Plants you can't stand the smell of

mehearty(So ME z5a)May 27, 2011

No matter how unpopular your opinion might be. =D

Miss Kim Lilac - She's about ready to bloom and promises to put on a good show this year. Too bad she's planted by the front door, because everytime I go out to the porch, all I can smell is melting plastic funk. It's a good thing you're pretty, Kim.

David Phlox - Cannot stand the smell, and I'm not sure why. It just smells like weeds to me. Strong weeds. Wet weeds. David, you stink!

That's all I can think of right now. Please share yours.

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newbiehavinfun(7a - Southern NJ)

Hmmm...paperwhites come to mind. They smell a bit like, well, garbage.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 7:02PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

LOL! They do!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 7:08PM
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oceanna(7 WWA)

Great question!

Geraniums. I have always hated that smell. Last year I had them in pots up my stairs in the front. PU every time I used those stairs! Today I put peonies in those pots.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 7:57PM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

My new David Austin rose Glamis castle. It smells like a diaper fresh out of the package! Not a dirty diaper mind you. Just a diaper.
Had I known I'm not sure I would have ordered it!
Also hate the smell and look of marigolds. Blech!
What a fun thread this is!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 8:46PM
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cziga(Zone 5 -Toronto)

I love this idea for a thread :)

I have Phlox "David" and don't smell anything ... I guess I'm lucky!!

Aside from Bishop's Weed which smells awful to me, we have quite a few of the plain purple/blue Bachelor's Buttons that grow in one of our beds every Spring and try to take over. As I'm pulling out the strays, I find that they smell awful and the "sap" irritates the skin as well. I could live without those!

Here is a link that might be useful: Mad Dogs and Englishmen

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 9:04PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

Copper Canyon Daisy. it intensifys when wet. I like the plant so well, that I am willing to put up with the smell.

Here is a link that might be useful: Copper Canyon Daisy

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 9:37PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

I started seeds of Phuopsis this year (thanks to CMK!) and I can't believe how skunky it smells. I've admired it in Annette's pictures for quite some time but I can't smell through the computer!

I really don't like the smell of oriental lilies. I'm allergic to them, but besides that they are just too powerful a smell for me. Not a fan of lilac which is sort of up that alley. Too bad NH's flower is the purple lilac!

Then there's Persicaria polymorpha. My first year with this I kept thinking I had mice in my little shed because whenever I was near it I was sure I was smelling mouse urine, or mouse bedding, etc....then I realized it was the flowers on the persicaria. Terrible!

And lastly, I purchased a peony 'Coral Charm' a number of years ago. I am not one to go sticking my nose in flowers and giving a good whiff, but when the flowers opened they were absolutely gorgous and something drew me in to take a nice, long sniff. Oh, it was the worst smell I've smelled in a long time. I almost gagged. I can't even remember what it smelled like, and I assure you I'll never do that again.

I don't know that I've ever noticed a smell on my 'David' phlox. I have a mass of them so I would think it would waft a bit. Again I normally don't go around sticking my nose into things with my allergies.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:11PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Paperwhites are nauseating.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:16PM
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trovesoftrilliums(5)

Our old house had night blooming jasmine right by our bedroom window which was ok in small doses, but soon became sickening. We needed to keep the windows open for a coastal breeze during most of the year (o the days of living in SoCal when we didn't need use an AC).

Never did like the smell of lantana.

And, I really should have known better, but I cut a bouquet of Allium Purple Sensation and I wondered how they smelled...ugh. Not oniony though, just ah, poopy. Now that I think of it though, I wonder if that was from the milorganite that I put down to try to deter deer! Ops!

My single Moonstone Peony smelled wonderful though. Also a white rhodo I planted last fall, which I never knew rhodos smelled good.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:07PM
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Calamity_J(z7bc)

I remember there used to be a shrub, cedar looking bush, at the school I was at as a kido...it smelled like cat pee, and I used to think that some of the boys were peeing in it!!!ha!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:58AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

Marigolds, some salvias, and the elderberries that we planted all around the outside perimiter of our yard...absolutely sickening when in full bloom.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 1:45AM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

calamity, what you are thinking of is boxwood, and yes it does smell like cat pee.. its usually grown becuase its a good clipped hedge bush.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 5:59AM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

Cimicifuga - no wonder it's called bugbane.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:33AM
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totallyconfused

The annual blackeyed susan vine, bleeding heart leaves and petunias. I always seem to have "smell issues", so I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Strangely, I don't mind marigolds, which many seem to hate.

