strongest lemon scented plants?

mojo777(6 PA)March 21, 2010

This question is for those who have FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE with plants like lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon or orange thyme, etc. There's plenty of hearsay already about these plants, so I think it would be most valuable if we hear from those who actually have gardens containing these plants.

Which "lemon" plants have the strongest scent? Are there any that put out a lemony (or other citrus) scent in the garden without having to be stirred up or crushed?

Any info on lemon-scented herbs, grasses, shrubs, flowers or any other plant will be appreciated.

It would be very helpful to hear from those who have tons of lemon balm or lemon thyme on their property. Does quantity help produce scent?

Thanks in advance for your reports.

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I grew lemon balm and lemon basil in my herb garden last year and they were both terrific. The lemon balm would sometimes waft a bit, but if brushed would give off a very delightful lemony scent. Great for lemon cookies and jams too! The lemon basil we used in cooking, especially curries and sometimes sauces. I didn't think it was the greatest thing I've ever grown, but it was a neat novelty. No wafting from that plant, and it had to be crushed to smell the lemon scent. I haven't tried lemongrass yet, and all the lemon thyme I've found has been unimpressive scent-wise to me.

The strongest "lemon-like" scent in my garden is happening right now--my daphne odora is blooming, and is the most powerfully scented herbaceous living thing I've ever smelled. It reminds me of lemon Pledge, but more pure somehow...without the chemical cleaner, I suppose. It is really outstanding, and God help me if this plant ever dies, because I wouldn't want to end a winter season without it.

I also grew lemon eucalyptus while I lived in Florida...fantastic scent there too when the leaves are bruised, and the scent would sometimes also waft in the breeze. And of course there are citronella plants and scented geraniums that work great as annuals. Whether any of these plants keep mosquitoes away, I don't certainly seemed that way to me, but I didn't make a study of it.

There are plenty of other plants I'm forgetting...and of course if you like lemon scent then you should really just buy a potted lemon tree! I have two limes that are happy as can be in pots, and produce well too. Lemons aren't much more finicky and I'd say they trump all other plants for that true lemon scent/taste. =) Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 11:54AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

To get lots of lemony fragrance without touching the plant, you'll need to focus on flowers. There are some Magnolia grandiflora cultivars that are very lemony. 'Little Gem' comes to mind immediately. Reminds me of lemon meringue....lemon with a touch of vanilla in it.

mbuckmaster is sure right about daphne, though! Yummy.

I can't help but wonder why you're on the search for lemon scented plants, though!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 6:27AM
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agree about magnolias as having lemon undertones.
another one that is quite strong with lemon scent is winter honeysuckle, lonicera fragrantissima, a shrub rather than vine. i even like the bluish tint of the foliage.
been flowering here since january and still going. the bees visit it on the warmer days so a good winter food source for them.

Here is a link that might be useful: winter honeysuckle

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 11:12AM
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Haven't noticed the lemony scent to my winter honeysuckle, Jeff...although it does smell terrific regardless of "lemonness." But I've noticed some variability among different shrubs, so no doubt the scent can be more so than others.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 12:30PM
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Lemon grass isn't all that strong.
Lemon verbena is great, but you have to crush the leaves to release the smell- I put a handfull in my pocket every time I walk by the plant.
Lemon thyme- not all that much. Must step on to release.
Lemon eukalyptus- my mama has this and it's wonderful! I like it even better than lemon verbena. It's more lemony. But again, must be crushed.
Geranium is ok. More tart and geraniumy than lemony, even the ones that are supposed to be lemony.
Daphne odora smells like Fruit Loops to me. Love it, but more sweet than lemon.
Little Gem doesn't remind me of lemon.
But now that you say it, the winter honeysuckle does send that lemony fragrance through the garden from December through March!

How many times can I use the word lemony in one post? LOL.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 5:26PM
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My friend use to have a large Lemon Eucalyptus tree that smelled so good, when you walked up her sidewalk I could smell lemon all the time... it's a pleasant lemon scent

What are the names for Lemon Eucalyptus?
Citron-Scent Gum, Corymbia Citriodora, Eucalyptus Citriodora, Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, Lemon Scented Gum, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, OLE, P-menthane Diol, P-menthane-3,8-diol, Para-menthane-3,8-diol, PMD, Quwenling, Spotted Gum, Wild Eucalyptus Citriodora.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 6:43PM
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My friend lives in PA, and while I was there last summer I noticed a plant that was beautiful growing in her backyard all to itself with gorgeous blue flowers on it.
It smelled like lemons!
So strong, I asked her what it was, she said hyssop.
Never heard of it, she bought it at Russels nursery.
I hope it comes back again this year and I can see it when I visit her again.
Might be available at a nusery.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 1:47AM
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Living in Australia its native habitat, Lemon Eucalyptus is actually the weakest of the lemon scented trees.
There are far better varieties to try.
Backhousia citriodora. Lemon Mytrle. This tree in summer permeates a lemonade aroma which is delicious. Edible flowers and leaves as well.
Leptospermum Petersonii. Lemon tea tree, again edible flowers and leaves, the scent of this is so strong it actually 'blinds' mosquitos sense of smell, and masks our own BO.
Acronychia acidula. Lemon Aspen, can be quite heady and again is edible this time the berries, which are slightly like lemon zest to taste.
These three trees leave the old Lemon scented gum for dead fragrance wise when it comes to quality of aroma and quantity.
Also there has been a fairly recent classification (possibly Eucalyptus Ollida) of a new tree here called a strawberry gum, though some people say its a corymbia not a Eucalypt.
Found in the Gibraltor Ranges it gives off an extremely moreish strong strawberry scent.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 10:53PM
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Boronia! Short-lived, but the yellow form is beautiful and lemony.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 4:16AM
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My favorite is Lemon Verbena (root hardy to zone 7 if mulched and favorably positioned).

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 10:25AM
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You are right about the "odora"!!

I was scared to plant mine because I had once read somewhere that they can all of a sudden die without notice. Well guess what, mine did ths winter. I just ripped it out of the ground and the stump near the ground had rotted out! I am so upset. These things are soooo expensive..

Is there a trick to keeping them alive for as long as possible in my climate up here in Mass?

I want another one so bad, but afraid to spend the money just to see it die 3 years down the road again..:-(

I also love the Lemon Balm!!! They can be very fragrant at certain times of the day!

I also have a pine tree, and for the life of me I can't think of it. But if you scrathc the bark, wowowow, you get a lemony scent. It gives off this scent especially on a very warm day.

Great thread and thank you..


    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 8:22AM
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Cancel the hyssop.
I just got back from PA and the hyssop died over the winter.
It's not hardy there, or they had a really bad winter this year.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 10:42PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

I am not sure if all lavenders smells like this, but the ones I encountered (I think its an English lavender?) and the one I bought called Pink Perfume, has scented foliage. Its very strong and reminds me a lot of preserved lemons. Thought I should mention it.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 10:47PM
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I took cuttings of my daphne just in case...they are expensive, and die without warning. The cuttings are tough to take also, though...I didn't have any root. Siting daphne odora on an east facing wall with good drainage and 2 hours of morning sun tops has worked well for me so far.

Now that I have written this it will be dead in two weeks!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 4:14PM
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