Fragrance in a dim room

BlakeInCanadaApril 19, 2011

I've been trying to find a plant that has a fragrance that will grow in a dim/dark room. I keep my bedroom windows blocked with thick curtains, although in the day it still gets about as bright as it is outside just before dawn.

I realize some plants are only fragrant because of the flowers, and without sun, there would be no flowers. I've found some that are classed as "full shade", but I don't know if that means "outdoors always in shadow but still in the reflected daylight" or if they mean "will grow in a closed drawer".

These are the few I've found:

Calycanthus floridus - "full shade"

Eucharis amazonica - "dense shade"

Galium odoratum - "full shade", the foliage is fragrant

Sansevieria - "full shade", not sure if scent is in flower or foliage

Does anyone have these and know if they would grow in my bedroom? Or have other suggestions that would work?

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

With the exception of the Sansevieria, you've listed plants that are grown outside. The differences between the inside and outside environment are many, and light is only one of the factors that are important to plants.

The Sansevieria (snake plant, mother-in-law-s tongue) flower spikes do have a very loud fragrance but they rarely flower inside. Mine does on a regular basis, but it is grown in a very sunny window. This is a plant that is known to tolerate very low light, but will perform best with good light. I don't think that most people have ever even seen their flowers.

Realistically, I can't think of a plant that will fulfill your needs, other than something on a very temporary basis.

Hopefully, others will come up with something that can grow and bloom in very low light. Sounds like you might be getting about 50 foot candles in the room. Or less.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 1:58PM
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I'm attaching a picture of the room in the daytime on a bright but not sunny day. I was hoping to put something on the nightstand. But since it doesn't seem possible, I am considering something small for the window sill behind the curtain. I wouldn't be able to see the plant, but I might be able to smell it. I have about 6 inches width from the North facing window.

I found some other fragrant plants that like shade (not that any of them will work, but others might be interested).

Cimicfuga - can get pretty tall
Convallaria (lily of the valley)
Hoya lacunosa/carnosa
Sarcococca ruscifolia - kind of a big bush for outdoors

And then there are ones with fragrant foliage that might not even need to flower so may not need sunlight?
Salvia - spathacea and clevelandii have sweet scents
Ribes viburnifolium - currant

I wish I could smell them to see how strong and if I'd even like them. I don't even know where I'd find any of these if they do work. Then there's the problem with them only blooming for a month or so, so maybe scented foliage is the way to go.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 8:10AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The lack of light in that room presents quite a challenge, that's for sure. Even shade loving plants (especially those that are intended to grow outside) need sunlight, if not direct sunlight. That includes those grown primarily for foliage. All but one of the plants in your recent list are outdoor, herbaceous perennials.

The Hoya is a species that is commonly grown inside, but require some very good light in order to produce blooms. You'll get differing opinions as to the fragrance. I had a very large one (Hoya carnosa) until fairly recently. It bloomed pretty heavily for about 9 months out of the year, year after year. To me, it was a heavy, cloying, sort of chocolaty aroma became pretty intolerable for much of the time. It would be covered by 60 or 70 blooms at one time! I tried to give it away, but my 'victim' wouldn't take it unless he paid for it, lol. A lot of people like the smell, though.

Have you thought of other, alternative sources of scents? I like those natural scented oil and reed diffusers, for example. They seem to have a very gentle aroma, at least the ones that I've been around. I love a good linen spray, too, as long as it's made with natural botanical oils.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 11:39AM
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I think I'm going to give up on it. I wanted originally to find a decorative bromeliad that had a scent, and then loosened my preferences until I would take anything. Now it seems like there's nothing that will work.

Thanks rhizo for letting me bounce ideas off of.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 9:17AM
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