Totally Confused

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:43AM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Squirejohn, I've heard others talk about the stink of cimicifuga. Weird thing is, mine smells just like sweet autumn clematis, sweet and delicious. I guess I must have lucked out on the smell-factor with my particular plant.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 8:07AM
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wren_garden(zone 5b/6)

Sea Holly, the smell attracted flies, that will give you a perfect sense of what it smells like. Innocently I planted it in front of the house near the steps to the porch. What a greeting as you approached the door. It took me two years to get rid of it completely.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 8:20AM
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schoolhouse_gw

Crown Imperials - I can smell those even before the bloom opens, kind of like a skunk smell. Not horrible, but not pleasant either. Also, Cat's Whiskers (can't remember the proper name for them just now).

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 8:39AM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

OMG I love these responses! Some of them have me in stitches. I'm taking note of what never to plant. =D

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:39AM
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honorbiltkit

These responses must be quite idiosyncratic, like loving or hating the taste of cilantro.

I have to hold my breath when weeding around catmint, but I like the leaf smells of marigold, lantana, and pelargonium.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:45AM
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luckygal(3b)

I have an acute sense of smell altho there are no plants in my garden that I dislike. I find some lilies to be too strong to have indoors. I was given a mixed bouquet from the florist and removed the lilies and put them in an unoccupied guest room. They permeated the room but I didn't have to live with them close-up. Some of the lilies in my garden are also strongly scented but I don't cut them. In fact I don't bother cutting a lot of flowers, mostly just wild ones or irises.

I really dislike the smell of paperwhites. Only tried them once indoors and had to throw them out.

As kids we used to walk by a patch of skunk cabbage on our way to the park - it smells like it's name.

There was a business in town that landscaped with junipers which smelled like cat urine. Yuck. They've since changed it so it must have bothered a few people.

I'm not crazy about the scent of some geranium leaves but in the garden they don't bother me. I don't mind marigolds altho wouldn't cut them for the house. I love the scent of petunias - last year I planted a lot and it permeated my entire garden.

The perception of smell is quite individual. Scent is closely associated with memory. It can also be influenced by a deficiency of zinc.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:15PM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

"The perception of smell is quite individual. Scent is closely associated with memory. It can also be influenced by a deficiency of zinc."

Ah-ha...so if I make sure a certain older relative gets more zinc in her diet, she'll quit wearing so much perfume that I want to puke?

Sorry, couldn't resist...

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:28PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

some spireas and the dreaded (here) bradford pear smell like wet dog.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 3:05PM
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Merilia(8 PNW)

Bradford pears are the worst! They smell like rotting fish to me. None of the other plants people have mentioned smell bad to me, but then again I also like the smell of compost, so I bet I'm not the best judge about these things.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 4:05PM
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rafor

Yes paperwhites!!! 25 years ago, before I was a gardener, all I kept hearing about was forcing paperwhites in the winter and that they smelled so great. Well not to me. After they bloomed I kept wondering what was stinking up the house. Finally figured it was the paperwhites and I banished them out into the snow in Chicago.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 4:27PM
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jaynine

I highly dislike the smell (and taste!) of Cilantro. Yuck. Also don't much care for the scent of Tansy or Wormwood, but I think the worst for me is Easter Lilies.~'Scent is closely associated with memory.'~They remind me of funerals.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 6:18PM
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dawiff(z7 WA)

Boxwood! It's bad enough being near one, but when I get into the area in the nursery where they are all clustered together, it's enough to make me gag. The foliage on deadly nightshade is also really bad. Gotta pull that weed when it's real small.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 6:26PM
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polly929

Ferns and lemon balm. My entire property was overgrown with them when we purchased it. The first year I pulled out so much but also inadvertently pulled out poison ivy with it. Not sure if I hate the smell or it's association with a head to toe rash. But I'm still battling ferns and lemon balm, and they still make me gag.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 6:26PM
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tressa(SECA)

Desert marigold...nauseating - had to let it die. Also lantana, mexican sage and a few other sages. Problem is - I have to plant things that the rabbits won't eat....they hate all of the above too!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 6:30PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Funny, I love the smell of boxwood dawiff ;-)

Ewwww...I must agree about the Bugbane/Actaea/Cimicifuga. It smelled like garbage to me while my mom thought the bloom (at least first year) smelled nice.

