Guide to the 30 Best Smelling Flowers

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Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or someone who just likes having fresh-cut blooms to scent your home, you’re likely familiar with how flowers can transform the smell of wherever they are, from a landscaped garden to a vase in a living room. Poets, artists and interior designers alike all recognize flowers for their ability to be both a stunning centerpiece and a way to sweeten the scent of the air.

Whether you want to emulate your favorite floral perfume everywhere or just love the smell of flowers, we’ve put together a list of the 30 best smelling flowers for outdoors, indoors and gifting as a bouquet. These options will help you have a sweet-smelling floral garden or home for weeks.

Table of Contents:

For Outdoor Spaces

For Indoor Decorating

For Gifting

Best Smelling Flowers for Outdoor Spaces

There are many things to consider when planting an outdoor garden—space, landscaping, the insects they attract and color themes, just to name a few. However, as any gardener will tell you, the scent of your chosen flowers really elevates and adds another layer of beauty to your outdoor oasis.

Boyce Tankersley, director of living plant documentation at the Chicago Botanic Garden, notes that “fragrance adds an extra layer of richness to the landscape.” Learn which of these 10 flowers can transform your outdoor space from drab to fab and add that needed, richer extra layer of scent.

1. Gardenia

Gardenia jasminoides

A favorite in the southern United States, the gardenia blooms everywhere, regardless of temperature. These are a sweet-smelling but not overpowering bloom with large, joyful, white petals, making them perfect for adding both sight and smell you’ll be able to enjoy in your spring and summer garden.

Gardenias like moist, well-drained soil, and grow best in USDA hardiness zones 6–11.

Try: August Beauty or Kleim’s Hardy for big, hardy flowers that grow both tall and wide.

For a perfume reminiscent of this gardener favorite, try Gardenia by Chanel.

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2. Jasmine

Jasminum

These delicate, fragrant blooms grow best in warmer climates that pair well with its unique, tropical smell. Small and white, this versatile vine plant can be used to decorate an outdoor space in any number of ways: hanging baskets, pots or planted directly in the ground with a trellis that can guide these plants upward, with a scent that is commonly used in essential oils.

Try: Common jasmine or Spanish jasmine for especially fragrant, fast-growing flowers.

3. Magnolia

Magnolia grandiflora

Native to the southeastern United States, this southern belle of a flower is highly regarded for its sweet and softly fragrant scent. Though these trees may be slower growers, the payoff is big when the first magnolias start to bloom. Plant in a full-sun spot with rich, well-draining soil, and give plenty of room to grow when planting this tree; some magnolias can grow up to 40 feet wide!

Try: Bigleaf magnolia or Sweet Bay magnolia for tall, evergreen trees with creamy and fragrant flowers.

4. Carnation

Dianthus caryophyllus 

These flowers have both a unique appearance and scent—having a recognizable vanilla-esque, almost spicy fragrance that adds an extra something special to your garden. These plants prefer full sun.

Try: Sweet William or Cheddar Pinks for colorful and fragrant flowers that will add something special to your garden landscape.

5. Rose

Rosa

These iconic flowers are known around the world for their delicate, beautiful and romantic  scent—there’s a reason rose perfumes are so popular. Roses are a must-have in any gardener’s outdoor oasis, and aren’t as hard to care for as their reputation may state. These bloom best in full sun, and be sure to check on the package to see if the seeds or starters you’re purchasing have a strong scent or not.

Try: Mr. Lincoln or Queen Elizabeth for large, elegant blooms in a variety of colors and scents.

6. Butterfly Bush

Buddleja

These hardy, delicately honey-scented shrubs will likely become a new staple in your summertime garden, preferring full sun. They bloom all season long and attract pollinators, making this a beautiful and useful addition to your outdoor space—and have a dwarf variety, so it won’t overwhelm your garden.

Try: Blue-chip (non-invasive) or Purple Ice Delight for colorful, fragrant bushes that insects will love to pollinate.

7. Freesia

Freesia Corymbosa 


These softly-scented blooms will add a sugary-sweet element to the scent theme of your garden, having a fruity, berry-like scent that reminds some of a favorite childhood cereal.

