Fragrant Southern Flowers for Your Garden
Our Southern gardens are oases of gorgeous blossoms and heady fragrances. When in bloom, plants’ sweet scents are borne up on the wind and suffuse the landscape with delicate drifting perfumes. It doesn’t take long to become utterly enchanted by a blooming garden. Walk underneath a wisteria arch, breathe deeply near a rose bush, and sit beneath a magnolia heavy with blossom—it’s all bound to make you swoon.
If you’re looking to add a few sweetly scented blooms to your garden this season, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve dipped into The New Southern Living Garden Book in order to compile a starter list of the most fragrant blooming plants that thrive in South. These are our favorites; some are flowers, while others are blooming trees or shrubs, but all of them are sweeter than our favorite colognes.
Add These Sweet-Smelling Blooms to Your Garden
We love wisteria. The gorgeous, dripping blossoms of this fragrant climbing vine form clusters of blooms ranging in hue from the lightest of lilacs to the deepest of purples. The fresh, sweet scent emitted by wisteria also ranges from delicate to swoon-inducing.
Learn more about wisteria.
The tiny size of tea olive blooms belies the heady fragrance they give off. Also known as sweet olive, this evergreen shrub is easy to grow and a good pick for hedges and foundation plantings. The deeply fragrant flowers, which vary in hue from orange to yellow to cream, bloom in the spring and throughout the year.
Learn more about tea olive.
A quintessential Southern blossom, magnolia trees burst into fragrant bloom in spring and summer. Some, like Magnolia grandiflora, have creamy white petals, while certain hybrids (such as Magnolia × soulangiana) have petals in varying shades of pink and purple.
Learn more about magnolia.
With their showy, fragrant blooms, lilies are gorgeous additions to any Southern garden. Hybrid lilies of the Oriental group (we like the fuchsia hue of the hybrid lily Lilium 'Stargazer') will add an irresistible perfume to your garden.
Learn more about lilies.
Many species of viburnum bloom out with fragrant flowers. Try Bodnant viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense) for perfume-filled pink blooms that appear in winter or Burkwood viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii) for extremely fragrant white flowers that bloom in late winter or early spring.
Learn more about viburnum.
While this plant is technically a vine, its fragrant, tubular blossoms are some of the sweetest smelling blooms in our Southern gardens. Lonicera x brownii has bright red flowers, while other selections have peach, yellow, and magenta blossoms.
Learn more about honeysuckle.
These spring bulbs bloom out in fragrant flowers and can be found in varied hues, from white and pale pink to light blue and deep purple. There are two forms of Hyacinthus orientalis: the Dutch form and the Roman form.
Learn more about hyacinth.
The sweet, delicate scent of this plant, which is filled with pinwheel-shaped flowers in spring and summer and can act as ground cover or as a climbing vine, makes it a favorite flowering plant for Southern gardens.
Learn more about jasmine.
The most classic—and arguably the best-loved—fragranced bloom is, of course, the rose. Species that will thrive in Southern gardens and are also reliably fragrant include shrubs such as 'Tess of the D’Urbervilles,' 'Heritage,' 'Yellow Brick Road,' and 'Jude the Obscure;' climbers including 'Don Juan,' 'Autumn Sunset,' and 'Polka;' and hybrid tea roses like 'Mister Lincoln,' 'Fragrant Cloud,' and 'Neptune.'
Learn more about roses.