-schoolhouse, first year with the Crown Imperials and I kept walking around the garden trying to find out what was making that smell, LOL. I don't mind the 'skunk-y' smell very much though. Good thing since my Hyssopus officinalis also smells like a skunk!

The plant that takes the cake as far as bad smell was the Corydalis heterocarpa I started from seed last year. You know when you walk by one of those nail salons in the mall and get a big breath of that noxious chemical smell?? Well the folaige on this plant was similar to that, or acetone nail polish remover. It was amazing I didn't vomit on that poor plant...LOL.
CMK

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 10:50PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

LOL, I warned everyone about Phuopsis, I said it can give off a musk-like odor. It seldomly does in my garden, most of the time I can't detect it.
I don't think I have anything in the garden that really offends my nose. I pretty much love all the different scents that waft through the air, especially at dusk.
My garden is full of scent late spring/early summer. I also have an Azalea that has a musky scent, I find scent is such a personal thing.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:32PM
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soxxxx

I like just a quick whiff of copper canyon daisy. After that it becomes sickening.

A terrible smell to me is the herb (weed?) epizote. Some put it in dried beans when cooking them. I would never.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:43PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I love Epazote. It has a bit of a chemically smell to it, though. My worst smelling plant is arum palestinum. It smells like ox s[]it. Really. When it first bloomed, those velvet black-purple flowers were so gorgeous I cut them and made a Japanese-style flower arrangement. Kept smelling manure in the house, but I couldn't pinpoint it. I finally took a whiff of the flower and WHOOF! it smells baaad! They are fertilized by flies. Some people say they smell like rotting meat.
I also hate the smell of Algerian ivy blooms- smells like urine.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:33AM
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lois(PA Zone 6)

I can smell the David Phlox in the summer, but I don't mind the smell. I do know that flower fragrances intensify/carry further when the air is hot and humid. The phlox blooms when our summer humidity is at its height.

I don't dislike the smell of lemon balm, but if I crush it or weed it without realizing it, I always think I found an ant hill... The citronella smell of lemon balm smells like a disturbed ant hill to me.

I am kind of undecided about the fragrance of a tree peony. It's sweetish, but lacks the "tang" that rose fragrance has. Someone once described tree peony as floral with an undernote of BO, LOL.

Maybe I have just learned to be tolerant of smells... The nearby farms all spread fresh liquid cow manure on their fields every few weeks in the spring and summer... Now that's a smell only a farmer or gardener can like!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:14AM
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doggonegardener(Wyoming, Zone 4)

Stargazer lilies stink to high heaven. I can't stand the smell. Once my husband got them for me for a birthday present and I had to love and adore them for their beauty but I HATE the way they smelled. They make me think of some sort of caustic chemical that can't possibly be good for you. I have them in the yard now and they don't offend. I can look at them and not have them stinking up my entire house. Ick!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:46PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Come to think of it there is one scent I'm not fond of, Ceanothus but I love the blue flowers so it stays:).

Annette

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 1:00PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

My David phlox has a lovely sweet smell that I look forward to and am disappointed if the deer trim the plants so they bloom late or not at all.

I started several varieties of actae from seed a few years ago and expect to have them bloom well this year. Hope the ones that survived are not the stinky ones.

Paperwhites and stargazer lilies are too aromatic for me. They give me migranes so have no place in my home or gardens.

I agree that sea holly has a horrible smell! And attracts flies, yuck! Since their first bloom I have been trying to get rid of them. That long stem root keeps them coming back.

