Small Fragrant Tree

mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))August 15, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I' like to ask help to choose a small and a pleasantly fragrant - this is important! - tree for a relative small place.
I looked for information on the net, I fount the following trees:

Chionanthus virginicus
Pteroyrax Hispida
maackia amurensis ( really smells freshly cut grass? )
staphylea colchica

My zone is 7a-7b, 8a in a sheltered position, but the space in questin is zone 7, with lot of sun,with dappled shede from 3-4 pm.
Our winters and summers are nowadays quite extereme. There are often suddenly 10-15 Celsius warming or cooling both in winter and summer. The summers are often dry with high temperatures (35-40 celsius), but surprisingly this summer was quite rainy.

I don't have any experience with these trees. (I'v never seen them already)

I welcome all ideas, thank you all help!

(Sorry, if my engish is poor, hope you understand)

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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Hello! Your English is great! :)

I'm not familiar with the trees on your list. Maybe others will chime in but I'm throwing in Clerodendrum trichotomum which blooms in late summer and has a jasmine like fragrance from the white blooms.
I've read the foliage can have an unpleasant scent to some and it tends to sucker but I've always wanted to try one. :)


Here is a link that might be useful: Clerodendrum trichotomum

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 3:47PM
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Like Robert i have not grown any of those trees but i would also like to throw in prunus mume which has a incredible fragrance esp the white flowering form and has no problems with cold as it comes from Japan
a photo of mine in flower does flower in winter Jan-March

or Genista aetnensis (Mount Etna broom) wonderful fragrant flowers in mid summer (large shrub/small tree)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:31PM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))

Thanks Robert and fragrant2008! :)

I forgot to write the trees I adlready have:

Clreodendrum Trichotomum - must have you too :-) One of my favourite plant! I think the flowers smells rather like a lily. :) My plant is only 3 years old, but love our climate, grows - with summer watering - about 1m in a year!
It is planted more often nowadays our country.

Styrax Obassia - it's planted in spring, I'm waiting for the flowers very much! :)

Drimys Winteri - in a very sheltered space, I'm very curious for it's first winter hardiness here in Hungary.

Purnus Mume is in the next year plan, its has the place already :) But I didn't see white form for sale here in Hungary, only rose/pink have they good fragrance too?

Unfortunately genista aetnensis is unavailable here in Hungary. But I know it from the net years ago. Maybe a few years and the nurseries will 'disover' this plant. Nowadays increasingly expanding the supply.

I thoght cytisus battandieri, but it's unavailable yet too.

Osmanthus Fragrans is available. I'd like one, but I'm not sure about it's hardiness, what do you think? It's safety in 7 zone? I dont't have more sheltered place, only 7 zone :(

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 4:35AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Russian Olive Elaeagnus angustifolia has a lovely scent in June.

Syringa reticulata (Japanese lilac) is planted en masse in Montreal. The scent from afar is quite nice, though up close it sweet smell mixed with burnt rubber. Lol!

I grow my Sweet Olive in a pot. I've read it's hardy to zone 7. If not expensive you can buy 2. Pot one and bring it indoors and plant another out doors and see :-)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 2:26PM
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I'd throw out the fringe tree(Chionanthus virginicus ), it's only fragrant when it blooms, which is a very short time.
I think if you would consider (and the situation suits), I would consider a selection of clethra alnifolia (perhaps Ruby Spires)...very fragrant for more than a month in mid summer.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 2:31PM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))


Thanks for the advices.
Elaeagnus angustifolia is invasive in Hungary, I live near the forest, and it's blooming in may in our country. It's so strong scented, that I don't need plant one in my garden. :)
Syringa reticulata is not available here, but I have S. Vulgaris 'Sensation' whitch is heavenly scented. :)
That's a good idea, I will try the sweet olive in a pot.. :)


Ok, than fringe tree is throwed out.
I plant this spring a Clethra 'Rosea', it's amazing! It's included in the top 5 scent for me. :)

I forgot, I have Magnolia Grandiflora 'D. D. Blanchart' already.

So The following competitors have remained:

Pterostyrax Hispida
maackia amurensis
staphylea colchica - but I saw in pictures, it's suckering, I'd like a low blole to easily cut the grass around.
Osmanthus Fragrans

And I'd like to plant in autumn. Up to nowI planted only in spring, but I see, that the estabilishing is harder in the summer heat - even with summer watering .
But there is our unpredictable winters...

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 3:17AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Mecseri if it's not pricey, buy two Sweet olives. One indoors and another outdoors, you'll know!

Tilias can be quite big and suckers quite a bit.

Here is another list, some I've experienced some not, their mostly shrubs:

Pittosporum tobira
Philadelphus (Mock Orange) - Especially the older varieties can become quite unruly and big, I'm not yet impressed by the new hybrids, even though their blooming time can be a month.