Blooming best in zones 9–10, the lighter colors of this summertime flower, both white and yellow, will be the most fragrant options for any outdoor garden.

Try: Bi Color Freesia or White Wonder Freesia for especially sweet-smelling, colorful blooms that will elevate your gardenscape.

8. Honeysuckle

Lonicera

A summer staple in the U.S., these flowers will add the subtle but gorgeous scent of natural, honeyed sugar to your garden. Try twisting a non-invasive, vining variety to a trellis or fence and watch them blossom before your eyes. Keep your honeysuckle in full sun with moist, well-draining soil.

Try: Trumpet honeysuckle or Japanese honeysuckle for fragrant and beautiful vines that can transform a trellis or fence from drab to fab.

For a perfume with notes of this springtime vine, try Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger.

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9. Hyacinth

Hyacinthus

With a scent reminiscent of strawberries combined with honeysuckle, these unique florals make an appealing addition to any outdoor garden. Growing best in zones 4–8 and preferring full to partial sun, these flowers are relatively easy to care for with a big and beautiful payoff.

Try: Blue Jacket or Jan Bos for single-flower plants in a rainbow of colors—Blue Jacket blooms bluish-purple, while Jan Bos is fuschia.

10. Wisteria

Wisteria sinensis

Another vining plant that will help dress up a lattice or make a statement on an outdoor wall, these unique flowers are perfect for adjusting to your environment as the scent varies based on the variety chosen—some smelling musky, while others are sweetly scented. These plants aren’t picky with sun: they can grow in partial shade!

Try: Japanese wisteria or Silky wisteria for strongly-scented, gorgeous vines that you can enjoy for years to come.

Best Smelling Flowers for Indoor Decorating

Bringing fresh-cut blooms indoors helps level up your interior design on a few levels. Not only do they smell great and bring a bit of the outdoors inside, they could even have a positive effect on your mood. A Rutgers University study found that having fresh-cut flowers in your home help increase happiness levels, reduce stress and overall make indoor spaces seem more welcoming and brighter.

Below, we’ve found the 10 best-smelling flowers for decorating your home. Whether you use them as a desk accessory or a way to brighten up multiple rooms, you’re sure to find a bloom that you can rely on to make your house smell great.

11. Stephanotis

Stephanotis floribunda

These unique, star-shaped flowers have a pleasantly soft floral fragrance that is soothing without being overbearing. When indoors, these tropical flowers, also called “Madagascar jasmine,” prefer being placed in bright, direct sunlight to reach their full, beautiful potential.

Try: Arranging Stephanotis flowers in wedding or gift bouquets for a unique, delicate aesthetic.

12. Lavender

Lavandula

This fan-favorite scent amongst aromatherapists isn’t just a great essential oil—the earthy and herbal-smelling lavender plant makes for a gorgeous centerpiece in the home, with a soothing scent to boot. These plants require high levels of direct sunlight, so keep them on or near a windowsill to help them thrive.

Try: English lavender or Common lavender to enjoy their herbaceous and calming fragrance.

For a perfume with the aromatherapeutic properties of lavender, try English Lavender by Yardley London.

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13. Passionflower

Passiflora

If you want an indoor plant that will make a statement, the passionflower is your best bet. Not only will house guests marvel at its almost alien-like appearance, it’s also an exotic flower with an exotic, almost tropical scent to boot. Keep your passionflower in a bright spot, away from drafts—and when it starts getting tall, help stabilize with a trellis.

Try: White Wedding or May Pop for large, creamy and scented flowers that make a statement in any room.

14. Plumeria

Plumeria rubra

These show-stopping blooms may be tricky to grow, but the payoff is huge for flowers this beautiful and with such a unique scent. Like wisteria, the scent of plumeria varies based on the varietal. Some plants smell citrusy, while others carry a sweeter aroma almost like honey.

Keep your plumeria in a warm, bright spot with moderately moist soil, and consider letting it show off in a sunroom or on the patio in the summer to be sure it gets enough light to grow.

Try: White plumeria or Singapore plumeria for richly scented flowers that will transport you to an exotic location with every smell.

