Varieties of Fragrant Flowers to Grow in the Southern Garden

Southern Gardens are incomplete without at least one species of the beautiful, fragrant rose.
Southern Gardens are incomplete without at least one species of the beautiful, fragrant rose. | Source

Roses are almost a must for Fragrant Southern Garden.

Choosing Fragrant Flowers to Grow in the Spring and Summer Southern Garden

There are varieties of plants that are perfect fragrant flowers to grow in the Southern garden. As you watch fireflies winking in the Southern night, inhaling the aromas from fragrant flowers found in the Southern garden is the perfect endings to tranquil, Southern spring and summer evenings.

So many wonderfully fragrant flowers fill the Southern spring and summer air with heavenly scents literally wafting on breezes from the southern gardens or fields nearby. Every breath is a discovery of a new fragrance or a whiff of a familiar scent, as welcome as a visit from an old friend. Often, the combination of fragrances trigger memories - some sweet, some happy, some sad.

If you enjoy floral fragrances and would like to bring some of them to your garden, the following are a few suggestions of flowering plants to add to your Southern garden or any garden where the climate and the soil are conducive to the blooms:


Roses. The rose is sure to come to mind immediately when thinking of fragrant Southern flowers. It is one of the most easily identifiable fragrances. It’s delicate scent is the base of many of the most popular perfumes, although the scent is just as popular as a stand alone fragrance.

Roses are also popular as an essential oil for use in cosmetics, both because of its scent and because of its healing properties. Some petals and other parts of the plant are edible.

Unlike what many may believe, roses are not difficult to grow and you should not let intimidation prevent you from adding this deliciously soft fragrance to your garden.

When choosing a rose, however, be sure that it is not only a pleasing color, but also that it actually has a fragrance. Some of the roses today do not. Choose damask, Bourbon, or China varieties or do research and ask your local nurseryman for recommendations so that you don't end up with one of the varieties that are scentless.


Magnolia trees are prolific in the South. The scent is memorable.
Magnolia trees are prolific in the South. The scent is memorable. | Source
The hyacinth has a fragrance so intense and memorable, just looking at the photo evokes the aroma.
The hyacinth has a fragrance so intense and memorable, just looking at the photo evokes the aroma. | Source
Hyacinths add fragrance and a variety of colors to the Southern garden.
Hyacinths add fragrance and a variety of colors to the Southern garden. | Source
Purple Petunia
Purple Petunia | Source

Magnolia Trees. The South is not the South without the magnificent magnolia tree. It just happens to be the state flower for Louisiana and Mississippi. It is everywhere in the Southern states. The flower is huge, usually creamy white (you can find it in red, purple or yellow) with a softly sweet fragrance. Although the tree grows slowly, its beauty and its fragrance are worth the wait.

Really do your homework when deciding which type of magnolia tree is best suited for your garden. Consult a good nursery or garden book to find a type that you like and plant it in a partially sunny to sunny spot.



Hyacinths. Hyacinths, a personal favorite because of their intense fragrance, are extremely easy to grow. Plant the bulbs in the fall and be rewarded with purple, white, orange, yellow or pink blooms with a lingering scent that is unmistakable and a feast for the senses. The flowers look beautiful and scream spring when they bloom alongside daffodils and crocuses. You can also grow them in containers.

When brought indoors, the fragrance of these delicately petaled flowers will infuse the room with its aroma like no artificial room freshener can.


Viburnum. There are many species of viburnum that are wonderful additions to the Southern garden. The flowers can be white, cream or pink. The fragrances are mildly sweet. Work with a knowledgeable nursery or consult a good garden book to choose the variety that is best suited to your southern garden and your eyes and nose.



Verbenas. Verbenas are another easy to grow plant for your garden or your container garden. The plant is fairly drought tolerant and will bloom in summer and early fall. Planting along retaining walls can add interest and a very pleasing citrusy fragrance to the spot.



Petunias. Petunias are undoubtably the most prolific fragrant flower in the Southern gardens. In fact, it is one of the most popular annuals. Their popularity is due to their hardiness, easily blooming through the summer, and because they come in such a variety of colors, anywhere from deepest purple to purest white and a myriad of beautiful variegated colors in-between.

