Winter is a season that can be packed with some sublime scents, from the heady fragrance of Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, to the delicious wafts of Christmas box.
Forced bulbs are perfect for providing winter scent indoors. By starting the forcing process in autumn, you can be enjoying both the blooms and fragrance of hyacinths, tulips and daffodils come February.
Outdoor scented plants are abound, too, and include winter honeysuckle and Daphne mezereum.
View our pick of the top five plants for their beautiful winter scent, below.
Hamamelis (witch hazel)
Not only are the fiery flowers reminiscent of dazzling fireworks, but witch hazels have wonderful scent too. Cultivars of Hamamelis mollis and Hamamelis vernalis are among the most scented witch hazels and include ‘Goldcrest’ and ‘Brevipetala’.
Pale yellow witch hazel flowers
Daffodils are easy to force indoors. For quick blooms, you can buy ‘prepared’ narcissi to force, or you can do the ‘preparation’ yourself, by chilling ordinary bulbs for nine weeks at 5-7°C. Paperwhite narcissi like ‘Paperwhite Ziva’ are the most scented daffodils and are often sold ‘prepared’.
Small white blooms of Narcissus papyraceus
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’
Daphne species are known for their incredible fragrance. ‘Jacqueline Postill’ has delicately pink flowers, which are white in the centre, but best of all, they’re intensely scented. Plant it next to outdoor seating or paths to get the most of this shrub, and avoid transplanting once in situ.
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ flowers, white inside with magenta-pink outers
Mahonia x media
Mahonias look particularly good at the back of borders, where their cheery yellow flowers can brighten things up. The upright growing habit of ‘Winter Sun’ lends itself to its fountain-like winter appearance, which sees masses of sweetly, scented flowers produced.
Yellow flowering Mahonia x media
Gardening in shade? Christmas box, Sarcococca confusa, is extremely tolerant of shade – perfect for brightening the darkest winter days with its pure white, vanilla-scented flowers. Plant near a path or in the front garden to fully appreciate the fragrance.
White flowers of Christmas box dangling from the stem
Plant scented plants near the front door
Try planting winter-scented plants in your front garden – on days when you do not venture into the back garden, you can still enjoy their scent as you go to and from the house.