Many of the most common indoor plants we choose for our homes are foliage plants – they’re grown for the beauty of their leaves. If they flower at all, the blooms are often quite insignificant.
There are many fragrant flowering plants commonly seen out in the garden that is also suitable to grow indoors. It’s probably best to just bring them in while they are at their flowering peak – for the rest of the year they can sometimes be quite uninteresting and they will do better outdoors in the long term.
Some scented plants have quite heady perfumes that could be a step too far for some people. Gentle, wafting scents that aren’t cloying are the best, here are a few of our favourites.
Top 8 most fragrant indoor plants
English or French lavenders grow well in pots, preferring to grow outside but they can be brought in for weeks at a time while in bloom. There are lots of beautiful name varieties to choose from, including some with pretty ruffled spikes of flowers.
Maybe a touch too strong for some, the scent of gardenias will permeate throughout the house. The lush green foliage is an excellent counterfoil for the creamy white blooms that will last for several weeks on the bush.
Wax flower or Hoya
The waxy pink to red flowers of the hoya have a delicate perfume that won’t overpower. This climbing plant does well indoors in good light and some warmth. Its only downfall is that the heads of flowers produce a lot of nectar which can drop and make a sticky mess on your floor or furniture so make sure your floor is protected.
Potted citrus tree
Lemon, lime, cumquat and orange trees all have beautifully scented flowers and fruits, and many also make great potted plants that can be brought indoors while they’re in flower and fruiting. The waxy white flowers will last for a few weeks but when they’ve finished, the developing fruits and leaves will still emit a silicate citrusy scent.
Bay laurel or sweet laurel
Better known as a culinary herb adding a light piquancy to soups, casseroles and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, Bay Laurel has lightly fragrant foliage that is pleasant indoors. While the tree itself will flower, the leaves that are most appreciated. Rotate it between outside and inside every few weeks to keep it healthy.
Better known as an outdoor hedging plant in warm climates, Orange jessamine (Murraya paniculata) has white citrus-scented flowers that bear a strong resemblance to true citrus flowers. Its leaves will also emit a perfume if rubbed. It is another of those plants best grown outside and brought indoors only while in flower.
Spring flowering bulbs like hyacinths (pictured) and freesias can be grown in pots and brought inside while their at their flowering and perfumed best. Their season is only brief – maybe a couple of weeks at the most – but their beauty and fragrance will add a glamorous touch to the indoors. There are many different varieties in shades from white to crimson available.
The pure white, waxy, star-shaped flowers of stephanotis have long been used in bridal bouquets but their beauty is best appreciated when you have a plant in flower in your home. They are sweetly scented so the blooms are freely produced on this vine. They are best grown outside and brought in when in bloom, stephanotis needs a brightly lit position out of draughts.