15. Orange Jasmine

Murraya paniculata

Though these flowers bloom white and not orange, they do give off the tropical scent of orange blossoms. Not only do they have a gorgeous scent, the full-sized plant makes for a beautiful foliage centerpiece. Keep your plant in a bright area with high humidity and no draft to enjoy its beauty.

Try: Rubbing the leaves of your orange jasmine plant—even when the flowers aren’t in bloom, it gives off a creamy, tropical scent.

16. Orchid

Orchidaceae

These temperamental plants may require a bit of care, but their beauty in both scent and sight makes up for the TLC they need to grow. Due to there being so many varieties of orchids, the scents vary greatly—some have a less pleasing scent, while others have a pleasant, floral aroma.

There are many different varieties of orchids to choose from, with the oncidium being one of the easiest to keep as a houseplant. Keep your orchid in a humid, bright spot, and water regularly.

Try: Phalaenopsis (moth) orchid or cattleya orchid for unique-looking flowers that make a statement as the centerpiece on a dining room table.

For a perfume with orchid scent notes, try J’adore by Dior.

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17. Begonia

Begoniaceae

In some varieties, the spicy, vanilla-like fragrance of the begonia needs to be coaxed out by being placed in bright sunlight, but the payoff is worth it. These brightly colored, richly scented blooms contrast beautifully with the dark coloring of their leaves. Water regularly to enjoy these blooms for weeks in the spring and summer.

Try: Torch Pink or Cocktail Series for unique flowers with a strong scent that make a great focal point for the living room or kitchen.

18. Paperwhites

Narcissus papyraceus

These sweet-smelling, almost musky flowers are in the daffodil family. Perfect for beginners, these blooms don’t even need soil to thrive—they can be grown with just a vase and water, away from direct sunlight.

Try: Grand Primo or Galilee for powerfully strong scented flowers with a delicate look.

19. Scented Geranium

Pelargonium graveolens

This is a herb flower that only emits its scent when asked—that is, the fuzzy petals of the geranium need to be bruised or crushed in order to emit any sort of scent, which is clean, bold and herbaceous. Keep your scented geranium near a window in bright, direct sunlight, and rub the petals whenever you’re in need of a pick-me-up.

Try: Citronella or lemon balm for earthy-scented blooms that double as a way of adding flavor to any meal.

20. Angel’s Trumpet

Brugmansia

These show-stopping, perfumed plants can be grown both indoors and outdoors, making for a truly stunning plant that can brighten up an entire home with both looks and smell. Keep your Angel’s Trumpet in full sun near a window, and watch as it unfurls its magnificent, unique flowers for you to enjoy.

Try: Betty Marshall or Frosty Pink for truly show-stopping blooms that make an excellent addition to your home or patio.

Best Smelling Flowers for Gifting

For generations, big events from graduation to birthdays have been celebrated with the gift of flowers. The gesture of giving flowers to someone, from a single flower to a massive bouquet, is a thoughtful expression of emotion, from celebration to remembrance.

These 10 flowers make not only beautifully-scented bouquets, but will be a welcome gift for anyone celebrating or just needing a small pick-me-up.

21. Peony

Paeonia

These springtime blooms may have a short bloom season (typically from April to June), so be sure to give these when you can to celebrate graduations or weddings. These sweetly-scented, show-stopping flowers, with scents ranging from rose-like to citrusy, make a beautiful addition to any bouquet, but are best when they can shine on their own.

Best for: Symbolizing romance, prosperity, good fortune and a happy marriage, peonies are the perfect flower to give a springtime bride.

To embrace the beauty and scent of the peony all over, try Pleasures by Estee Lauder.

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22. Lily

Lilium

These fan-favorite florals are renowned for their uniquely creamy, almost clove-like scent. Once a lily flower blooms, it emits a delicate floral fragrance that can fill any room they’re placed in. Perfect for gifting alone or in a larger arrangement, these are a statement flower that anyone will be happy to receive.

Best for: Though lilies represent different things based on their color, they most commonly symbolize purity and devotion. Based on that, these are the perfect flower for gifting to an expectant mother or newly engaged couple.

