Grow Fragrant Perennial Flowers

Reader Contribution by Heidi Cardenas
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Based in Lake County, Illinois, Heidi Cardenas has been freelancing since 2000. She studied business administration at the College of Lake County and has a background in human resources administration. She has written for “Chicago Parent Magazine” and guest blogs for The Herb Companion, Natural Living and TribLocal. She enjoys writing on a wide range of topics, but especially gardening, natural living, and home and family eco topics, and she helps you get your green on at

Forget the sprays, perfumes and other scented products and grow unusual fragrant flowers instead. You’ll have natural aromatherapy on-hand from early summer through autumn and fresh, natural materials for potpourri, sachets and cut flowers anytime you’d like. Grow your own fresh supply of fragrant flowers this year to scent your life and use as cut flowers, for crafts, and in natural personal care treatments.

This is the time of year that a gardener’s heart and mind starts wandering, dreaming of summer skies and lush garden growth. My garden daydreams start with plans to surround my gazebo with climbing and vining flowers, and the more fragrant the flowers are, the better. There is nothing like relaxing outside surrounded by beautiful greenery, with the heady scent of fragrant flowers wafting through the air. Another wonderful benefit of fragrant flowers is the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds they attract. 

I like to cultivate perennial flowers that come back year after year, providing permanent garden installations that multiply so I can share with friends and family. I also like to grow unusual varieties and cultivars. A few unusual flowers I want to plant in my backyard this year grow from bulbs, which I think are some of the easiest kinds of perennials to plant. 

Chocolate Cosmos. Photo By Olga D. van de Veer/Courtesy Fotolia

Chocolate Cosmos

I always have plenty of annual Cosmos Bright Lights in my flower garden, but they aren’t fragrant, just pretty orange and yellow flowers on tall stems with feathery leaves. They are great fillers for cut flower bouquets and look great at the back of a flower bed. But this year I want to plant Cosmos Astrosanguineus, burgundy chocolate-scented perennial flowers that grow from bulbs. I can’t wait to sit outside on a hot summer’s evening with the scent of chocolate in the air. 


Daffodil/Narcissus Fragrant Rose 5 is a beautiful white-petal daffodil with a light pink/orange center cup that has a rose fragrance. I love daffodils and tulips, and have a yellow and orange color theme in the flower beds in the front of our house to complement our siding and brick colors, but I want to add more fragrant plants to our gardens this year. I may just squeeze in a white garden this year and use these fragrant daffodils for some late spring garden fragrance. 


Freesias are delicate-looking, fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers on long stems, native to Africa. They look like miniature lilies and smell divine. They grow from corms, similar to bulbs, which multiply readily if grown in a well-drained, loose soil. They also seed readily, making this flowering plant very easy to grow en masse year after year. Freesias are often used in wedding bouquets for their beauty, fragrance and sturdiness. I am thinking of planting several large patio boxes with them this year. 

Even if you aren’t an ambitious gardener, you can add fragrance to your home and garden. Plant large patio containers with fragrant flowers and place them at either side of your front door to greet visitors with delicious scents. Naturalize a small area around a garden bench with scented flowers to sit and relax after working in the garden. Try adding these three easy-to-grow fragrant flowering perennials to your garden and landscape this year and enjoy natural fragrance without chemicals. You’ll be happy you did, and so will your garden’s winged visitors.

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