blooming garden flowers in spring

What is a flowering garden without fragrant scents? While there are plenty of flowering plants that don’t have a scent, there is no denying that a nice fragrance from the garden makes the visual appeal more memorable. Nice scents are what memories are made of — just think about how many times different scents have conjured different memories that are long gone. You can never have too many scents in your garden, however, the trick is to grow fragrant flowers that bloom during the time you want to enjoy the scent.

When it comes to fragrant flowers, shrubs are far down the priority list when compared to their herbaceous counterparts. However, it is worth mentioning that shrubs come with perks other than their ornamental value. They also provide privacy when used as hedges and are important to the ecosystem (via Leaf). Having said that, take a look at the following shrubs that will help give your garden some much-needed fragrance.

1. White forsythia

Abeliophyllum distichum flowers

White forsythia, better known as Abeliophyllum distichum, is a great choice if you are interested in spring blooms that are also fragrant. This particular shrub is mildly scented with its blooms smelling of honey and almond. This particular shrub is drought tolerant and also quite adaptable to different soils. Consider planting white forsythia in groups, preferably as background plants, (via the North Carolina State University Extension).

Bloom Season: Early Spring

USDA Growing Zone: 4-8

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Well drained

Size: 3-5 feet tall and wide

2. Sweetshrub

Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) in garden

Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) is a deciduous shrub that is popular for its sweet-smelling blooms. This plant features glossy green foliage with red flowers that come to life from late spring to summer. According to Clemson Cooperative Extension, this particular shrub produces flowers with long-lasting blooms that also make good cut flowers.

Bloom Season: Late Spring

USDA Growing Zone: 6-9

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Well drained

Size: 3-9 feet tall and 6-12 feet wide

3. Winterhazel

Corylopsis pauciflora with blue sky

Winterhazel (Corylopsis pauciflora) is a popular midsize deciduous shrub known for having fragrant pale yellow flowers that last for weeks or even months depending on the weather. The flowers give way to simple foliage arranged in an alternate fashion during summer. This shrub does well in most soils with the exception of clay, according to the University of Washington Botanical Garden.

Bloom Season: Late winter to early spring

USDA Growing Zone: 6-8

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Rich acidic well drained

Size: 4-6 feet tall and wide

4. Bloomerang® lilac

Spring lilacs Over the Fence

It goes without saying that the regular lilac bloom cycle is short, however, the Bloomerang® Lilac (Syringa) that re-blooms is the perfect alternative. The Bloomerang lilac shrub is a dwarf variety that also produces purple-pink flowers with a sweet fragrance, mentions the Missouri Botanical Garden. The colorful and sweet-smelling blooms are also attractive to butterflies.

Bloom Season: Spring and summer through fall

USDA Growing Zone: 3a-7b

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Rich slightly alkaline soil

Size: 3-4 feet tall and wide

5. Himalayan sarcococca

Honeybee on Sarcococca Confusa

Although the flowers of the Himalayan Sarcococca (Sarcococca hookeriana var. Humilis) are small, they produce a hard-to-miss vanilla scent when they bloom. The beauty of growing this evergreen shrub is that it is relatively simple to manage for a spreading plant, as stated by Washington State University. However, it is important to mention that you will need to provide this shrub with shade from the afternoon sun.

Bloom Season: Late winter to early spring

USDA Growing Zone: 6-9

Growing Conditions: Partial to full shade

Soil Type: Moist well-drained

Size: Up to 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide

6. Chinese abelia

Chinese abelia (abelia chinensis) flowers

Another noteworthy deciduous shrub that you should have in your garden is the Chines Abelia, also known as Abelia Chinesis. This particular plant is popular for its rather vibrant foliage with long-lasting blooms that also produce a nice scent. The Chines Abelia’s flowers are often tubular and have a striking white color and showy pink bracts, notes the Missouri Botanical Garden. Once established, this plant is easy to care for.

Bloom Season: Late summer to early fall

USDA Growing Zone: 4-9

Growing Conditions: Full to partial sun

Soil Type: Well-drained

Size: 5-8 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide

7. Korean spice viburnum

Spring blooming korean spice viburnum

Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) is a must-have for any garden. This beautiful deciduous shrub blooms with fragrant colorful flowers, making for a good spring display plant, according to the North Carolina State University. The flowers start as red buds that open up during spring into white flowers with a slight hint of pink on the petals. Eventually, the blooms give way to red fruits that ripen during the summer.