23. Daffodil

Narcissus

An easily recognizable flower, these sunny yellow blooms are in the same family as paperwhites. Possessing a light scent reminiscent of leaves, these happy flowers can both stand on their own as a summertime arrangement or add a splash of color and lightness to a larger, more formal bouquet.

Best for: Daffodils are a symbol of hope and new beginnings, being the perfect flower to include in a bouquet celebrating a new job or new opportunity.

24. Heliotrope

Heliotropium

These lightly scented, closely clustered Victorian flowers make a beautiful addition to any bouquet needing some rounding out. These flowers have been nicknamed “cherry pie flower” since they smell like vanilla, cherry and almond.

Coming in both pink and purple varieties with distinctive rounded, dark green leaves, the heliotrope is a great addition to a spring or summertime bouquet needing some more color and fragrance.

Best for: These flowers represent devotion and eternal love, making these a great flower to include in a bridal shower bouquet.

25. Sweet Pea

Lathyrus odoratus

The light, springy scent of these wholesome, sweet-smelling blooms are often replicated in perfumes, soaps and other bath or personal care products. The light, delicate scent reminiscent of orange blossoms mixed with honey makes sweet peas the perfect flower to blend in well with a larger, more ornate floral arrangement.

Best for: Sweet peas symbolize delicate pleasure, and are the perfect gift to surprise someone very near and dear to your heart—like a parent, close friend or relative.

26. Lilac

Syringa

These richly-scented florals are powerfully aromatic, easily filling up a room with their sweet, perfume-like fragrance. These flowers work best when they can stand and shine on their own in a bouquet, and don’t have to compete with other flowers for beauty and scent.

Best for: The exact meaning of lilac varies based on the color of the bloom, but the color of lilac symbolizes a first love—making this a perfect flower to give on a first date.

27. Chocolate cosmos

Cosmos atrosanguineus

Though cosmos themselves are a beautiful flower, the chocolate cosmos is unique because of its chocolate-like coloring and scent. Due to its special aroma, these flowers work best either on their own or when used in a bouquet with flowers that have light to no fragrance.

Best for: Cosmos flowers are a symbol of peace and wholeness, which make these a great option to gift to anyone having a tough time.

28. Tulip

Tulipa

These easily-recognizable plants come in a variety of colors and scents, ranging from spicy-sweet to subtle. These show-stopping plants make a beautiful bouquet when composed of different tulip colors, perfect for celebrating the end of winter and rebirth of spring.

Best for: Tulips are often the first flowers to bloom in the spring, leading them to represent rebirth in addition to deep love. A tulip bouquet is perfect for presenting to an expectant family at a baby shower.

29. Lily-of-the-valley

Convallaria majalis

Though they may sound similar, these delicate, creamy white flowers are very different from lilies. These have a more floral and green scent, and make for a beautifully subtle, standalone bouquet in the springtime.

Best for: Lily-of-the-valley has come to be a symbol of all things feminine: sweetness, motherhood and purity. These values make these a great flower to gift to a young woman on her birthday, or to help a bride celebrate her big day.

For a perfume with notes of this uniquely green and floral scent, try The One by Dolce & Gabbana.

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30. Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum morifolium

These unique, aromatic flowers carry a different smell than other perfumey florals, having an earthy, almost herbaceous scent. Chrysanthemums make a great addition to any bouquet that allows its true beauty, colors and scent to take center stage.

Best for: Chrysanthemums traditionally symbolize joy, longevity and optimism, which makes these the perfect flower to gift to a friend or family member who needs a tangible bit of happiness.

No matter if you’re decorating your home, planting a lush flower garden or deciding on the best flowers to send to a friend, you can’t go wrong with any of these 30 options. From the world-renowned rose to the unique orchid, these blooms will add both beautiful sights and scents reminiscent of any of our discount floral perfumes.

Sources: Southern Living | Country Living | Gilmour (1, 2) | Grower Direct (1, 2) | Balcony Garden Web | Soft Schools | Better Homes & Gardens | Country Living UK | The Spruce (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) | Pick Up Flowers | Flower Web | FTD Blog | Teleflora Blog | Bloom Nation | Gardening Know How | Gardenia (1, 2, 3) | Organic Authority | Gardenista | Garden Lovers Club | University of Wisconsin—Madison

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