The petunia's fragrance is not particularly strong, but it is definitely distinctive and adds subtle, underlying, slightly pungent aroma as it mingles with the other stronger fragrances in the southern air.

Some of the New Wave varieties of petunias developed in the recent years create spectacular borders and hanging baskets as they literally form a brilliant wave of color. Grow them from seeds or from purchased plants. Simply choose your favorite colors and enjoy.


The tea olive. You can barely see the flower, but the scent is not as reticent.
The tea olive. You can barely see the flower, but the scent is not as reticent. | Source
The scent of the gardenia is heady and intoxicating.
The scent of the gardenia is heady and intoxicating. | Source
Lilacs present as  beautiful clusters of soft fragrance.
Lilacs present as beautiful clusters of soft fragrance. | Source
Just a few honeysuckle flowers can create intense fragrance.
Just a few honeysuckle flowers can create intense fragrance. | Source

Tea Olives. The tea olive is ideal for hedges and plant screens. Surrounded by large, dark, waxy, pointed leaves, the fragrant little flowers are generally creamy white but can be deep yellow and orange. The fragrance of the tea olive is hard to pin down, but has been compared to the peach or jasmine. The plant is moderately drought tolerant and likes sun to medium shade. The variety of tea olive will determine the height.


Night-Blooming Jasmine. The intense fragrance of the night-blooming jasmine is a wonderful addition to the garden. It can also be grown indoors. Many gardeners strategically plant the night-blooming jasmine under windows or near the patios or decks so that the fragrance can be enjoyed on summer evenings. The scent is heady and blends well with the warm, sometimes heavy Southern air. It’s a scent that evokes strong memories for Southerners.


Gardenias. The scent of the gardenia is almost palpable and envelopes you with its sultry, sensuous, heady fragrance, so heady that for some, it can be overpowering. The fragrance is found as an ingredient in many perfumes and can be found as the sole fragrance of the perfume. Elizabeth Taylor's Gardenia is a perfect example of the fragrance of the gardenia a the solitary fragrance.

The gardenia is grown as a lone bush, but can also make a an astounding hedge of the most delicious, fragrant waxy white or cream colored flowers. The dwarf size gardenia is well suited for containers on the terrace or patio and will grow steadily, needing repotting after a few year. When well watered, it is relatively easy to maintain and any gardener will be rewarded with a fragrance that is not easily forgotten as you sip your morning coffee or enjoy you evening glass of mint julep.


Lilacs. Lilacs do not fare well in the deep South because of their affinity for the cold, but Southern states like Virginia and Maryland present excellent growing conditions for them. The fragrance from the lilac is often used alone as perfume, it is so distinctive and pleasant. They grow well in sunny, dry spots. A suggested planting spot, if at all possible, would near a window. I woke up to and read books to the deliciously, delicate scent of that pale purple flower every spring and early summer and the memories of those days will last a lifetime.


Wisteria and honeysuckle grow prolifically in the South and they both smell divine. With its purple clusters hanging heavy like grapes and its vines twisting and clambering over anything it can find, wisteria is also a beautiful spring blooming plant.

Honeysuckles on the other hand, are small yellow flowers on a vine that also likes to climb along fences, over dead or live trees and over rocks. In other words, it grows wildly over just about everything. The nectar is sweet to the taste (when you master the art of getting to it) and the scent is unmistakable, often found in perfumes and lotions.

Both wisteria and honeysuckle can be bought at nurseries. However, you must be very careful if you decide to add either to your garden. Without diligent oversight, they can become uncontrollable and extremely difficult to get rid of, with roots that may sometimes damage pipes.

These are just a few of the fragrant flowers that can be grown in most Southern gardens. Your favorite scents may be among the list here or there may be others that were not included. Fragrance is so personal, be sure to explore the scents before you decide to plant. For example, some gardeners are not particularly fond of the intensity of the gardenia’s fragrance, others may feel it's the closest thing to what heaven may smell like.

