Searching for scent in zone 5

VeryVee(toronto)April 27, 2005

Hi Everyone!

I'm new to Gardenweb... and gardening in general.

I've always loved fragrant flowers and now that i have a bit of a yard am really excited to grow some of them.

Any suggestions on fragrant plants to grow in a 5b zone ?

I've tried searching through this forum and come up with lots of stuff just not sure what's going to survive in my zone.

Would love to hear some personal experience from anyone who's dealt with zone 5 conditions ...



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
risingpower1(Essex, UK)

I think loniceras, most magnolias, chimonanthus, philadelphus, azaras, cardiocrinums, clethra alnifolia, lily of the valley, daphnes, viburnums, and trachelospermum should survive in your zone.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 5:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks RisingPower !
I'd never heard of azaras, cardiocrinums or clethra alnifolia before!
Honeysuckle, daphne, and viburnum are on my Ultimate Wishlist, though i always thought Trachelospermum out of my range ...i would love a jasmine or jasmine smell-alike.
What I've got right now though is a west facing yard with a big old maple tree on it.I've been thinking of threading honeysuckle through the fence and using lily of the valley, irises and sweet violets as groundcover under the tree i'm gonna need a LOT of them though !!!
HAha ... i guess my real question is what are some good ideas for fragrant groundcover in part shade under a tree?
So far these are the ideas i've come up with ...
Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Mignonette (Reseda odorata)
Iris (Iris graminea, I. pallida variegata)
Sweet violet (Viola odorata)
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)
Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)
Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)
Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata)
Catmint (Nepeta grandiflora, Nepeta siberica)
Double-flowered Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile 'Flore Pleno')
I think the chamomile might need more sun than i got, and these are plant ideas i got through combing the web, I just don't know how feasible it is in reality...

If anyone knows ...let me know!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 7:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
risingpower1(Essex, UK)

I think you'll find most of those not to be that fragrant, maybe try some hostas like plantaginea or guacamole, lily of the valley and the sweet violets are the only ones I can recommend from there. Agastaches and a few others of those are only fragrant if brushed up against quite hard.

With the cardiocrinum giganteum it only flowers once every 4 years from a flowering size bulb but it is very fragrant. Loniceras will provide a lot of fragrance but be wary of the climbing varieties, they tend to get out of control.

I think the best plants for that area would be clethras and hostas, maybe put a few foxgloves in there for a bit of colour.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 7:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Are there any nurseries/garden centers nearby that you can visit? Botanic gardens? You've got some good choices for partly shady groundcovers, but if you throw them all together your garden space will look, well, thrown-together.

It's good to see plants personally, and even smell 'em, before you drop $ on a bunch of plants, especially your first year.

Alternatively, head to the nearest book store and check out a book on fragrant plants or perennials and look for some ideas there as well, then come on back to the forum and get the inside dirt!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 1:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Hyacinths are fabulous in the early spring. I love lilacs, but they get way too big for the spot your talking about.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 1:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You could try some of the Lillium family, Black Dragon is a favorite, they have a pervasive fragrance and are very hardy (L. rubrum also). Most of the trumpet lillies have a good fragrance, are hardy in your zone, and take up little space (although some can get quite tall!). My only problem comes from deer (they love lillies). If you have a sunny spot they could work for you - first year so-so, second year much better, third year WOW!

Bloom time depends on species but could be June and July.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 11:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wpooh(z6a Mo.)

Sweet Williams grow like wildfire under my maple tree in Missouri and they swell sooooo sweet.Hyacinths do too!Then of course I have my daffodils planted there also which are surrounded by grape hyacinths.My Hostas help to keep the folage pretty all Summer. Bleeding hearts and Lillies with 4 Trinity plants,Solomon's Seal for Seasonal color.But be careful...those Maple trees put out a thick mat of tiny roots close to the surface of the soil that makes the Perennials dificult to break through!! I am thinking about sinking some perennials in pots so the Maple tree roots won't crowd it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sweet Williams in May

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 9:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why not sweetshrub, Calycanthus occidentalis?
You can try White Ginger as an annual, unless you dig the roots in late autumn.

