Are there culture methods to maximize scents?

eukofiosMay 14, 2006

There are several scented plants in my yard - lavender, rosemary, scented geraniums, mints, basil, eucalyptus.

They all grow great, but some dont have much scent. In fact, the scented geraniums seemed stronger at the nursery than they do at home.

I was wondering if there are methods to maximize the scents that these produce? Since most seem like mediterranian or dry climate plants, does keeping them drier enhance scent or just stress the plants?

I read that the scented geraniums like epson salts. True?

Is alkaline soil more likely to improve scent? Does using a poor soil improve scent, or just limit growth?

I checked the prior postings; forgive me if this topic has been discussed and I didnt find it.

(It might be too much for one post, but I was wondering the same about scented flowers - are there techniques to increase the fragrance of, say, roses, lilacs, others)

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jview(Z7a NY)

I too would like to learn this secret, if there is one. I do know that fruits and vegetables grown on certain soils are testless. Maybe the same is true for fragrance. And the weather and even the time of day can influense fragrance. Some plants when indoors will perfume a whole room but will scarcely be notcable outdoors. Some days our noses are less sensitive than others, as for example when we are a bit stuffed up by pollen etc. and perhaps not even aware of it. But like you, I would like how to get the most out of what I have. Jerry

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 11:44AM
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I haven't heard of any magic bullets!

Most Mediterranean herbs like alkaline soils (extra calcium) and not a lot of fertilizing; plus hot, dry sun to bring out the scents.

The scented pelargoniums and eucalypts come from similar climates, and also like it hot and dry.

Many other scented flowering plants from the tropics need it to be warm, very humid, and not too sunny to smell their best.

There's a lot of variation from plant to plant, even of the same species, and even from year to year -- my Munstead lavender was so underwellming last summer I nearly dug it up, but it's better this year.

Recreating the conditions it naturally flowers under in its native habitat, sun, water and soil, seems to be the only common principle.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 2:48PM
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Thanks for the comments.

Since most commercial growers have to concentrate on sales and production, I do wonder if some of the scent has been 'bred out' of many plants (like roses, some of which are beautiful and have almost no fragrance), due to efforts to increase bloom, or improve ease of growing, or increase flower size and color choices. Maybe some of my effort needs to go into older varieties.

Thinking about the question, I wondered if I should post in herb forum, since most of these would be considered herbs. So I did. I'll continue to watch for comments in fragrance forum as well, since there are likely different people watching these forums, with different types of experiences.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 4:26PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I can't comment on your plants. But, with roses, the experts say that often a rose will not attain its best fragrance until it is 3 or 4 years old. The time of day and the weather can influence the output. And, some of us just can't smell certain fragrances. Tea rose fragrance is almost undetectible to many, including me.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 8:09AM
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I have read that planting garlic aroung roses enhances their smell and also deters pests. Trying it for the first time this year. Will post any sucesses.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 7:48PM
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