Also not a fan of marigolds but plant a few in with the tomatoes.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 2:41PM
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schoolhouse_gw

I had to find the tag in the trash bag in order to get the other name of "Cat's Whiskers", and it is "Cleome". I knew that, just couldn't remember for the life of me. Plus, when I went on line after posting earlier to look up the name, the images of Cat's Whiskers wasn't quite what I and my friends and neighbors call Cat's Whiskers. So, here you go - Cleome is the proper name.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 4:08PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Sea holly is so pretty, so architectural, so . . . stinky! I had it in a bouquet once and I thought someone had stepped in cat poop. I can smell it from 25 feet away and am still trying to get rid of it.

That's news about persicaria polymorpha. Just got it this year, and planted it by the path :-), so we'll see what that smells like.

I like the smell of marigold - it's different, pungent, but not offensive.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 6:13PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Well, I guess I shouldn't be too sad that both varieties of sea holly that I wintersowed this year were a bust! I didn't realize it had such a nasty smell. I'll scratch that off my list.

Gottagarden, I'll be curious on your thoughts of the persicaria smell. I've heard some people say it smells very sweet. I have 2 in different areas of the yard and they both smell the same to me, stinky!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 7:50PM
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vicki7(z7 N.Ga.)

I really hate the smell of Bradford Pear trees too. I have a love/hate feeling about the aroma of peonies. Kind of sweet, but kind of like mayonnaise, ewww. Chestnut trees in bloom are really stinky too. Smells like bleach.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 11:36PM
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burwoodbelle(6-7)

My list BeeBalm,Cleomes,Catmint,Paperwhites,Clove current,and Staregazer Lilys they remind me of a funeral home.Can't stand the stuff that grows in mulch my DD calls it (Devils Horn)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 11:55PM
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kiskin (5/6 in EU)(5/6 in EU)

Such a fun thread! :)

I adore scented flowers and plants, with a few exceptions - buxus (smells of catpee, I agree) and heliotrope (too sweet for me, even nauseatingly so).

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 5:39AM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

Some of the plants sound like they would smell. lol

On a different note, a few years back we planted a Katsura tree in the backyard. Part of the appeal was the cinnamon smell that would waft through the air in fall when the leaves dropped. I've never smelled anything, and the tree is a major water diva.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 7:23AM
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lynnencfan(7b/8aNC)

very interesting thread - I have enjoyed reading everyones opinions. I have to agree about the paperwhites - had always heard how great they were to force in the house and when I finally did it I too had to get rid of them once they opened - didn't like the smell at all. All the rest of the plants/flowers just add to the garden for me and it is a delight to catch a whiff of all the different plants while working around them. Of all the ones I have in my yard lantana would be the worse but it is such a butterfly magnet I could not be without it, Fun thread :) .....

Lynne

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 9:23AM
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ianna(Z5b)

Lilac Miss Kim
Any hyacinths
allysiums

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:15AM
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susie_gardener_2007(OK 7)

I don't like the smell of lantana or petunias. And I don't hate cilantro as much as I used too, but a little bit goes a long way. We used to have a big blooming shrub that smelled like a funeral home. Sickeningly sweet.

Susie

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:53AM
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mbhoneybee63(5)

I think that cleomes smell like fresh skunk roadkill...peeuuw! I love the flower in my garden though, so I just grow it far enough away from open windows and door!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 7:46PM
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cziga(Zone 5 -Toronto)

That's funny, the comments about the Cimicfuga ... I have 2 and never noticed a smell before ... but the past couple days I have noticed an odd (and not good) scent from that area and was wondering what it was ... perhaps it is the cimicfuga after all.

I'm going out tomorrow to smell it, specifically :)

Interesting ...

Here is a link that might be useful: Mad Dogs and Englishmen

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:25PM
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gardenbear1(6 Ma.)

Lilacs of any kind and every one around me grows them

Bear

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:35PM
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sarahrock(6)

Bradford pear -- they line my street and for a few weeks every spring I get to live in my own personal hell. Blech!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:25AM
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mosswitch

The stapelia called carrion flower. It smells exactly like something dead and rotting, and when it is in bloom, you can't stand it in your house. It is a tropical. Also the voodoo lily, Dracunculus vulgaris. Stinks like a barnyard. You don't want this under your bedroom window!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 3:46PM
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