Distinctive smells evoke positive emotions in us and lift our spirits. Freshly baked bread, the scent of cut grass, the delicate fragrance of jasmine…
Before the spring comes and your garden is brightened up by colourful blooms, there’s still time to make the most of the delicious perfumes that you can introduce to your home.
Many houseplants provide floral perfumes that are beautifully aromatic, a refreshing welcome home as you step in your front door.
One of the most delightful flowers for fragrance is Hyacinthus (hyacinth). Once in bloom, impressive flower spikes adorned with signature star-shaped flowers will fill your house with a sweet lavender-like scent. From the cheery yellow of ‘Yellow Queen’ to the deep violet of the ‘Miss Saigon’ variety, their bold burst of colour compliments the pleasant scent to brighten up any room.
For more of a subtle scent, Hippeastrum (amaryllis) will be the best for you. ‘Apple Blossom’ has remarkable pink-tinted white flowers, accompanied by a soft aroma. ‘Minerva’ offers beautifully shaped blooms with unique red and white striped petals, lending a mild fragrance.
Narcissus papyraceous (paper-white daffodils) are a sign of early spring, with a wonderfully spicy scent that will fill your home for weeks.
You’ll need to buy hyacinth bulbs labelled ‘prepared’ – this means they have been chilled to mimic the conditions of winter, so when planted inside, they think spring has come early and burst into bloom.
Jasmine are classic climbers recognised by their fresh fragrance. The glossy leaves and snowy white flowers of Stephanotis floribunda (Madagascar jasmine) and the star-shaped Jasminum polyanthum (many-flowered jasmine) are intensely fragrant.
The strong scent of jasmine becomes particularly pronounced at night, so it’s a fantastic choice to place in the room in which you relax and unwind during the evenings.
Jasmine are evergreen shrubs that need well-lit homes, but shade from the direct sunlight in summer, making them a fine choice for the conservatory.
Shaping jasmine into hoops, training it to cover a wall, or mounting an obelisk is a great option for a big impact. I suggest moving these plants outdoors in the milder months to add extra ornamentation outdoors.
The aesthetics of the rose are hard to beat, so rose lookalike scented flowers is a win-win. Primula (primrose) are cheery rose-like flowers that are available in a technicolour-dream-coat of colours, complimenting their long-lasting, delicate fragrance.
These hardy plants like a sunny spot, so a bright windowsill is ideal. Be mindful of the temperature of the room as they do best in moderate to cool temperatures.
Much loved for its fragrance is Gardenia jasminoides (cape jasmine). The glossy dark green foliage contrasted with the pure white flowers is a strong choice with a strong scent. The sweet-smelling aroma will be your reward for caring for this fussy favourite.
Preferring an even temperature, Gardenias should be kept away from drafts all year round, so placing them on windowsills means they can get cold overnight. However, they do need at least half a day of direct light in winter, so you need to strike the perfect balance with your positioning.
To keep them looking their best, water with either rainwater or cooled boiled water, this is because Gardenias are known to dislike the high mineral content of tap water.
With care, these plants will reward you with their perfumed blooms, and opting for a mixture of the varieties means your home will be full of luscious fragrances.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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