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Make Time to Stop and Smell the Flowers: 8 Plants and Shrubs with Relaxing Scents

Picking the right plants for your gardens not only makes your landscaping look beautiful, they can add pleasurable, relaxing scents. Choosing flower smells you enjoy is important because they can have a positive effect on your mood after a long, hectic day at the office.

Before you head to your local nursery or hire a landscaper, think about what scents you like. Some people like bright, sweet, and fruity smells, while others like more subdued, spicy, or herbal smells. From there, pick plants that have long bloom times and complement other flowers in your garden.

Here are eight popular types of flowering plants:

Lilac bushes

These grow to be large, attractive, and hardy plants. Their bright, sweet smell is a familiar sign of summer. The scent can be quite powerful; they usually bloom in May and June, as the air warms up. They’ll add a wonderful, classic aroma to your yard.

relaxing flowers

Viburnum carlesii

These are shrubs that grow well in full sun to partial shade. They typically grow to be about four to five feet tall but can grow as tall as eight feet at full maturity. Their beautiful white flowers form a snowball-like cluster, known as hemispherical cymes. They bloom in spring time and are very fragrant.

Carol Mackie Daphne

These plants bloom in both the spring and autumn are a little more subtle than previous plants, but are still known for their sweet scent. A hybrid cross created from Daphne and burkwoodii species, they bloom in the spring.


Native to North America, Fothergilla are attractive throughout three seasons. They have aromatic and showy spring flowers, green leaves in the summer that turn to brilliant yellow, red, and orange shades in the fall. The fall colors depend on the variety. Some have described the aroma as honey-like.

relaxing flowers

Clethra alnifolia

Also called summer sweet, because of its beautiful white or pink flowers, this shrub blooms in late July through August. They are described as having a sweet-spicy scent that is pervasive in the summer. They are a woodland plant that grow well in sandy, moist soil but look beautiful in residential gardens.

Rose shrub

These shrubs are a favorite. Rose blooms will often last through the summer, providing lots of time for admiration. Cultivated or wild roses look beautiful in yards, depending on the look you are going for. Their classic beauty and aroma will be a welcoming touch to your landscaping.  


If you want a spicier or more earthy smell, you can plant an herb garden. These plants also add functionality, as many of them can be cut and used for cooking. Some herbs worth considering are catnip, Nepeta (catmint), lavender, basil, or thyme.  

relaxing flowers

A warning about stargazer Lilies

These flowers are attractive and very fragrant. However, some people find them to be overpowering, and many people are allergic to lily pollen. If you like the smell, these tuberous plants make a pleasant addition to any garden and typically bloom in June and July — just make sure no one in your household is allergic to pollen.

There are a wide variety of plants to choose from; these are just a few of the many that are popular. To find some that you will love, go to your local nursery or take a walk through a nearby botanical garden. Take some time to observe and smell the different scents to see which ones you enjoy and relax your mood, then pick a few that have varied bloom times. The varied blossoms will give your garden a beautiful texture of smells throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons.  

To learn more about how you can create a calm and relaxing space in your backyard, download our free ebook, 13 Insider Tips to Creating a Beautiful Contemplation Garden.

13 Insider Tip to Creating a Beautiful Contemplation Garden

Moodscapes LLC is an organic landscape design and service company with a focus on helping you extend your life outdoors to enjoy activities on your own, as a family and with friends. We create opportunities for you to commune with and find joy and peace in nature and to live in an ecologically friendly and healthy environment. Please explore our landscape services and the portfolio that demonstrates many examples of our work.