Growing houseplants – six scented houseplants

Six scented houseplants

Discover six houseplants to grow for their rich perfume, as well as their appearance.

Houseplants are definitely in vogue right now, thanks in part to the popularity of stylish ‘shelfie’ images on Instagram. There are many benefits to growing houseplants: they make a room feel more homely and welcoming, they help keep the air clean and they can even boost your mood. However, surprisingly few plants that cope well with indoor conditions are scented.

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We’ve come up with a list of fantastic houseplants that will provide fragrance. Some are subtly scented, while others have a more intense perfume. Bear in mind that the fragrance from most houseplants comes when the plants are in flower. For a longer season of scent, choose a variety of fragrant plants that bloom at different times.

Browse our list of scented houseplants, below.


Scented pelargoniums

Pelargonium 'Grandeur Odorata'
Pelargonium ‘Grandeur Odorata’

Also called geraniums, scented pelargoniums have highly fragrant leaves with a huge variety of different fragrances. While they can be grown in the garden, they make excellent houseplants. What’s more, by simply infusing a few fragrant leaves in a bowl of water, you can create a natural, home-grown air freshener for any room in the house.


Jasminum polyanthum

Jasminum polyanthum
Chinese jasmine, Jasminum polyanthum

Chinese jasmine is a delightful climber, perfect for growing in the conservatory or a large, well-lit bathroom. It has extremely fragrant blooms, which appear in huge clouds in late winter and spring. Train it up a bamboo wigwam or obelisk.


Orange, Citrus × sinensis

Orange, Citrus × sinensis
Orange, Citrus × sinensis

Citrus trees, including oranges and lemons, are gorgeous plants with glossy, dark green foliage, highly fragrant white blooms and attractive fruit. While they can be grown outside in some areas of the UK (they’re hardy to -5°C), they also make fantastic houseplants. Hungry plants, in summer they need feeding fortnightly with a citrus plant food.


Pansy orchid, Miltonia

Pansy orchid, Miltonia
Pansy orchid, Miltonia

These orchids bear fragrant flowers that last for up to six weeks. They need a humid environment at temperatures of no less than 15ºC. Water weekly by sitting the pot in a tray of water for 15 minutes and then leave it to drain throughly before moving it back into position.


Stephanotis floribunda

Stephanotis floribunda
Stephanotis floribunda

The flowers of Stephanotis floribunda have a jasmine-like fragrance and last for several weeks. A twining climber with dark, evergreen leaves, it can be trained up an obelisk or bamboo frame. Grow in a humid environment at an even temperature of around 15ºC.


Paper-white narcissi

Paper white narcissi
Paper-white narcissi
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Perfect for displaying at Christmas, paper-white narcissi are gorgeously fragrant plants in the daffodil family. You don’t need to pot them in compost, gravel is fine – simply choose a nice container (without drainage) and nestle the bulbs in, packed tightly together, on a layer of gravel, so the top of each bulb sits just above the rim of the pot. Add more gravel and water to just below the base of the bulb. Keep the container somewhere cool, dry and dark, for around eight weeks. Then, once the buds appear, move the pot to a sunnier position to encourage the bulbs to flower.