Viburnums can become quite big. Though Robert said they flower for 2 weeks.

Lonicera fragrantissima - Biggish shrub - Unfortunately I grow the common one.

Chimonanthus praecox - Another big shrub - Rather ugly, but amazing scent in winter.

Robinia pseudoacacia - Big tree -

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 3:26PM
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chionanthus virginicus in spring. you can tell it is just past peak by the fallen flowers.

i wouldn't "throw it out" so to speak for its short flowering period. the flowering period can last, from the time when it begins to bloom until the time when the flowers fall, creating a white blanket on the ground, 3+ weeks. not bad for a small tree rather than a shrub. fragrance is hard to describe but i will say the typical description of "honey-like" is close. on warm afternoons the scent is delightful.
by the way, this tree may be considered an understory tree here in its native range but mine is in sun for most of the day and looks better than one grown in mostly shade.
it may reach 20' tall but will take a pretty long time.

nice winter bones with silvery bark

i can't access an old photo hosting site but i also have a picture showing some decent yellow fall color on this tree.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 3:53PM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))


Yes, Tilia is big, but there is one in our street, so I don't need to plant. :)

I have Pittosporum tobira and Philadelphus 'Mont Blanc'. They are very fragrant I love them!

I have a viburnum row:
V. Carclephalum, Carlesii, Juddii, Burkwoodii, Anne Russel, Bodnatense 'Dawn', Eskimo, Hillerii Winton and Odoratissimum.

The Lonicera fragrantissima is planted in spring, it"s surprise me how tolerant plant heat and other.

Chimonanthus praecox is planted in spring too. It's only about 40 cm, so I think I will wait a few years for the flowers. It's rare in Hungary.

I have robinia pseudoacacia 'casque rouge'. Unfortunately it's not so fragrant.


Chionanthus Virginucus is really beautiful! :)Consideration should be given.

I don't know why, but my heart is pulling to Pterostyrax Hispida. Big leaves, pretty flowers. And I hope the fragrance will pleasent. :)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:39PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Mecseri it seems you have managed to create my dream garden!

I'd say go with the plants that you've always wanted. At least you'll know whether you really love them or not :-)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:49PM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))


Thank you, you are nice! :)

I tried to take advantage of the available space with fragrant plants. I am maniac for a few years. It begun with the viburnums and there was no stopping... :)

Unfortunately is only one space for a new small tree already., So I really have to think about it. :)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 5:14PM
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How about lilac ... the common large shrub variety Syringa vulgaris, not the fancy French and Persian hybrids, and prune it up to be a tree.

They need cold winters for good bloom, and thrive in the higher mountains near me - growing wild in the abandoned farms.

Select a variety known to be strongly fragrant.

They survived Montana, USA winters at -40 (F or C, same temp) and in the early summer you could smell them for several blocks. They also survive the 30-35C summers in New Mexico, with the -10C winters.

there are also the "Korean" lilacs that have a more tree-like natural form.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 5:27PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Mecseri, maybe the easiest way to know what's best for you, is writing down the bloom time of all the plants you've got. This way you'll know, when you don't have any fragrance (I mean not enough!). Then find a shrub/ tree that flowers then.

I got a couple of more ideas, one is Acacia dealbata (mimosa) and a late flowering perennial, Actaea (Cimicifuga) racemosa. Purple leaved, white spires, it loves moist soil and shade, purple foliage. Mine flowers late September and it smells of grape juice.

You can also plant a recurrent rose at that spot, like rugosas, maybe bourbons or hybrid masks or you can plant rosa moschata, the musk rose. From what I understand it flowers from mid summer till frost, and it wafts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rosa moschata

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:42AM
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seems like the recommendations are heavy for the "large shrub" types so how about something like heptacodium miconioides. i have never even seen a growing specimen around here but i would like to try one myself, based on readings. sounds like a good four-season plant to me if you can prune to a desirable shape. some points of interest about the growth habit can be found at the link below from gardenweb.

Here is a link that might be useful: seven sons tree (heptacodium)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 3:32PM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))

Thanks for the advices!

I have lilac already.
Heptacodium miconioides sounds good, but unavailable in Hungary..
I found Alanginum platanifolium on the net, but unavailable here too. :(

Do you have experience with eucryphia x intermedia 'rostrevor'? That's my last idea.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:19AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

See if this link helps. Are you sure it is fragrant?

Here is a link that might be useful: Eucryphia

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 7:54AM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))

I don't know, I red this:

But I think it's too demanding for me. (Cool summer, partial shade, watering.. etc.)

