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15 Wonderfully Fragrant Evergreen Shrubs For A Charming Garden

15 Wonderfully Fragrant Evergreen Shrubs For A Charming Garden

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Few plants can elevate your landscape better than evergreens. They provide interest all year long.

Evergreens stay green throughout the year and many of them carry gorgeous blossoms and berries. But that’s not all they can do!

Some evergreens exude a wonderful fragrance that you won’t be able to resist! But how to choose the right ones?

Start with a plant or two from this list and your garden will thank you!

Let’s get started!

#1 Banana Shrub

USDA zone: 7-10

Sun exposure: Full to part sun

Size: 6-15 ft tall, 6-8 ft wide

Believe it or not, this shrub is actually a magnolia. It will open its flowers in May and emit a captivating banana scent.

Yet, it’s not only the fragrance that makes this plant so popular. The banana shrub will give your garden multiple seasons of interest. Its evergreen foliage is there to last, while showy and cinnamon-colored buds stay closed until May. Then, they open into colorful blossoms.

Plant this shrub near your windows or doorways for the best effect, and enjoy!

#2 Daphne

USDA zone: 4-9

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Size: 3-4 ft tall, 2-4 ft wide

Daphne is one of those plants that will bloom in the cold winter months. The red-purple flowers of this shrub have a spicy-sweet scent with a note of citrus.

Bear in mind that this plant establishes slowly and doesn’t like disturbance. That’s why you should plant it in its permanent spot and not move it afterwards.

Ensure its soil is moist, humus-rich, and well-draining, and that’s it!

#3 Fragrant Sweet Box

USDA zone: 6-9

Sun exposure: Part to full shade

Size: 3-4 ft tall and wide

The name says it all. This plant will adorn your garden with a sweet smell you won’t be able to resist.

And its deep green foliage and creamy flowers will give your garden a year long interest.

Keep this shade-loving perennial in a well-drained growing medium, and it will flourish!

#4 Fragrant Tea Olive

USDA zone: 7-10

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Size: 10-20 ft tall, 8-10 ft wide

This plant thrives in coastal areas, where it can get up to 20-30 ft tall with a 15-foot spread. Yet, it doesn’t get taller than 20 feet in most other regions.

The tree produces gorgeous white clusters in spring, although the flowering can extend into summer and fall. 

My favorite thing about it is its fragrance. It has a rich, honey-peach scent that sometimes reminds me of apricots.

Keep it in full sun in colder regions, and ensure it gets afternoon shade in hotter climates. Plant your fragrant tea olive in a moist and well-drained soil, and it will flourish.

#5 Gardenia

USDA zone: 8-11

Sun exposure: Part shade

Size: 3-8 ft tall and wide

We love this garden staple for its waxy white flowers and their spicy fragrance. The blossoms appear in spring and summer, but the evergreen leaves are there to stay all year long.

If your gardenia isn’t blooming, make sure to feed it properly. Give it some fertilizer in late June to encourage flowering, but not in fall.

Plant it in a fertile and acidic substrate, and you should be good to go!

#6 Hardy Thorny Olive

USDA zone: 6-10

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Size: Up to 25 ft tall, 15 ft wide

The dense branches of thorny olives hide numerous clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers in October and November.

They smell like gardenias, so you can pair them together for a more powerful fragrance.

Thorny olives can get out of control, which is why you should prune them. They grow fast and will spread by suckers.

#7 Japanese Skimmia

USDA zone: 6-8

Sun exposure: Part to full shade

Size: 2-7 ft tall, 5 ft wide

Japanese skimmia is on the list of the best architectural plants. It will adorn your garden with leathery foliage and creamy flowers and red berries.

The leaves exude a pleasant aroma when you crush them. And flowers aren’t far behind. They also smell incredible and will appear in spring.

Keep your Japanese skimmia in a fertile substrate, and that’s it!

#8 Lilac

USDA zone: 2-8

Sun exposure: Full sun

Size: 12-15 ft tall, 10-12 ft wide

You can grow lilacs in Colorado and almost any other state. These shrubs are hardy down to zone 2 (although most of them prefer zone 3 and above).

Their delicate, fresh, and floral fragrance reminds me of spring every time I smell it. Blue, purple, pink, and white flowers appear from April and last until June.

Make sure to prune this shrub often to keep it blooming throughout its lifetime.

#9 Mexican Orange

USDA zone: 7-10

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Size: 4-8 ft tall and wide

I love the smell of oranges, and this low-maintenance hedging plant will make sure of it. White star-like flowers exude this smell in spring and summer, but leaves will keep your garden smelling of oranges all year long. 

Crush them between your fingers and that’s it!

The Mexican orange thrives in warmer regions, so it’s perfect for southern gardens. Protect it from harsh winter conditions, and it will flourish. This plant will even become a bit drought-resistant when established.

#10 Mountain Laurel

USDA zone: 5-9

Sun exposure: Full sun to full shade

Size: 6-15 ft tall and wide

You can find mountain laurel on the list of plants native to Pennsylvania. This shrub tolerates various light levels, but it grows best in partial shade.

Flowers appear in corymbs with white, rose, or purple markings inside the cup. They appear between May and June and emit a grape-like fragrance.

Deadhead the flowers after they wane and prune the tree to encourage bushy growth.

#11 Paper Bush

USDA zone: 7-10

Sun exposure: Full sun to dappled shade

Size: 8 ft tall and wide

Give this shrub plenty of sunlight and it will reward you with yellow, white, or red blossoms towards the end of winter or the beginning of spring.

Fragrant flowers adorn empty branches and fill your garden with a gardenia-like scent. Plant them underneath your windows for the best effect.

Keep your paper bush in a loamy, rich, and well-drained soil for optimum growth and blooming.

#12 Prague Viburnum

USDA zone: 5-8

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Size: 8-12 ft tall and wide

It is the creamy-white balls of countless flowers that made me love this plant. Its subtle sweet smell will keep you outside from May to June.

Later, the flowers turn red, and eventually, glossy black berries. Its leaves remain evergreen unless cold northern winters damage them beyond recognition.

That’s why you should protect them during winter if you live in a cold climate.

#13 Star Jasmine

USDA zone: 8-10

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Size: 3-6 ft tall and wide

If you’re considering getting some plants for privacy, don’t miss out on the star jasmine. It usually doesn’t grow more than 3-6 ft tall, but it can get up to 10-20 ft tall if you allow it to climb a trellis, wall, or some other supporting structure.

Fragrant honey-smelling white flowers appear in the summer months, while the evergreen foliage lasts all year long.

Keep this plant in full sun or provide it with some shade during hot afternoons. Plant your star jasmine in a well-drained and mildly acidic soil, and that’s it!

#14 Sweetshrub

USDA zone: 5-9

Sun exposure: Full to part sun

Size: 6-9 ft tall and wide

If you want to enrich your garden with a sweet, melon-like fragrance in spring, the sweetshrub is your guy.

The good news is that there are many varieties, so you’re bound to find one that will fit your color scheme. Burgundy to yellow – these flowers have it all!

Plant your sweetshrub in a humus-rich substrate, and that’s it!

#15 Virginia Sweetspire

USDA zone: 5-9

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Size: 4-6 ft tall and wide

This shrub can get up to 8 feet tall if you keep it in moist locations with dappled shade throughout the day. That’s why you should find a good spot that can fit its mature size. Or at least prune it to control its spread.

Flowers of the Virginia sweetspire emit a sweet and floral scent. 

This plant can easily naturalize in your garden, which will make its care even easier!