Dissapointing /and/or pleasantly surprising fragrants this year?

flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)August 3, 2005

What fragrants that you've tried this summer or lately that dissapointed you or pleasently surprised you? Which ones fragrances were you knocked out by or which ones left you lacking? I tried four o clocks this year and I truly believe reports of its scent must be a mass conspiracy because I notice NOTHING! Not a faint scent.... nothing! I stick my nose right in it and don't smell a thing. Now I'm growing broken colors/ tea time mix so I don't know if that matters..... Is it a less/unscented variety? That being said I'm growing alot of "strong" fragrants this year but on the milder/ and or unexpected front I'm growing candy cane mix zinnias and I swear I note a light nice fruity, floral scent. You have to sniff the flower (doesn't waft) but the scent is really nice. Maybe its my mind playing tricks on me because of the "sweet" name but I really I really think it has a nice fragrance.

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suzy626(Zone 10/CA.)

Interesting question flowersandthings. I would say that planting freesias last fall and having them bloom this past spring was a nice surprise. It was by sheer accident too. I had gotten a potted plant last spring then after it had died down I saved the bulbs. Didn't do anything special to keeping the bulbs just put the dead plant in a cool area, no water. I planted them in a 5 gal. terra plastic container and they all sprang up with enthusiasm. I had attempted many times in the past by planting them in the ground to no avail.. So now, each year, I will keep using these bulbs again and again.

Have you ever considered Plumerias? This has to be my favorite fragrant flower because of its unique characteristics, shapes, colors, and different frangrances. From: fruity, jasmine, gardenia, vanilla, buttery, coconut, spicy, cinnamon, and chocolate.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 2:49PM
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I'd read great things about night stocks (matthiola incana), so I planted a bunch of seeds -- they are wispy things, just like I'd heard, and the scent was very nice, but rather elusive. I think they're better off in large patches in a perennial garden, where they'd be great by moonlight, but in a cramped balcony, both sight and smell get kind of lost.

My tuberose is lush and green, but no blooms so far -- I had hoped for flowers earlier, but I understand they can be fickle.

On the plus side, I got a passionflower -- alato-caerulea -- that I hadn't had for a year or so, and the fragrance and charm of the white/purple/green flowers was as nice as I remembered.

Got a couple of orchids about to bloom, including one of my faves, sedirea japonica, so I'll report back soon!


    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 12:07PM
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skippy05(z7 PA)

I have some 4 o'clocks that grow like weeds at my sisters (she lives in VA Beach )They have a tiny purple flower & they have the sweetest smell, I love it!

On the other hand, I have a beautiful white datura, I smell nothing.....

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 7:45PM
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Joeray(Z9 LA)

I have some hot pink/rose colored four o'clocks that are very fragrant. They are located at the back of my house and the window fan pulls the fragrance into our garage - nice. I believe that there are variations in plants just as there are in people, animals etc. My night blooming jasmine has never lived up to the stories I've heard of fragrance that could be smelled hundreds of yards away from the plant. Some people can sing beautifully and some can't carry a tune in a bucket - but there're all humans.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 10:05PM
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My Four o'Clocks aren't blooming yet, but I've always found the white variety to be very fragrant, though not much of a wafter.

The M. incana I planted haven't bloomed at all :( but in other years, one plant has caught my nose from a distance. I think the trick is to start them early indoors so that the plants are fairly large and blooming in early June. They don't like competition, either. Weedy looking things but heavenly emanations.

Had some Datura inoxia volunteers this year that were not fragrant at all. Very disappointing - didn't realize that scent could be so variable within a species. Luckily, I'd also started some that are fragrant.

Surprised by scented Snapdragons - sweet and fruity! Doubles, and more open than the single varieties. Maybe that's why?

Oh, and Clematis montana in the Spring - strong vanilla scent, lovely!

Still waiting for my Tuberoses, Vigna, Moonflowers - Jim, I've never had Tuberoses bloom before late August, so there's hope :)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 11:09AM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

Well as per the mirabilis let's hope its just the broken colors.... my limelight rose haven't opened yet..... As per jasmine sambac it is a really astoundingly fragrant plant. One blossom scents a room in winter. And one blossom scents/flavors a cup of tea (black tea.... or green or white..... its yummy)..... maybe you got a "bum" variety? :)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 2:47PM
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bobkat13(z7 Richmond VA)

I bought a pretty yellow flower thingee - didn't know anything from anything yet in late April. Had it planted in a container. It smelled so very luscious and the smell carried for a ways, too! The nursery were I bought it couldn't identify the plant for me after they brought it out and delivered it. I finally tracked down what it was: Sand Dune Wallflower. It lasted for quite a few weeks, too.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 10:53PM
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A new surprise and dissapointment!

