With two large dogs in the house, I am forever looking for ways to keep the air in the house fresh and pleasant. I love fragrant oils burnt in lamps but the oil isn’t cheap! I also sprinkle the filter on the vacuum with a fragrant oil, but the aroma only sticks around for a short time after I’m finished vacuuming.
Fragrant house plants offer a continuous aroma and is the natural way (and by far my favorite way) to keep your home fresh. Everyone’s taste is different. I prefer a spicy, woodsy or musky scent while others are drawn to aromas more sweet and floral.
Below is a list of fragrant houseplants. Try some at home and in the office! To help you find your favorite, I’ve included information that describes the fragrance whenever possible:
Aglaia Odorata (Chinese Perfume Plant)
In the dwarf form, this is an easy to grow bush that produces fragrant yellow flowers – as small as a rice-grain – with very strong perfume. The fragrance is outstanding!
Allamanda Cathartica (Golden Trumpet Vine)
In Suriname’s traditional medicine, the roots are used against jaundice, complications with malaria and enlarged spleen. The flowers act as a laxative. Yellow allamanda has also an antibiotic action against Staphylococcus.
Their thick fragrant rootstocks resemble the scent of ginger.
Araujia Sericofera (Cruel plant)
White fragrant flowers in summer and fall in racemes of 2-4 inches long. This vine is also called “Cruel Plant” as it attracts and traps moths into the flowers in the evening, then releases them as the flower opens in the morning.
Some of the hybrids are lightly fragrant – ‘Honeysuckle,’ ‘Jim Wyrtzen,’ Lenore Olivier,’ ‘Tea Rose,’ are at least two species. Solananthera and venosa, are more strongly scented.
Bouvardia Ternifolia (Jasmine Plant, Scarlet Trumpetilla)
Ideal for a sunny windowsill. Intensely jasmine-like fragrance and at night the long, white tubular flowers evoke intoxicating evening pleasure. A sun-loving plant from Mexico, flowering intermittently throughout the year.
Brugmansias (Angel’s Trumpets)
Most brugmansias are fragrant except for sanguinea and some of its hybrids.
Brunfelsias (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow)
Lovely fragrance and smaller flowers that start out dark purple and change to palest light blue.
Buddleja (Butterfly Bush)
These have honey-scented flowers and bloom in the winter indoors.
Bursera is a small American genus related to frankincense and myrrh. Their wood is very odoriferous, and their sap is sometimes collected by indigenous people.
Carissa Macrocarpa (Natal Plum)
White, fragrant flowers, scarlet fruits
The leaves smell like buttered popcorn! Many kinds of these plants produce leather-tanning agents, cough medicine and tobacco flavoring. Senna is also produced, it is a laxative obtained from the foliage and pods of several varieties.
Cedronella Canariensis (False Balm of Gilead)
The aromatic leaves are dried for use in pot-pourri with a musky woody scent.
Coffea Arabica (Coffee)
Coffeas are handsome foliage plants that produce fragrant, white flowers and are especially decorative when bearing their red fruits, which resemble cranberries.
Coleonema Pulchra (Breath of Heaven)
While the flowers are not scented, the small, narrow-linear leaves are pleasantly aromatic when they are crushed or brushed.
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. It has bloomy leaves and a profusion of yellow blossoms that smell like peaches.
Cryptocereus Anthonyanus (Rick-Rack Cactus)
This is a night bloomer and its flowers last for only a single night. It is common that some specimens rarely or never flower, but when they do they produce many white, pink and maroon slender-petaled starburst blossoms. The blossoms begin to open right at dusk, releasing a pleasing fragrance that is intended intended to attract nocturnal pollinators.
Heliotropium Arborescens (Cherry Pie)
They produce very pretty, wonderfully fragrant flowers that smell like cherry pie! The flowers cluster up to 8 inches across. They may be deep blue-violet to purple, lavender or almost white.
Jasmine essential oil has a sweet, exotic and rich floral scent and the oil is deep orange-brown in color. The small white star-shaped flower’s aroma is most intense at night.