I found this:

Lemony scent, heat, drouht, frost tolerant, sounds good. I think I decided
And big leaves, silvery underside, fast growing, flowers when young. The olny problem is the suckering, but I think I will cut them with the lawnmover. (It will in the lawn, near the paviloin.)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:49AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Great Mecseri, Congratulations!

Actually with the Eucryphia you might have had the same hardiness problem as Osmanthus.....

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:26PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Mecseri. I came about this tree/ shrub whilst reading. It flowers October/ November.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elaeagnus pungens

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:32AM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))

I'm ashamed, but I have E. Pungens 'Maculata Aurea' already.
If you don't mind, I describe more detail my garden.
I have the following fragrant plants:

On the fence is running a new planted Jasminum Officinale. I don't know, but it's flowers were not so strong scented, and not so sweet, I'm a lillte bit disappointed. (Maybe it's in wrong place?)
A near the Jasmine there is a Wisteria - I love it!!
In the forecourt there is a cestrum parqui. It planted in spring, it grew about 80 cm, but didn't flower yet.
Next to it there is an Osmanthus Heterophyllus 'Goshiki'. It planted two years ago, but thus plant grows very slowly, about 10 cm in a year. Now it's 30 cm tall, but did'nt flower yet.
Next to it in a solitaire sapce there is a magnolia soulangeana. It planted in 2010 spring, now it's 2,5m high and blooms richly. It has a faint but pleasant scent..
Next to it there is a ceanothus 'henri desfosse'. It has a faint scent too, not so notable, but it's a nice plant in blooming.
In the flower beds there are many hyacinth (favourite fragrant), fragrant narcissus, tulip. There are irises too. But the big mistake is, that I have only non fragrant lilies. When I moved to the house 5 years ago, there was the lilies there, and my wife doesn't allow to replace with fragrant types. But this summer I made a new place where I will plant fragrant lilies in this autumn. :)
In fornt of the teracce planted in spring a star jasmin, oh I love it!! It was covered with flowers in ma-jun, but unfortunately no more in the summer. But grew 1 m.
I buy a sarcococa confusa in a pot, there is in a shady window sill. Now it's full with flower buds, I'm waiting the flowers excited. :)
In the rear garden there are the following plants:

Several Syringa Vulgaris varieties - The 'Sensaion' is the best I think.
Buddleia - Love it' honey scent
Clerodendrum Bungei - New plant, the flowers will open about the next week, I'm excited. :)
On the rare fence there are 5 Lonicera Japonica 'Halliana' I love them! :)
Abelia Mosanensis - new planted, I hope next year I will snoop.
Lonicera purpusii - the same
Prunus tenella - good almond fragrance
Daphne Odora - Intoxicating!!! :-)
Vitex Agnus.castus - spicy scent the leaves too
Caryopteris Summer Sorbet - leaves are good scented
Perovskia Atriplicifolia 'blue spire' - the same

Our garden pavilion finished in june, I planted the following plants aorund it:
Spartium Junceum - flowered in june, but not anymore. I red that blooms whole summer(?) The fragrance is similar to wisteria, but weaker.
E. Pungens 'Maculata Aurea' :-) new plant, 40cm height, not bloomed yet.
Chilposis Linearis - I think good, spicy fragrance
Philadelphus Mont Blanc - one of my favourite scent :)
Clethra 'Rosea' - LOVE IT! :) In the top 5 fragrance. :)
And the vines on the side of the pavilion:
Jasminum beesianum and Akebia Quintata

And in the last part of the garden:
Clerodendrum trichotomum
lagerstroemia 'rosea' - had a faint but pleasant scent!
Ribes Odora - clove scent, one of my favourite :)
Calycanthus Floridus - fine, fruity fragrance, but it's emited mostly in the hottest part of the day.
Choisya 'Aztec Pearl' - it has other scent than the basic species, vanila scent, good. :)
caesalpinia gilliesii - new plant, waiting for the flowers. :)
chimonanthus praecox - the same

And there is a 'mediterran corner': all the plant are new, didn't flowered yet.
Eriobotrya japonica
Arbutus Unedo 'Atlantic'
Pittosporum Tobira and P. Tobira 'Nana'
Prunus Lusitanica

Oh, and the trees everywhere:

Abizia Jullibrissin - unfortunately it's suffering from the leafhopper every year, I spray it vainly. :( It will replaced by a pinus pinea. :)
Hovenia Dulcis - new
Euodia Hupenensis - new
Styrax Obassia - a treasure for me, beautiful foliage. :) New plant.
Malus 'Van eseltine' - faint but pleasant fragrance
Ziziphus Jujuba - ornimental and fruit tree too. The flower scent is good too. :)
Paulownia - new plant

And in pot:
Jasminum Sambac, Azoricum

The next autumn or next year plan:

Melia Azaderach
Azara Micophyllia
Edgeworthia Crisanta
Pterostírax Hispidia :)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 4:12AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Why ashamed! You should be proud. That's a great garden you've designed :-)

Give your plants a several years at the least before judging their fragrance. Fragrant clematis are notoriously scentless or faintly scented in their early years. It is only with time and maturity that their fragrance develops. As you surely know, temperature, wind, soil and even the type of fence you've got plays a role in fragrance.