Even if you don't live in the South, many of the same fragrant flowers grow elsewhere in the country. Don’t be afraid to add a variety of fragrant flowers to your Southern garden, choosing plants not only by the scents but also by the blooming schedules. With that in mind you can enjoy delightful and memorable scents from Southern fragrant flowers from early spring until the first frost.

Source

What is the name of your favorite fragrant flower growing in your part of the world? Are any of the fragrant flowers grown in the Southern garden on your list? Leave your answer in the comment box below.

Planting Zones in the US - Updated 2012

Most of the flowers in this article grow in the yellow to orange planting zones on the map.
Most of the flowers in this article grow in the yellow to orange planting zones on the map. | Source

Copyright May 6, 2014: Cynthia Turner. Article cannot be reproduced or copied without permission of the author.

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Comments - Leave the name of your favorite scented flower or plant. 59 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Interestingly they all grow here in the northwest as well, but I'll bet they grow much better in the south where the weather is warmer. Beautiful pictures.


prestonandkate profile image

prestonandkate 2 years ago from the Midwest

Great information as we are looking to expand some landscaping this year. We need some more color, and your hub was very helpful as we browse some blooms!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

I love all of these, but over here in England my favorite flower and smell has to be sweet Peas, they are so gorgeous. about 7 in the evening in the summer they suddenly send out the most amazing scent to flows all through my house, as I have them on my balcony, who needs artificial scents when we have these glorious flowers? great hub cyndi, voted up and shared, nell


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Yay! What fun! Glad that I could offer a little help. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Nell, Thanks so much for reading, sharing and leaving a comment. Sweet peas sound delicious. They are available here, but to be honest, I can't remember smelling them. I will look for them in the nursery. You have me curious about their fragrance. Take care.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Cyndi hank you so much for this floral review, was educational for me at least


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago

Beautiful and awesome! I particularly love night blooming jasmine, honeysuckle and -- my favorite -- wisteria. I would love a wisteria vine but I live in a complex and it's just too big to plant. Beautiful hub, perfect while I sit here sipping tea and enjoying my little screen porch garden, loving the springtime!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Frank, Thanks for reading. Have a powerfully creative day!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

I agree with you, night blooming jasmine is heavenly, but then so is honeysuckle and wisteria. In fact, I love them all. I absolutely love spring and summer air. People talk about a riot of colors, well I adore a riot of fragrances. Thanks so much for leaving a comment.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Cyndi, simply stunning! I love gardenias, I had a couple of the indoors variety, but sadly I managed to kill them off. Your climate in the South supports some of the world's most beautiful species of plants, it must be an incredible place to live. Great hub, loved all the images.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi, Thanks so much for reading. The heat and humidity are just what these plants love. Gardenias are wonderful! I have a potted dwarf on my deck and one planted in the front of the house. I can't wait until they blooms. The fragrance can't get much more intoxicating than a gardenia. Take care!


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 2 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

These are beautiful flowers Cyndi10 and thanks for all the great information. Unfortunately, these beautiful flowers are not easily grown in England without a hothouse


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

How beautiful! Hyacinths are my favorite, too. Such magnificent beauty is so transient, yet revisits us every spring and summer. Your photos are breathtaking. :-)


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello CMHypno, The climate here in the South is certainly like a hothouse in the summer and makes growing these flowers somewhat easy, some easier than others. They are all so fragrant in the spring and summer air. Thank so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. Take care.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Genna, I'm so glad you enjoyed the piece and the photos. Yes, the hyacinths don't last very long, but that fragrance is so intense, you just don't forget it. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Oh what a wonderful array of flowers - I am so happy the spring season is here! :) Your photos and text combine wonderfully.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Christy, I so glad you enjoyed the hub. I'm happy spring is here also, but with this weekend's weather, the only way you know it is because of all the flowers in bloom:-) The fragrances are awesome! Thanks so much for stopping by.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

I wish lilacs could grow in Houston. The beauty and fragrance is wonderful. Fortunately we have many other things that do grow well and we have blooms of one sort or another year round in this moderate climate. Beautiful hub!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Peggy W,

I agree with you, lilacs are wonderful. Some of my best childhood memories are of early summer days sitting in the backyard near the lilac bush reading. The fragrance was awesome.

