A patio is a perfect place to grow scented plants because it’s a spot you’re sure to sit for long enough to really appreciate the fragrance.
To get the most out of your perfumed patio, you’ll want to use a variety of plants with a long or nearly continuous bloom, or those that bloom in succession throughout the season so there’s always something scented the air. Go one step further by adding in a few plants that are especially fragrant at twilight and into the night.
Where to begin?
- Clad fences and walls with climbers so you’ll have fragrance that swirls around you.
- Build beds with medium sized shrubs and perennials that bloom in sequence for a custom fragrance mix throughout the season (such as roses + butterfly bush + mock orange).
- Line paths or edge decks and patios with smaller shrubs or a swath of lavender or rosemary that will release fragrance as you brush by.
- And finally, fill a few pots with fragrant topiary or standards such as gardenia or lantana.
There are plenty of really great plants that are ideal for scenting a patio. Here are just a few of our favorites.(Check out this post for other plants that might work in your zone. Not sure of your zone? Map here.)
Red buds and cranberry-violet flowers deliver a spectacular display while perfuming the summer garden. Blooms over a month earlier than others, and often well into fall. Twining stems up to 12 ft. long. Partial to full sun. Zone: 4 – 9
Intensely fragrant, this is a perennial lavender for colder climates. Doesn’t die back in the winter and tolerates summer’s humidity, too. On a warm summer day, pet it as you stroll by to suffuse the air with rich scent. Up to 3 ft. tall and wide. Full sun. Zone: 5 – 8
Cover a fence or add a seasonal privacy screen with this tall shrub that’s decorated with maroon-to-reddish-brown flowers with a sweet banana-strawberry fragrance that come on mid-season. Up to 8 ft. tall and wide. Partial shade to full sun. Zone: 5 – 9
Border phlox has one of the most evocative of all evening perfumes. Butterflies drop in for a drink during the day, but it puts on its most perfumed performance in the evening to attract pollinating moths. Plant in groups of 5 or more. Partial to full sun. Zone: 4 – 8
During the heat of the day, wrap your patio in classic lilac fragrance–but for months instead of weeks! Blooms in spring, then again mid-summer through fall. Good choice to fill a corner. Up to 6 ft. tall and wide. Full sun. Zone: 3 – 7
The finest perfumes are a blend of essences. Add a hint of spicy clove to your sweet-scented border with 2-inch wide double, pink and white striped blooms. Use under taller shrubs, to surround a deck, or in pots, too! Partial to full sun. Zone: 5 – 9
When foxgloves have finished, add spiky floral form to beds of roses with this unexpected, compact shrub. Profuse, fragrant, white flower spikes attracts butterflies all summer long. Partial to full sun. Up to 3 ft. tall and wide. Zone: 4 – 9
Honeysuckle is pretty much fragrant from dawn to dusk, but it really does it thing in the evening having been warmed up by the heat of the day. Use alone or let it twine through climbing roses. Twining stems up to 15 ft. long. Partial to full sun. Zone: 4 – 9
Lots of butterfly bushes to choose from, but this one’s compact form makes an ideal border or container plant. Same pollinator-magnet, just scaled down. Blooms summer until frost. Up to 30 in. tall and wide. Full sun. Zone: 5 – 10.
There’s no mistaking the violet scent of a sweet iris. It’s a popular basenote in many fine fragrances, and in the garden it adds an earthy, almost watery note that’s magic with herbals such as rosemary. This variety has striking foliage, too. Partial to full sun. Zone: 4 – 9