Favorite Fragrant Winter Plants

posyplanterOctober 20, 2012

Hello everyone,

With winter around the corner, and being a fragrant plant lover, I'm toying with the idea of a winter fragrance garden near the back door and patio area. Several fragrant plants will need to come inside for winter, others will go dormant, and I'm realizing that it's going to seem a little depressing with nothing to sniff at there this winter.

Since I've recently "discovered" winter honeysuckle and wintersweet, and happen to have an unusual blue juniper with branches that are heavy with fragrance especially in winter,[something I really appreciate!] the idea has been growing. What are your favorite fall and winter fragrant plants and what would survive in zone 7?

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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

I think you can grow a daphne odora in zone 7! You will love it! It is super fragrant and quality wise it is on par with the Wintersweet.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 6:34PM
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We have Daphne in ground, zone 5, without problem of blooming. Hardy Jasmine is hardy to zone 6. so it should work for you. Sweet Autumn clematis survives in zone 4. put out fleece of sweet scented white flower in Oct. here. ...Uhm, what else... You can grow some Brug. it should be still blooming in your zone , even mine are still blooming with 40s at night.

I love Winter Sweet. The problem is when it blooms in early spring, it is still too cold to stay outside longer enough to appreciate its scent, unless I grow it inside. Anything that flowers in cold weather outside is not for me, but for those who has to walk the dog(s). Winter time, we are in and out through garage most of the time. Plus, the days are shorter... It is a bit dark when I leave and come home to/from work...really has no idea what is blooming outside.
Here is another one I grow that I think will do well in your zone... Star Magnolia, it has nice fragrance and beautiful flower in early spring or late winter.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Sweet Box (Sarcococca ruscifolia)! Though not everyone agrees with its fragrance. I personally have never smelled one but I want to someday! :)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:22AM
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Robert, I have never heard sweet box, although there are lot I don't know than I knew, not surprised. But it does look like a nice plant to have in the yard. Fragrant flower, nice neat bush, and little red fruits remind me of holly. Good recommendation.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Thanks! Kemistry says he doesn't care for the scent but that's not going to stop me. Laugh.
I still haven't even smelled daphne!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:54AM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Sweetbox is very fragrant but has an unpleasant type of scent. They are tough plants though. :o)

What about those yellow witch hazel? They smell pretty nice and are quite fragrant too.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:43PM
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Hello my dear friends!

Don't laugh, but I didn't think there was anything that grew in teh winter that was fragrant, Really! Now, you have me started.lol

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 12:33PM
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That is sooo correct, Mike. I think she is asking late fall or early spring when the weather is still winter-ish. At least that is how I understood the question was.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 1:45PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Mahonia 'Charity' is just opening now and smells lovely. Hamamelis x intermedia Pallida is scented. Personally I find Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis smells delightful. If you have some space Balsam Poplar, Populus balsamifera, will scent the air for a distance in early spring. Lavender, and Rosemary if you can keep it over winter, will smell good if you put it somewhere you brush past.

Here is a link that might be useful: Winter scents

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 4:31PM
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Hi everyone, and thanks for the responses! I've wanted to grow daphne for a few years now, but I kept hearing how finnicky they are, so I figured it must be a plant for very advanced, master gardeners! I think I'll give it a try, and if it looks like I'm killing it, I'll post an SOS on this forum!
How large do star magnolias grow?
I checked out sweet box [sarcococca], and it sounds like it is a December bloomer, evergreen, with colorful berries later on, wow! Sounds like my kind of plant! Does anyone use the branches to decorate for Christmas?
Witch hazel might be a good option, because I also like the medicinal benefits.
Flora, I had to smile when I read your post. I've got a patch of lavender and rosemary outside the kitchen door that stays evergreen for me, and I have this habit of sometimes lingering too long whenever I run out to grab a sprig of rosemary for cooking. I've come back inside more than once to find a kettle boiling over or a pan smoking:)!
Thanks for the link; it really has me excited! I can't wait to start collecting some of these plants. Now if I can just find a source that will ship this time of year......!
Fragrance is different in winter, somehow. So fresh and invigorating, no bugs and disease to worry about, [at least where I live] no watering chores, more time to just enjoy the lovely scents .....
No Mike, really! I literally mean fragrant blooms [or branches] in the middle of winter, like December or January, although I wouldn't pass up something that gives fragrance in November or February:).
Thanks again for the ideas, and keep them coming!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:16PM
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From Nov until Feb, very few garden plants grow in IL.
From late Feb to early April, my favorite, outdoor plants are Snow Crocus and Hyacinths.
Hyacinths emit a very pleasant scent..outstanding.

If plants grew outdoors during winter, I'm certain there'd be more to add.

Indoors..My favs are Citrus, Maid of Orleans, and Gardenias..If a Gardenia decides to produce flowers.

Petunia, if/when seeds drop from windowboxes in soil of an indoor plant, sprouts, grows and blooms. Petunias are pleasantly fragrant..

Plants with fragrant leaves...Ginger, Plectranthus and Scented Begonias. Ummm. Toni

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:04PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Callisia fragrans, Dracaena fragrans, Sansevieria.

If you don't like these plants without flowers, growing them for their fragrance would be disappointing, some people's plants never bloom, but if they do bloom, it's most likely in late winter/early spring. I can attest to the first and last, and the middle has countless testimonials. Very good smells! Fragrans is fragrant in Latin.

Excellent idea about scented foliage, Toni. There's variously scented Pelargoniums, and if you have enough light, you might do well with a Basil plant.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:20PM
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I like the smell of sweet box.
It is an awfully attractive plant too.
Dark green evergreen, and the little white flowers smell
like real sweet vanilla.
They waft in the air when you are outside.
Go to a garden center to buy one in the winter and
smell one that is blooming. They bloom young.
They also thrive in SHADE. THey burn in sun.

Daphne is to die for, I smell them at the garden center all
the time. THey smell real good, but I don't have enough room for any, and I would have to create a new bed.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 4:27PM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

My Daphne is all budding up now. I cannot wait for January. Definitely go for a daphne. Its cuttings are also easy to root too. :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:50PM
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Daphne a definite yes! Good drainage is a must for it to do well. If you have some shade, Sarcococca orientalis has a very nice fragrance. Also, you could try one of the Camellia sasanquas that have fragrance such as Kanjiro or Stephanie Golden. The dediduous Edgeworthia chrysantha, which is a relative of Daphne, has an incredible narcissus like fragrance in late Jan or Feb. Plus its fat silvery buds provide nice winter interest before it blooms.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:21PM
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