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Beautiful flowers with such great fragrances. I like all of these flowers and the photos are incredible.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello DDE, Thanks for leaving such a positive comment!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

This makes me covetous of the lilac! They are wonderful!


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

This lovely selection of fragrant flowers includes many of my favorites. I do regret that we seem to be a little too far south for lilacs to do well...they are my all-time favorite! But we make up for it by growing roses, wisteria, and many of the other flowers you mentioned. I always bring in a seasonal bouquet to enjoy on my dining table, too!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 2 years ago from Western NC

Love this list. I have many of these growing in my garden near Asheville. :) I hope your garden is the most gorgeous one on the block. :)


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Cyndi, I'm sure your garden is lovely. Asheville has such a wonderful climate for growing gorgeous flowers. We have had such hot, dry weather here for the past few years, that keeping a garden has been difficult. This past winter and the summer seem to be more favorable Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment. Take care.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Stephanie, I love lilacs as well, but the climate here is too warm. Some of my favorite memories involve the fragrance of lilacs. They always say summer and seemingly endless possibilities.

I appreciate your comment. Take care.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes, Audrey, I agree that lilacs are wonderful. They don't seem to like the climate here, unfortunately, but gardenias are everywhere here and their fragrance is intoxicating. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I appreciate that. Take care.


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 2 years ago from Lagos

Wow, you have a gathering of super-fine flowers that I am at loss as to which to choose. From the video, I think the Roses look sweet. Can I get one please? :)


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Wouldn't it be lovely to spread the roses around? I have a weakness for fragrances, so of course I have to love flowers. We have such a huge variety to choose from.

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.


susi10 profile image

susi10 2 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

Wow, what a beautiful Hub! The flowers you mentioned are so pretty to look at but they have such a lovely scent too! I love this list and will bookmark it. Shared and voted beautiful.


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

I love petunias and lilacs! and your hub has such nice pictures.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

My personal favorite are Sweet Peas, though I love lavender too. The latter grows extremely well here and they are a wonderful source of pollen for the bees. I love your images, who could possibly resist that pink rose:)


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi Susi10, I'm so glad you enjoyed the Hub. The fragrances are wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on the hub. I appreciate that you shared it with your followers.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello DealForALiving, Those a both lovely fragrances and such delicate flowers. Lilacs will always remind me of my teen years when everything seemed possible and time was endless. Ah, nostalgia.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. Have a great eventing.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 2 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks for leaving your comment sallybea. The Sweet Pea and lavender are both so powerful yet soft fragrances. They are both wonderful.

Have a wonderful week.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 23 months ago

Cyndi, I love the collection of flowers you chose, but I miss the Hollyhock, my grandma planted in rows like rows of corn and I would walk through them and look up at the beautiful blossoms and humming birds honey bee and butterflies gathering the nectar, maybe you could add it to this hub. You do have my favorite here the Rose.

Voted up, UABI and shared

Blessings and Hugs to you

Shyron


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 23 months ago from Georgia Author

Hello Shyron, Ah yes, the hollyhock. So many Southern gardens have hollyhock growing there. My aunt had a terrific garden with hollyhock as a part of it. Thanks for the suggestion. I appreciate the vote and the sharing.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 22 months ago from California

Beautiful and fun!! And some of my favorites are here!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 22 months ago from Georgia Author

Hi Audrey, Thanks for stopping by to read. I'm ready for those flowers now! Take care.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

I spent some time in Louisiana once, and one of my memories of it was how fragrant it was there. Your sense of smell is almost attacked when you first arrive there. :) Nice resource here. Most of these would not do well here in western Washington....a couple, yes.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 19 months ago from Georgia Author

Hello Billy, I've yet to get to Louisiana, but I can imagine the smells there.

Thanks for taking a look.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 19 months ago

Cyndi, I am back to share this again, I love flowers and your collection is beautiful.

I learn so much from you.