Here is a link that might be useful: sweetshrub

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 11:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greencook(Z 5 E Colo)

I'd recommend Corsican mint as a steppable ground cover. It has a very strong mint fragrance when touched, and is very hardy. I've usually seen it in herb specialty nurseries. Cardiocrinum lillies are wonderful, but do take some special care. You'd need good deep loamy soil, protection from slug and snails - and about four years before the bulb would get to blooming size. Then your "mother" bulb will give up the ghost, but produce small bulbils at the base. A stand of blooming Cardiocrinum giganteum is fantastic though.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 6:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone for the great advice!
I've been discovering maple trees are hard to deal with... *sigh*!
I'll be going around to the nurseries soon, now that i have lots to check out :)
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 8:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

We grew masses of lily of the valley under a maple tree back in my old home in zone 5. Nothing is going to grow right up close to the trunk part. I don't know about under maples, but mint is extremely adaptable and hardy. I have seen hostas growing under maples but I personally have no experience with them.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 3:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

Sweet Autumn Clematis. Mine perfumes my yard and two of my neighbor's yards for 2-3 weeks in Late summer/early autumn.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 9:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JudithInNY(zone 5-6, NY)

Hi There,

I'm in the same basic zone as you, and have a passion for fragrant plants. Here's what I've found, in my own garden, so far:

Loniceras don't get nearly as out of control in this zone as they do in warmer climates. Have no fear of them. I have several different varieties and they are far more well behaved than Wisterias.

Wisterias are worth having, simply because the fragrance of some of the varieties is just pure heaven. There are some varieties that are less exuberant in their growth, but they are also less fragrant. Try growing a few of the exuberant varieties up your maple tree. I also recommend having a tree surgeon come in, if possible, and take off many of the lower branches of the tree, so that more sunlight can penetrate underneath.

Sweet Woodruff is delightful stuff. It is fragrant in my yard and is one of the more respectful of the groundcovers-- it doesn't get too tall or strangle out other plants. It also looks good even when not in flower, and is much easier to control than just about any other ground cover I've got.

Lily of the Valley is indeed fragrant when in bloom. Just don't get too much of it. It isn't as kind to other plants as Sweet Woodruff. There are different varieties, including one with pink flowers and one with variegated leaves, which can add some variety to your collection.

The few varieties of Hosta that have fragrant flowers are really, REALLY fragrant. I buy every new fragrant one that comes along (in my price range, that is).

Lilacs are absolutely essential. If space is limited, you have many options. You can try the dwarf varieties, you can prune them into interesting standards, you can espalier them, etc. I wouldn't want to be without them.

Many of the familiar garden plants have a few varieties that are fragrant. Irises and Daylilies are two examples. Hyperion is one Daylily that you shouldn't be without in your garden. There are fragrant varieties of clematis, too, besides the ones mentioned so far. Research it.

Philadelphus (mock orange) is one of my favorites and there are dwarf forms of this as well as all the options you have with lilac bushes. I have several varieties, including two dwarf ones.

There are also the usual Roses, Lilies, perennials and annuals (like fragrant stock, lupins, various fragrant spring bulbs, and I also use a bunch of potted plants and trees that spend their summers outside and their winters in the house. Brugmansia, for example, is used in Niagara-On-The-Lake as part of their street gardens, and are either dug and overwintered, or sacrificed to the onset of winter-- but are just marvelous in the evening when the fragrance begins to waft. I have lately been watching a Poncirus "Flying Dragon" which is the hardiest of the citrus trees. It's survived two winters outside, so far. It's supposed to have the same wonderful orange blossoms/scent as I get from all my citrus trees in pots, but it hasn't bloomed yet, so I can't testify to that. The leaves smell as aromatic as any citrus leaf, when you crush them, so I have great hopes for this weird little tree.

There are oodles of other, less common plants, that I'm currently experimenting with in my garden. But this ought to give you some ideas and some avenues for researching new options.