Bloom Season: Early to mid-spring

USDA Growing Zone: 4-7

Growing Conditions: Full to partial sun

Soil Type: Well-drained

Size: 4-6 feet tall and 4-7 feet wide

8. Summersweet

Summer Sweet bush in blossom

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) is a slow-spreading deciduous shrub with flowers known for their fragrance and tendency to bloom late into summer. It is a versatile plant that easily adapts to different conditions and is perfect for hedges while attracting birds and insects like bees and butterflies, mentions Clemson University. The flowers and foliage provide all-season interest as well.

Bloom Season: Mid to late summer

USDA Growing Zone: 3-9

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Well-drained soil

Size: 3-8 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide

9. Banana shrub

Magnolia figo ( Banana shrub )flowers

Although not related in any way to the banana plant, the Banana shrub (Magnolia figo) gets its name from the creamy flowers that produce a sweet banana scent (via the University of Florida Gardening Solutions). Other than the flowers, the foliage of this shrub is glossy green, perfect for a background plant. Once established, the banana shrub is essentially maintenance-free for the most part.

Bloom Season: Late spring to early summer

USDA Growing Zone: 8-10

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Well-drained soil

Size: 6-10 feet tall and wide

10. Sweetspire

White itea or Sweetspire flowers

Sweetspire (Itea virginica) is a compact deciduous shrub that produces cylindrical fragrant flowers. The bottle-brush-looking flowers bloom profusely covering almost the entire plant. Other than producing attractive flowers, this plant also produces fall interest since the leaves change color to shades of orange and red (via the North Carolina State University Extension). It is a great option if you are looking for a low-maintenance plant option.

Bloom Season: Summer

USDA Growing Zone: 5a-9a

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial sun

Soil Type: Moist well-drained soil

Size: 4-8 feet tall and wide

11. Mock orange

sweet mock orange white flowers

Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius) is a deciduous shrub known for its sweet-smelling rounded white flowers that take the shape of an orange, according to the University of Illinois Extension. This particular plant has a rounded growth habit with dense foliage, providing nice contrast when the flowers bloom. It is also rich in nectar, attracting pollinators to your garden.

Bloom Season: Spring, summer

USDA Growing Zone: 4-8

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial sun

Soil Type: Moist well-drained soil

Size: 10-12 feet tall and wide

12. Honeysuckle

Pink lonicera flower blooming in garden

When the sweet scent of the deciduous twining vine honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) fills the air, it’s a fine sign that summer is here. The fragrant blooms grow at the edge of their stems, allowing you to take a quick whiff easily. Although the fragrance is released all day, it is more noticeable during the night, making this shrub a good plant for your moon garden (via the North Carolina State University Extension).

Bloom Season: Spring, summer, fall

USDA Growing Zone: 5-9

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial

Soil Type: Moist well-drained

Size: 10-20 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide

13. Winter daphne

Winter Daphne (Daphne odora) in spring

Although popular for its compact variegated foliage, winter daphne (Daphne odora) also produces sweet-smelling clusters of purplish-pink flowers. The fragrant blossoms give way to fruits right after the flowers die back. Because of their rounded growth habit, this plant is great for borders and foundations, mentions the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Bloom Season: Late winter to early spring

USDA Growing Zone: 7-9

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial

Soil Type: Moist well-drained

Size: 3-4 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide

14. Black Lace® elderberry

Sambucus (Black Lace) plant

Black Lace® elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is yet another great choice for fragrance in your garden. The foliage has a peculiar scent while the blooms produce a sweet scent. Although popularly used for its ornamental value, it also produces blackberries right after the flowers die back. According to the University of Minnesota, Black Lace® elderberry can be used as a hedge while the berries can be used for creating a jam.

Bloom Season: Summer

USDA Growing Zone: 5-8

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial

Soil Type: Moist well-drained

Size: 6-8 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide

15. Sugar Shack® Buttonbush

 shot of sugar shack buttonbush

Sugar Shack® Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a deciduous shrub that is available in dwarf varieties. This particular plant provides multi-seasonal interest from spring through fall. It is known to produce fragrant white flowers when the time is right. Immediately after blooming, the white flowers morph into red seedpods that are also a delight to look at (via the University of Minnesota).

Bloom Season: Summer

USDA Growing Zone: 2-7

Growing Conditions: Full sun to partial

Soil Type: Rich moist well-drained

Size: 3-4 feet tall and wide