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Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees

Posted by carl-in-nh Southern NH (Zone 5) (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 1, 09 at 20:09

Zone 5 in southern NH.

The plot is a former garden with largely Full Sun, now getting overgrown (eg blackberry bushes, tree seedlings), but still has a few azaleas and rhododendron bushes doing well. The plot is roughly triangular, maybe 40 feet or so on a side.

Looking for ideas for hardy, fragrant, flowering bushes.

Lilacs fit the bill quite nicely, and I will be planting a variety of lilac cultivars in this plot, but I wanted to diversify a bit.

My preference are bushes/shrubs/ornamental trees (as opposed to annual or perennial flowers).

Height not a problem, I can pick a spot depending on their expected mature size.

Would especially like something that goes into flower after the lilacs lose their bloom in the late spring , or summer, or fall.

I am looking for something that doesn't require a lot of care, but quite frankly am willing to try anything once.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees

I think that aronia's bloom after lilacs, and I know my mom (she lives in zone 5b, near Pittsburgh) absolutely loves her carolina allspice bush, I think that blooms in the summer.

RE: Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees


I am glad you asked...You should see my yard.
that is mostly what I have. If it doesn't give off a sweet fragrance, it is not there!

My 4 favotites.....

1: Honeysuckell.... The orange and yellow variety..Nice looking, in fact I will try to take a pic. It can be trimmed anyway you want, and what a fragrance in the am and before sunset..

2. Carol "mackie" daphne..WOW!!!!!!!!

3. Peonies and tree peonie..Wow!!

4. My favorite!!!! Azelea Viscosum......This is disciduous azelea that drops all its leaves for the winter, then comes back in full white blooms with a light yellow center with the wiff of GARDENIA scent, even stronger actually, throughout your whole yard....You have to get one of these...I have 4.
No work required for any, although it helps to wrap them up in winter to protect against cold dry winds..
I hope I gave you some ideas..:-)

RE: Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees

  • Posted by jimshy z7 Brooklyn, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 4, 09 at 18:01

I would definitely try:

fothergilla gardenii or montana -- great four season shrubs,

hammamelis virginia, vernalis (witch hazel)

Clethra alnifolia -- should be hardy no problem in z5

Lindera benzoin -- not showy in flower, but spicy scent to the leaves and flowers and a great woodland shrub.

Like meyermike said, rhododendron viscosum and the other deciduous azaleas are very fragrant and very tough; they like acidic soil, which you probably have already.

Japanese honeysuckle is very fragrant, but very invasive, both by seed and by runners -- don't plant this if you don't want to spend your later years pulling up seedlings and shoots all over the place!

Non-native, but non invasive choices:

magnolia stellata
lonicera fragrantissima (winter honeysuckle, very tough)
abelia mosanensis (new to the US and really fragrant)
hammamelis intermedia and mollis (asian witch hazels)
Viburnum carlesii and x juddii spice vibernums

Hope we give you some good ideas!


RE: Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees

That too Jimshy....

Viburnum Judd!!!!!! I have 3 of these..They are so awsome!
They are usually out before the lilacs even bloom...
Forgot about this one.
Also as you said, the honeysuckle is very invasive. Boy can those runners run..I keep mine trimmed every year to a beautiful shape... I even have a variegated one...
Great other choices..I might even run out and grab one you suggested...

RE: Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees

Ditto the Honeysuckle and Peony. Some less invasive varieties of Honeysuckle have no fragrance though.
I just planted Philadelphis Virginalis- they are in bloom now, but I don't know about ease of growing yet. So far so good.
For late summer blooms- how about Buddleia? (They get huge but can be cut all the way back)
Floribunda type roses are easy to care for, and some varieties smell exquisite.
Happy planting!!!!

RE: Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees

Some crab apples are very fragrant -- dolgo, for example. And don't forget the marvelous family of linden trees. Check out the rose forum for fragrant hardy shrub roses -- one called Quietness is much liked by people over there. I think it is fragrant. The rugosa roses are also very fragrant as are some of the old roses, such as stanwell perpetual.

Clethra is a fragrant shrub for the month of August. I also think bayberry smells very nice, and the bayberry relative comptonia peregrina, which looks like a fern. You could also try the hayscented fern, a true fern, and some of the herbal plants, such as the mints and sweet woodruff (though they can be weedy), camomile and thyme. Then there is lily of the valley -- more of a ground cover than a shrub, but a very welcome one.

Also not shrubs -- in the cooler states, lilies grow very well and some of them are wonderfully fragrant. The speciosums bloom late. A lot of the fragrant plants are early bloomers, but not phlox, which blooms in July and August. There are also some fragrant asters and chrysanthemums and one or two very fragrant hostas, such as plantaginea and Aphrodite. Dianthus, a perennial is also very fragrant. And there is the bulb, lycoris squmigera. And annual flowers such as four-o-clocks and nicotiana.

A few of the daylilies are fragrant, such as the lemon lily, and some, like Hemerocallis citrina, are fragrant at night.

I like the fragrance of Buddleia "Cornwall Blue" and of Caryopteris.

The thing to do is look around and see what grows well and smells sweet in your own neighborhood and then try to get some of that.

RE: Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees

It's funny..I know what you are aiming for...
I just had people over tonight, and with every single flowering plant in my yard blooming, they were amazed with fragrance of it. It kind of felt good to show the off..
They were especially impressed with the honeysuckle! Boy can it smell great at night!!
No one wanted to leave by 900pm.
I can't wait until my lilly patch blooms as mentioned above. They are tall, some at least 4 feet, and setting bud now. A great fragrance for the whole month of July or longer!!!
I wish I had come here and asked what you did before I landscaped my yard. It took me years to build up my fragrance collection. Now my brother is doing
He won't buy a plant uless it smells good.
Now I can finally sit back and just sniff sniff..:-)
Please, let us know what you do..And take some pics..

RE: Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees

Lonicera x heckrottii, goldflame honeysuckle, has reddish/orange blossoms and is not invasive. It does have a similar fragrance to the Japanese monstrosity that is taking over the eastern United States (although not quite as strong). Should be hardy to zone 5 once established, but if it dies it will grow back just fine from the roots as a perennial. Blooms from frost to frost and attracts hummingbirds too!

RE: Ideas for fragrant flowering bushes/trees

Hi Carl,

I too live on the New Hampshire boarder, and mbuckmaster is so right about the goldflame honeysuckle. It is very fragrant and non-invasive..This picture was taken yesterday.
This is one of my favorite fragrant plants!

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