A Scented Pot

A scented plant introduces an extra element to an arrangement of house plants. Place a scented plant carefully, either on its own or as part of a group, so that you can enjoy its fragrance to the full.

Choosing a position

Warmth draws out the more subtle scents of plants and flowers, so a sunny windowsill is a good spot for the lighter scented plants such as herbs or violets. Other indoor plants can give off a strong, heady scent that will be immediately noticeable. These include bulbs like hyacinth, Lily-of-the-Valley, narcissus and many lilies. Wherever you place these, the perfume of the flowers will be widely enjoyed. A coffee table is a good spot for any scented flowers, but don’t use them on a dining table as their strong fragrance may overpower the more subtle aroma of the food.

Most plants will put up with a less than ideal spot for a few weeks. So even if you have a dark hall, it could be used.A Scented Pot

In the garden

Use scented pots outdoors, particularly in areas close to the house where they will give pleasure to visitors and bring sweet smells wafting indoors. Grow climbers around doorways and windows, fixing them on trellis or wires to the wall. Plant old-fashioned roses, honeysuckle, and jasmine, and include some scented plants among the long flowering annuals in tubs. Add lilies or a honey-smelling Buddleia to a pot containing a shrub. With some planning it is possible to provide wonderful fragrance outdoors around the year. Herbs grown for their aromatic leaves will add a subtle scent to a plant group.

Include at least one scented plant in a sunroom or conservatory. Let a Chinese, Common White or Madagascar Jasmine climb around the walls or grow exotic lilies in pots. In this way relaxing in the sun will be enhanced by a wonderful background perfume. If you have room, add a citrus tree which will always create interest with its sweet smelling flowers and ripening fruit appearing on the tree at the same time.

Adding subtle scent

When scented plants are not available there are other ways to introduce fragrance. Add a small bowl of pot-pourri to a plant arrangement or include some crushed dried herbs in a pot. Warmth will bring out the aroma.

Use cut flowers like roses, honeysuckle, Sweet Peas, pinks and carnations and group with green plants.

Containers to consider

To create a strong impact, grow a number of spring bulbs in one container, making sure they are varieties that will all flower at the same time. Alternatively, you could grow the bulbs in separate pots and then group the pots together. In this way you can mix varieties at will and remove any plants that have finished flowering.

The exotic climbing plants will need training. Jasmines can be grown against a trellis, or around wire or cane hoops. If you want a natural look, use a rustic basket and train the stems casually around the handle. Alternatively, you can put the plant in a hanging basket and let it trail attractively in a window.

Ceramic pots that echo the flower colour will provide emphasis, or use a terracotta container for a country style. This is especially effective with herbs which always look right in simple containers.

Any container can be adapted to flatter a plant. Just use your imagination! Fragrant plants for outdoors.


  • Narcissus
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Hyacinth
  • Violets
  • Wallflowers
  • Mexican Orange Blossom, Choisya ternata A shrub with highly scented white flower clusters. Grow it in a large container.
  • Daphne A shrub which needs a large container and has strong scented flowers in early spring. D. mezereum has reddish purple flowers, ‘Alba’ has white flowers and D. odora `Aureomarginata’ has pink flowers.


  • Lilies Lilium auratum has white flowers with yellow or deep crimson spots or rays; L. pyrenaicum has yellow flowers.
  • Common White Jasmine, Jasminium officinale A twining plant with starry white flowers to grow up a wall.
  • Honeysuckle Climbing forms include
  • Lonicera periclymenum and L. americana. L. syringantha is a shrub with pale lilac flowers.
  • Old-fashioned roses
  • Petunias

Night-scented Stock

  • Sweet William
  • Pinks and carnations
  • Sweet Peas
  • Mock Orange Philadelphus microphyllus A bushy shrub with small white star-shaped flowers.
  • Flowering Tobacco
  • Wisteria W. floribunda and W. venusta are both fragrant.


  • Wintersweet is a large shrub with strongly scented waxy yellow flowers.
  • Mahonia japonica has large holly-like leaves and pale yellow lily-of-the-valley scented flower spikes.
  • Viburnum bodnan tense is a shrub with pink tinged buds that turn to clusters of white flowers.

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