Michelia (Banana Shrub)
It’s covered with small, glossy green leaves and bears clusters of large, white, sometimes purple-streaked, flowers with a potent, sweet banana scent.
Pandanus Odoratissimus (Screw Pine)
These don’t produce flowers when they are small, but are often grown for their ornamental foliage. They are easy to grow and make nice houseplants. The fibers from several kinds of Pandanus are used for making rope, baskets, fans, and so forth, and the natives use the fruits as food.
A deciduous plant with fragrant, violet-mauve, lace-like blossoms that are almost 5 inches across. The “Passion Flower’s” outer ring consists of 10 tepals, which are said to represent the ten apostles who witnessed the crucifixion of Christ. Within this circle of petals there is a ring of filaments, which allude to the crown of thorns. In the center, there are five stamens representing His wounds and three stigmas representing the nails. The leaves and whip-like tendrils represent the hands and scourges of Christ’s persecutors.
Pelargoniums (Scented Geraniums)
The foliage is varied and very attractive and when crushed, give off a strong, aromatic scent resembling rose, cinnamon, mint, lemon, coconut and others. Fresh leaves may be used in baking to add flavor to fruit cups, or in beverages or finger bowls to add an interesting aroma. Dried leaves are used in teas, tisanes, potpourris and sachets. Those commonly grown are somewhat woody perennials with round leaves on short stalks, and bright flowers in big clusters produced from the upper parts of the stem. Other species are annuals or may have a striking succulent form.
Pereskia Aculeata (Lemon Vine)
Climbing, leaved cactus with lemon-scented flowers. Fruits that form are edible.
Plectranthus (Spur Flower)
The fragrance of plectranthus is especially noticeable. Most kinds have a warmly sweet fragrance. Cuban oregano is reminiscent of oregano or thyme. The strongest scent is from the Vicks plant. Some herbalists actually use its leaves as aromatherapy for colds and congestion.
Pogostemon Hyeanus (Patchouli)
This fragrant herb, with soft, opposite, egg-shaped leaves and square stems, grows from 2 to 3 feet in height, giving out the peculiar, characteristic odor of patchouli when rubbed.
Most varieties have white, scented flowers, lightly scented leaves and edible fruit.
Quisqualis Indica (Rangoon Creeper)
This plant flowers throughout the summer with fragrant blossoms that open white, darken to pink and eventually red.
Reseda Odorata (Mignonette)
This perennial plant is usually treated as an annual and grown from seed each spring. It is mainly cultivated for the lovely scent of its flowers, which grow in thick racemes up to 2 inches across. The tiny flowers may be greenish white with yellow or orange highlights. The elliptic to spatulate leaves grow 2 to 3 inches long.
Sinningia Tub Flora (Gloxinia)
The florist’s Gloxinia has been bred to emphasize the large flaring flowers that now come in most colors wither plain or spotted or picotee-edged. The leaves are in a rosette that gives a backdrop for the spectacular flowers.
Stephanotis Floribunda (Madagascar Jessamine)
Slender, twining vine, easily controlled. The groups of white, waxy, clustered flowers are very fragrant from spring to autumn, and are commonly used in bridal bouquets, known as the “Bridal Veil Vine”.
Tecoma Stans (Yellow Bells)
The shrubby types are easier to form into a medium size bush producing sprays of yellow flowers two or three times a year.
Tillandsia (Air Plants)
Some air plants have scented flowers: crocata, duratii, straminea
Trachelospermum (Confederate Jessamine)
Strong , wiry climber with clusters of strongly fragrant, star-shaped flowers. Leaves are shiny, dark green or variegated.
Upright or trailing plants with much divided leaves. Flowers in many-flowered clusters.
Viola odorata (Sweet Violet)
Heart-shaped leaves a few inches (5cm) in length almost hide the violet flowers that are about an inch (2.5cm) across.
Zingier (Culinary Ginger)
Some species have scented leaves and rhizomes.
Photo. Marisa Tajada