our tips, and your nose!
Best Fragrant Shrubs and Bushes for a Sweet Smelling Garden
If you’re ready to give your green thumb a try and start planning a fragrant garden, our guide is a great place to start. Remember, gardening is supposed to be fun, so choose the plants that will make you happiest!
Choosing the Right Fragrant Shrubs for Your Yard
While some people might think that having too many competing scents is overwhelming, we disagree! A true fragrant shrubs connoisseur knows that variety is best. If you’re new to the world of aromatic plants, you might think that they all smell the same.
That couldn’t be further from the truth! While many shrubs and bushes give off a sweet scent, you can also find plants with fruity, herby, or event spicy scents. Aside from choosing shrubs based on your personal preference of appearance and smell, you also need to assess your yard conditions.
How much sun is there? What kind of dirt do you have? What is the climate where you live? The answers to these questions will determine which shrubs and bushes will thrive in your garden. An excellent place to start to learn the information you need about your space is to look up what USDA hardiness zone you live in and go from there.
How to Plant Fragrant Bushes
Planting shrubs and bushes isn’t as hard as it may seem! The most important part of planting is making sure you have found bushes that are suitable for your climate and the soil in your yard. Next, get your soil ready. If your shrub needs hard or even clay soil, then you need to break it up and add some manure or compost.
Before digging, make sure the spot you’ve chosen for planting has good drainage. Work the area until you have approximately one foot of healthy soil on top. Dig a hole for your shrub. You want it to be the same depth as the container your bush was in at the store, and it should be two to three times as wide as the root ball.
Remove the shrub from the container or remove the covering from the root ball. Gently lower it into the hole, being careful to remove as little original soil as possible. Fill in the area with soil and water thoroughly. To prevent weeds from growing, lay down a two to three-inch layer of mulch around the base.
How to Care for Fragrant Flowering Shrubs
Your flowering shrubs need sunlight and water to thrive, but how much of each depends on what kind of plant you have. The best way to care for your fragrant plants is to do your research on what they need. In this guide, we’ll give you an outline of what each of these sweet smelling bush and shrub plants needs and how you can keep them healthy and happy in your garden.
Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) – A Colorful Flowering Shrub for Everyone to Enjoy
This full sun to part shade shrub is easy to grow in medium, well-drained soil. It is perfect for beginner gardeners. Though it is slow-growing, it will reach a height of four to five feet tall.
Not only does this shrub have a sweet scent, but it also grows beautiful fragrant white flowers in late spring. The buds start red and then change to pink before settling into white.
The Koreanspice Viburnum is best for hardiness zones 4 to 7. To keep it looking great year-round, prune directly after flowering.
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
The Summerweet shrub, which is native to Eastern North America, does great in a variety of soil conditions. It can tolerate clay, sandy, acidic, and moist soils, though it should not dry out. For lighting, it is suitable for full sun to partial shade.
This is a shrub that looks fantastic all year round. The beautiful late summer white flowers turn to beautiful fall colors of yellow and golden brown. However, if you are looking for bird repellent, this is not the shrub for you.
Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans)
The Tea Olive evergreen is a winter-hardy shrub that is best in hardiness zones 9 to 11. Its white flowers bloom in April and, despite their name, give off an apricot scent. You need a big yard for this shrub, as it can grow up to 15 feet tall!
The green foliage also stands out due to their color and glossy oval leaves. To maintain a small size, you will have to cut off the growing tips.
Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) – A Fragrant Shrub Perfect for Ground Cover
This deciduous vine is easy for gardeners who have dry to medium, average, well-drained soil. The Japanese Honeysuckle thrives in full sun to part shade, with flowering decreasing as shade increases. It is very adaptable when it comes to soil, though it does best in moist soils.
Flowers begin to bloom in May and last until frost when they turn to black berries. The berries mature from late summer into fall. The Japanese Honeysuckle is one of the most popular types of this shrub for ground covers.
Common Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
This compact broadleaf evergreen might not be the best if you’re still getting the hang of things. It’s high maintenance but grows beautiful seasonal blooms. This may be a better option for an indoor garden but does well outdoors in the warmer months.
The Common Gardenia is most suitable to hardiness zones 8 to 11. It is most well-known for its fragrant flowers, which often grow as double flowers. When grown in the right conditions, this shrub is a show-stopper.
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora)
If you live in a cooler climate, the Winter Daphne is the perfect choice for your garden. This broadleaf evergreen has beautiful foliage and produces lovely late winter flowers. The reddish-purple blooms have an intense fragrance that will make the last days of winter more bearable.