Do you have fragrant roses & clematis?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 7:08AM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))

Thank you, you are very nice! :-)
There was/is a lot of work with the garden, but worth to do it. :)

How could I forget:

Near the pavilion there is a new planted gardenia 'Kleim's Hardy.'
It bloomed richly, and the fragrance is in the top 3! :-)
And a new gelsemium semprevirens.
And in pot I have the followin plants too: (all new)

brunfelsia pauciflora - it had only 3 flowers but the scent became favourite. :)
carissa macrocarpa - not flowered yet
Pandorea Jasminoides - There was only one flower, but the scent was fruity, pleasant :)
Podranea ricasoliana - it's blooming now, not strong, but sweet scent.
and a Jasminum Polyanthum, not flowered yet.

And in the plan are also:

Prunus mume - I will replace an old 'inherited' apricot tree. I got bored to spraying all the year, that's why I replace the Albizia, and the almond tree too ->with Pterostírax Hispida. :-)
abeliophyllum distichum, -rosea
Clerodendrum bungei ’Pink Diamond'
Osmanthus Fragrans
Hamamelis Mollis


Stauntonia hexaphylla
Mandevilla laxa
Holboellia latifolia

In pot plan:

bignonia capreolata
freylinia lanceolata
Jasminum Mesnyi
Passiflora Incense
thevetia peruviana
agastache aurantiaca 'tango'
jacobinia aurea
tecoma stans
ajania pacifica
Plumeria alba

Unfotunately I have non or not so scented roses, but the plan is: :-)
Sentimental and double delight.
I have a small flowered non scented old clematis but I will replace wth a C. Armandii.

And the perennials plan:
Hedycium Coronarium
Datura fastuosa

And of course I plant in every year the annuals.

I'm waiting so much to grow up the plants and the scent will more rich and rich.

Have you other fragrant plant suggestion? :)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 8:35AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

There are many other experienced posters, which can recommend fragrant plants, if you have the stamina and the place for more :-)

Also if you check the threads "Blooming in...", you'll see the variety of fragrant plants grown. You should also post photos of your beauties!

Here is a link that might be useful: Blooming in August

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:51AM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))

Yes, but the experienced posters doesn't read this topic.:(

Still I'm young I have the stamina. :)
There are a few free space yet, that must I plant clever.
In the 'blooming in' topic there are mostly indoor or zone 8-9 plants, I have not so much from them.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 6:27AM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Mecseri81, have you considered any michelias/magnolias?

'Jack Fogg' blooms in Spring but will also have sporadic blooms later on in later Summer of Fall.

'Jane' Magnolia also has this trait too, that is throwing out flowers later in the season after a showy spring flush.

These two have a pleasant scent to me, but I wouldn't say they are wafty like a jasmine.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 5:25PM
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Last poster made me think...of magnolia stellata, which reminds me of orange blossoms...but doesn't repeat bloom at all.

Very dependable bloomer in early spring though.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 5:30PM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))

And what do you think about Magnolia Grandiflora? I planted it. What kind of scent does it have?

The last space for a small tree decided to Pterostyrax Hispida.
I think I need more some fragrant shrub , perennial or indoor plant.
Do I open a new topic them?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 6:21PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

I found a couple of more interesting trees, none that I've grown:

Cladrastis kentukea. Very fragrant tree, hardy and big.

and Katsura tree, which is not fragrant but the fallen leaves smell nice (cinnamon, apple).

For indoor plants start another thread.

This post was edited by true-blue on Mon, Aug 25, 14 at 11:34

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:27AM
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mecseri81(7 (8 sheltered))

Cladrastis was one of my first ideas, but it's too big - too wide exactly.
And furhermore it's not available in Hungary. Only the maackia amurensis.

Katsura tree is more frequent here, but I didn't smell it yet. But I think it's not so showy in any way.
I found a new big shrub: phyllirea angustifolia. Reprotedly it has fragrant flowers and relative of osmanthus. :) (Olive family)

What do you think?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 5:07PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

I can really comment on any of the plants, as I told you I grow them :-)

From what I read, Katsura needs to be well watered during the growing season, otherwise you won't have the spicy smell when it sheds it's leaves in Autumn.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 7:47AM
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