Christmas box, Sarcococca confusa

Scented plants for December

We pick five plants that provide fragrance over the festive period.

The garden has a surprising amount of scent in December, and you can force bulbs for fragrance indoors, too. 

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Plus, by growing scented evergreens, you can enjoy year-round colour. Take a look at the evergreen plants in our Plant Finder for inspiration. 

Indoors, colourful, forced bulbs like hyacinths and paperwhite narcissi will brighten up gloomy winter days with their blooms, and fill rooms with their scent.

Discover five of the best scented plants for December, below. 

Christmas or sweet box, Sarcococca confusa, is a wonderful shrub to have in the garden.

Wintersweet

The lemon-yellow flowers of wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) are ideal for lighting up the winter garden, and they have a rich, spicy fragrance. 

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Bay

This handsome evergreen has a lovely scent as well as being indispensable in the kitchen. Bay can be trained and clipped as topiary, and will enjoy growing in a sunny, sheltered spot, such as south- or west-facing wall. 

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Paperwhite narcissi

The scent of paperwhite narcissi is unmistakeable. Like hyacinths and amaryllis, the bulbs can be ‘forced’ for Christmas flowers. Take a look at our advice on how to force paperwhite narcissi for Christmas.

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Hyacinths

The best way to enjoy hyacinths over the festive period is by buying ‘forced’ bulbs, or forcing the bulbs yourself. Take a look at our video guide on how to grow hyacinths for Christmas.

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Christmas box

Christmas or sweet box, Sarcococca confusa, is a wonderful shrub to have in the garden. Robust and easy to grow, it can be grown in shade or sun, and the evergreen foliage can be clipped into shapes or hedges. Best of all, vanilla-scented blooms appear from December to March.

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Bay for bouquet garni

Bouquet garni is a parcel of herbs used to flavour dishes like casseroles, soups and sauces. Creating your own is simple – just tie together a few bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme and parsley