First, the good stuff: I got a jasminum tortuosum to replace a mandevilla that would never, ever, flower indoors for me. It came with two blooms in a 2" pot, and the scent, though not as heady as the sambacs, was very nice; plus, it's a twining vine, and the foliage will look great crawling up the side of my window.

Second, the bad: I've had a telosma cordata for almost three years. Its fragrance is legendary, it blooms all summer, it's easy if you give it lots of water and warmth.

Yeah, right.

Each summer I bring it out, give it direct morning sun and afternoon dappled shade, drench it when it needs it, and it grows maybe three inches. Each winter I've brought it back inside, where it does nothing -- and I mean absolutely nothing -- for 4 months. Maybe it drops a leaf every now and then, and I get to pick mealybugs and large scale insects off the bare vine.

I would love to see and smell this one in bloom, but I'm ready to dump this one if it doesn't get a move on and show me some flowerin' luv.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 11:11AM
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sazji(8bNW Turkey)

I always found four-o'clocks pleasant enough but never living up to the raves about them in the catalogs. Here in Istanbul *everybody* grows them, they are around just about every street tree. I have to get up close to smell anything.

Another plant I often see touted for its sweet fragrance is Passiflora incarnata, the wild US passionflower. Sweet? It smells like weird beef jerky to me. But alato-caerulea is absolutely wonderful - the sweetnes of alata and the fruitiness of caerulea in perfect combination.

Night-scented stock isn't much to look at but the smell is so nice that I will never be without it again. There is a species that grows on some of the Greek islands, I think it's M. sinuata; much larger with light purple and white flowers that don't wilt during the daytime. At night it pumps out a fragrance that puts the other night-scented stock to shame.

Snapdragons can be fragrant or not according to variety. I'm finally going to get some seed from a friend who has a tall dark red one that I can smell 10 feet away....

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 5:09PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

This year, I have one plant that I am dissapointed in- I bought a cananga odorata fruticosa ( dwarf Ylang ylang) this Spring. It has grown and is covered in flowers. But it's fragrance is a slight spicey scent, that does not waft much and only appears when the flower is just about done. The real Ylang Ylang will scent a few acres downwind, this only covers a few feet. And if the flower is not fuly ripe and you stick your nose in for a hopeful wiff, the smell is not pleasant. I hope as the plant matures, maybe this will change....

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 7:02PM
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My ongoing disappointment has to be my osmanthus fragrans. They've been in the ground for a couple of years now and are generally not doing much of anything, least of all emitting the wafty fragrance everyone raves about. And I was so excited. (Sigh)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 8:35PM
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yeshwant91(Z7a NYC)

My Sweet Autumn clematis was a very nice surprise. Last year, it flowered in September, but had not fragrance. This year, it started off with a mild fragrance, but as the flowers are getting to their peak and beyond, the fragrance wafts to the garden door and can be smelt throughout the yard. I thought it was a nonfragrant variety, but I am so thrilled that it is not a dud!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 2:40PM
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My disappointment this year is buddleia alternifolia, the weeping butterfly bush. When I was searching for one, a nursery owner warned me (being careful not to insult my taste, lol) that it was "Ahh...rather open and loose." Weedy, in other words. And it is, but in the past 3 years I've had it, it grew very fast, wafted beautifully when in flower, and looked sort of wildly pretty exept for a brief time after the flowers faded when it takes on a brown, dead look. This year it hardly grew and didn't waft. No clue why. We had a drought, but it's one that isn't supposed to mind.

The good surprise was leptodermis oblonga, now in its second year. Last year it didn't do much, but this year it really did live up to those reports of blooming all summer!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 10:58AM
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I had the Cashmere Bouqet from Logees. The smell was absolutely disgusting and the plant was covered with insects all the time. Not only that, it started to sprout up everywhere. Another one from the same place was the Araujica Sericofera. Beautiful vine, lovely looking flowers. No scent. Lots of bugs impossible to get rid of. Had to dispose of both of them. Both were advertised as super fragrant. Not!
On the other hand I got these white irises from a plant swap and the flowers are huge and scented too! This summer I had epiphyllium's bloom for the first time. Amazing flower and nice scent but nothing like I had read it should be. Maybe it is still a young plant. Personally I believe that the amount of sun and heat is directly related to the fragrance of the plant. That's why I suppose plants in tropical countries smell so strong. I am too close to the coast and the sun is never really strong, ever and so even the most fragrant plants are a little subdued. But a big thumbs up for night stocks - incarna as well as virginian something. My entire backyard was rocking!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 7:30PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

I was very pleased with Osmanthus 'Fudingzhu' unfortunately it bit the dust after only a few months of owning it. I should've taken better care of it. I have tried smelling the flowers of a different Osmanthus at a nursery and couldn't detect a scent. I will definitely try it again and give it better care this time lol.