Happy Sniffing!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 12:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sunsi(z5 NY)

There's an annual that I love to grow "flowering tobacco" and one smells like jasmine...and they attract hummingbirds too if I remember correctly:)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 5:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

The flowering tobacco is nicotania, can smell wonderful, but I discovered the modern hybrids are smaller and bred for color/looks, not scent, so you have to get the old fashioned kind, which I have only seen in seed packets. It's easy to grow, a lot like petunias, which can also smell nice, like the purple ones.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 1:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
charlene_in_iowa(5 Zone)

I agree with docmom on the Hyacinths. They smell wonderful. Though mine have already lost their bloom until next year. I also agree with wpoo on the Sweet Williams those smell great and bloom through the summer, for me, even in 1/2 day of shade. These produce quite a few seeds for me, though I think are biennial.
I also am very pleased with the smell of Four O'Clocks though they are an annual mine have reseeded nicely. This year I have lined my driveway with them to welcome me with fragrance and color when I come home. :)
I plan on using Creeping Thyme (Walk on Me Plant) for ground cover and I think this is really only frangrant when it's disturbed or walked on. I don't have a photo and didn't want to link to some one elses page. It has a nice color also.
I have also just planted honeysuckle hoping for it's fragrance and I had started with small plants so I can't say much for it's fragrance but I hear good things.
I do have Lily of the Valley's though I can't smell them unless I am down on the ground smelling them, but that's probably just me. My neighbors must think I am crazy but I hear they are fragrant.
I am also planting, this weekend, some Nicotiana and Jasmines-day and night blooming. I am sorry I can't say more about them, but I have gotten them for their promise of fragrance.
I hope that you do well in your search for fragrance because I feel there is nothing more relaxing than your own garden :)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 11:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How about petunias? don't know if that was mentioned, but they smell terrific.
Nicotiana also smells great..There's one called, Only the lonely, that grows anywhere from 4-6' tall..they are super fragrant. Pinetree Gardens sells the seed.
Stargazer Lily's, though they only bloom a short time, will scent the entire garden. Toni

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 11:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I definitely would suggest the hostas. Mine are great in august. The warmth and humidity really keep the scent in place for you. some of the azaleas are scented. This year i'm considering adding a azalea viscosium to my mix.

But i'v got to sniff it out first.

its important that you know what scent you want. I cann't stand some that have musky overtones (i'm allergic to musk)
some with things that smell 'foxy/catty' and those strange
'something-is-dead odors' all of which get put into the
fragrant list.

You'll want things that relaease their scents on their own
such as flowers to attract pollinators. things that
are scented when you brush against them or touch them, and things that will smell when you walk on them. And you will want the odors to 'mix' well.

take the time to read about perfumes-- since that is what
smalls are.

Don't forget to think about herbs. Pines/firs as well as flowering trees, mulches(cocoa shells or pinebark),and
annuals. Also some form of enclosure will help contain the scent.

some plants not mentioned already are peonies and pansies,
sweet grass, milkweeds, muscari and tulips


    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 10:43AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What is finally being evicted this year?
Anyone finally lose patience or be so disappointed...
Maggie (Vancouver, BC 8a)
Pruning Jasmium sambac
A couple of years ago, I got a cutting of a Jasminum...
Your 2015 wish list
Okay. I'm sort of ashamed to admit that I've already...
Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)
Gardenia suffering multiple ailement
Hi, I recently planted (less than 3 weeks ago) some...
Meyermike, you still out there??
Hope you are doing good, I haven't been on the forum...
Sponsored Products
Modway Identify Dining Table in White
Beyond Stores
BATH Wall Sconce by Blauet
$905.00 | Lumens
Everett Aged Brass One-Light Sconce with Opal Glossy Glass
$320.00 | Bellacor
Serena Fold-Up Wood Shower Seat
Signature Hardware
M LAMP - Wireless/Portable Lamp - Juniper Design
$220.00 | HORNE
Roll Out Trays
CliqStudios Cabinets
Cole & Co. 31" Premier Collection Lorraine Package Bella Crema with Biscuit Sink
Modern Bathroom
Linen Pillow Sham
$39.95 | FRONTGATE
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™