Have a blessed weekend.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

We share a few of these flowers with you here in California, but I would love to visit the South in the spring and smell some of these wonderful blooms. I will avoid the southern summer, however. Great hub!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 19 months ago from Georgia Author

Hi Sharon, Thank you so much. You are welcome back anytime.

Enjoy the day!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 19 months ago from Georgia Author

Hi Mel, You are so right to avoid the Southern heat and humidity although literature loves to describe it. But the spring is absolutely wonderful. Glad you are able to enjoy some of the flowers out your way.

Take care.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 19 months ago from Orlando Florida

I have some ross. I plan to hit the garden center in the next few days (if I can tear myself away from the computer) and you have given me some good ideas of what to buy. I live in Orlando FL. Voted up++


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 19 months ago from Georgia Author

Roses are so lovely. I know you will enjoy them. By the way, I was in your lovely city a few weeks ago. I had a wonderful time.

Thanks for leaving a comment.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 16 months ago from California

I love flowers! With the drought in California--we just aren't growing them this year


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 14 months ago from Georgia Author

Hi Audrey,

I apologize for the lateness of my reply. Thank you for reading about growing fragrant flowers.

I think about all of you in California who are missing out on growing flowers without going through lots of trouble. I hope your drought is ended soon. Take care.


Rachel L Alba profile image

Rachel L Alba 13 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

Hi Cynthia, What gorgeous pictures. The most fragrant flower I have growing in my yard are the lilac bushes I have. I just love those flowers. I have a new bush that hasn't produced any flowers yet, but when it does, it's supposed to make white lilacs and they are supposed to last most of the summer. I can't wait to see them. Thank you for sharing all of the beautiful pictures of flowers and all the information.

Blessings to you.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 13 months ago from Georgia Author

Hi Rachel, Thank you so much for your kind, positive comments. Yes, lilacs are so wonderful. My teen memories of spring are connected to the lilac bushes that were in our yard. One was outside my room and the fragrance will be with me always.

I hope you have good luck with your new bush.

Take care.


Rabadi profile image

Rabadi 13 months ago from New York

I can smell the flowers now :) great hub follow me for some helpful hubs.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 13 months ago from Georgia Author

Hi Rabadi, Glad I could paint an olfactory picture. :) You have an easier time of growing lilacs in New York than we do in the South. It's just too warm, but I love the fragrance. Thanks for leaving a comment.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 11 months ago from New Delhi, India

Beautiful hub and very informative!

I love to grow flowers but can do so only in earthen pots in my balcony. Rose in different colours and Jasmine are my favourite. But I love the brightness of Marigold in this season.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful hub full of information about flower gardening.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 11 months ago from Georgia Author

Thank you so much for taking a look. Of course, the smell of a rose is one of the most identifiable of all flowers, I think. Even though I have a yard, I still do a lot of container flowers. They make the deck look pretty; without them it looks very bare. Thankfully, there are many flowers, like the marigold, that have a fragrance.

Take care.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 10 months ago from America

I love gardenias and roses. Most of the flowers in your hub will not grow here. I tried to bring home cuttings from my mother rose and get it started here. I got it growing, it even bloomed. The next winter it died. Enjoyed your hub.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 10 months ago from Georgia Author

Hi, Thanks for taking the time read and comment on growing fragrant flowers. Yes, the group is finicky. The lilac and certain varieties of roses may do well where you live. In fact, the lilac does not necessarily grow well this far south.

Take care.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 7 months ago from the short journey

A favorite? Oh me….ummmm…..hmmmm. How about loving them all? :)

Am looking at putting some gardenias in a new border bed but there are mixed reviews on whether they can take full sun. I'll have to do more research but if the idea works the fragrance will amazing.


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 6 months ago from Georgia Author

I have seen gardenias thriving in full sun in Georgia and I've seen them used in borders. The gardenias I have are the dwarf variety and I have one in a planter on the deck which gets 80% sun and the other is in the front yard which gets about 90% sun. They are both thriving with not a lot of work. In fact the gardenia in the front seems to want to take over the azalea that it's planted next to.

If you decide to use the gardenia as a border, as you say, that fragrance will be amazing!

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