I was disappointed with Calycanthus 'Venus' it smells like strawberries which was good except for the addition of a burning plastic smell.

And as I mentioned in another thread, I was disappointed in the scent of my 'Singapore' plumeria but as more flowers opened up, the scent became stronger and hopefully will produce even more stronger scented flowers as the plant matures.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 12:17AM
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This May at Rare Finds Nursery, near my home (specialists in the RHODODENDRON genus), I could hardly believe it, but I did indeed detect a light scent in the blossoms of a large pink rhododendron. It was not a scent that bowles one over, but it was present. What was more exhilarating than than the the plant's having fragrance in itself was the possibility for breeding a race of new fragrant Rhododendrons! This is something I very much wish for.
I would love to hear of other Rhododendrons members of the forum have found to be scented.

On the other hand, that same day, I was struck by a mature specimen of CALYCANTHUS 'Hartlage Wine', some ten feet tall. It was beyond beautiful. Surely it was the star of the day, and of the nursery, hung with burgundy party decoration blooms from top to bottom as it was, and all facing downward the better to be looked into - and smelled. To my dispair however, I could detect no fragrance from this thriving plant. None whatsoever.
It may have been that I arrived at the wrong stage of the flowers' opening, at the wrong time of day or in the wrong weather, for I am told 'Hartlage Wine' has a "subtle fragrance" and blooms over a long season. (As with Hydrangea Panniculata, it may be easy to catch the plant in bloom, but past or before its time for releasing fragrance.)

The cultivar in question, according to the experts, seems to be hybrid between the Asian Calycanthus (Sinocalycanthus) chinensis and our native C. floridus, something to which I was unaware prior to meeting 'Hartlage Wine' in person. This likely accounts for its lack-luster fragrance.

I do not mean to say that the plant itself was a dissapointment - I think no one could, having once seen it - but I cannot love it on priciple. The true dissapointment to me was that 'Hartlage Wine' has been the Calycanthus endimanché of recent years, pushed by Waysides, etc, the sole cultivar available in trade, coveted by the Lady Gardeners Society, etc., ect.,
and that this variety alone should rise to prominence as a representative of the Sweet Shrub, the Strawberry Bush, a species that is, at its heart and soul an old fashioned, country, fragrant plant.

As with any Calycanthus, my advice would be to smell before you purchase and plant, because scent is well known to vary even among specimens of the same variety. Find one that you love. Thankfully, there are still many fragrant Calycanthus to be enjoyed by those who will seek them out today.

Best wishes,
Matt Di Clemente

As with any Calycanthus

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 10:56PM
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My greatest disappointment this summer, aside from arriving back home from vacation and finding that my plant/pet sitter hadn't watered enough and things were dying -- my meyer lemon.

I had it for near two years, it grew, it got scale, it never bloomed. Not once. I was so annoyed with it I finally put it out on the curb for some other enterprising gardener to try her hand at it. Hope it blooms for them.

I also find little scent in almost every Calycanthus I sniff, and when I do get a scent, it's more "cat-in-heat" than "strawberries-and-bananas." The new hybrids do look pretty, though.

Still waiting on my passiflora 'Elizabeth', which should be awesome.

Matti, Rare Find is a gem of a nursery, and they have a whole bunch of native deciduous azalea species and hybrids that are quite fragrant, check 'em out!


    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 4:11PM
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Dear Jim,
Thanks for the follow up.
I should have clarified. I am enamored of the fragrant azaleas every spring, although I don't grow any. My favorite Azaleas are the R. Viscosums and their hybrids - native to steam banks of this area - with spicy blossoms, in the heat of July. Another I especially admire is "Late Date".

My big surprise this Spring though was a fragrant Rhododendron. Here I mean a big leaved, ever-green, wardii type Rhododendron, with the typical large clusters of bloom at the branch ends. This is what I never suspected. If you know more about these, I would love to hear. Rhododendrons have a sort of "wierd evergreen smell" to them, that is, in their foliage, as a friend who played in and under hedges of them as a child says. Fragrance in a Rhododenron's flower would make these a very desirable plant to me. Fragrance in a Mountain Laurel meanwhile would make these perfect plants, but that is another topic all together.

Best wishes,
Matt Di Clemente

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 9:13PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Mare2, buddleias bloom on new wood, so they benefit mightily from being cut back hard so that lots of new wood sprouts. I assume alternifolia is the same.

If you still have the buddleia, try cutting it back to 6 inches or so and see what happens.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 9:30PM
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Latest surprise, Crape Myrtles!
Does anyone have some highly fragrant varieties to reccomend?


    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 9:48PM
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