The blooming season starts around late January and lasts until March or April, depending on where you live. The Winter Daphne is most suitable for hardiness zones 7 to 9 and does best in part shade. It is also very low-maintenance and does better if left undisturbed after planting.
Sweet Mock Orange (Philadelphus) – A Sprawling Fragrant Bush
Don’t be fooled by the name of this shrub! The Sweet Mock Orange is a sweet-smelling plant that has beautiful white flowers that are similar in shape to the orange blossom. It is a stiff shrub with arching branches that can grow up to 10 to 12 feet tall and just as wide.
This is one of our favorite fragrant bushes for growing in hardiness zones 4 to 8. To keep it thriving, make sure it is in well-drained soil that maintains medium moisture. Put it somewhere that gets full sun to light shade.
Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)
The Winter Honeysuckle, also called Sweet Breath of Spring, is one of the best fragrant flowering shrubs you can plant in your garden. It tolerates drought, erosion, dry soil and clay soil, and can even withstand proximity to black walnuts, unlike most other plants.
It has a bloom time from March to April and thrives in hardiness zones 4 to 8. However, you should not plant this bush is you live in a Midwestern state outside of Missouri, as it is listed as a noxious weed in those areas.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)
This deciduous shrub has beautiful dark purple flowers that bloom from June to September so that you can enjoy their sweet smell from early summer to early fall. They are easy to grow in average, well-drained soil, and thrive in full sun.
The Butterfly Bush doesn’t do well in wet climates but is suitable for hardiness zones 5 to 9. As the name suggests, they are perfect for attracting butterflies to your garden. However, if you live in a southern state, look out for nematodes or disease, which can cause problems.
Bloomerang Lilac (Syringa x purple lavender) – Fragrant Flowering Shrubs that Keep Blooming
This lovely bush with purple blossom grows to a height of up to 60 inches and spreads just as wide. It does best in part sun for approximately four to six hours of the day and full shade for up to four hours.
It is suitable for a large swath of the U.S., thriving in hardiness zones 3 to 7. Unlike regular lilacs, the Bloomerang Lilac blooms for months of the year, once in spring and then again starting mid-summer through fall. It is disease resistant and has a lovely rounded shape with star-like blossoms.
English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
English Lavender is a classic fragrant plant that never goes out of style. Not only does it look beautiful, but its lovely scent is good for more than your enjoyment. You can use lavender to keep mosquitoes out of your house by bringing some inside.
While humans love the smell, lots of insects can’t stand it. However, the scent does attract some bugs such as wasps, so do not try to use it as a natural wasp deterrent.
Though lavender is not technically a shrub, its bushy appearance makes it fit right in with other bushes. It prefers full sun and thrives in hardiness zones 5 to 8.
Purple-leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena)
This upright shrub stands out due to its reddish-purple foliage that lasts all through the summer. It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and gets the best leaf color and flowering results in full sun. It can tolerate most urban conditions and is suitable for hardiness zones 2 to 8.
This plant is perfect if you want to attract birds to your garden, as the small fruits that grow in July are tasty treats for your feathered friends. Unfortunately, this shrub is susceptible to disease carried by several insects, which can decrease its lifespan. To keep your Purple-leaf Sand Cherry healthy, apply our homemade aphid spray for roses.
Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica) – A Fragrant Shrub Worth the Effort
While this shrub is a bit more temperamental than others on this list, it is worth the effort! The Japanese Andromeda does best in light afternoon shade with no wind and needs organically fertile soil.
The lovely oblong leaves start off orange-bronze but turn a glossy green, which contrasts nicely against the white flowers that appear in early spring. While the white flowers stand out, you can also get cultivars of this shrub with deep rose or pink flowers.
Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia x candida)
Angel’s Trumpet gets its name from its lovely, dropping bell-shaped flowers. At maturity, it can reach between 5 to 10 feet tall, with flowers reaching up to 12 inches! The white, pink, or yellow flowers bloom from mid-summer through to fall with a strong scent emanating in the evenings.
This shrub is perfect for hardiness zones 8 to 10, and you can plant them in large containers, greenhouses, or in the ground. However, they don’t do well in frost, so they require lifting before the first frost. Once moved, they require little watering.
Designing your garden might take a little bit of research, but the effort you put in will be more than worth it! With the sweet-smelling bushes we’ve listed on this guide, your yard will not only please your eyes but your nose, as well. Once you’ve decided which shrubs are your favorite, planting and maintaining your garden will be a breeze.
If you learned about which fragrant shrubs are perfect for your garden, then share this planting guide with your friends and family online!