Top 6 Fragrant Plants for Australian Summers

By November 19, 2021 Media No Comments
Fragrant Plants

Summer fragrance

Fragrant plants are not only beautiful to look but also stimulate the senses with their lovely smells. Our favourite summer fragrances at Kilby are:

A favourite for gardens across Melbourne, this evergreen shrub is more than just a filler plant. During the summer months this lush green shrub produces masses of white flowers with a stunning orange blossom scent. If allowed to grow untrained, Murrayas will mature to a size of 2m tall by 1.5m wide, making them an attractive evergreen addition to mixed borders. Their smaller leaf-size also makes them perfect for clipped hedges and topiary. Murrayas prefer a full sun to part shade position, although flowers tend to be more plentiful in full sun. It is best to prune Murrayas after flowering to promote bushy growth.

Its unique and fragrant scent makes Chinese Star Jasmine a popular option for Australian gardens. Featuring tiny white flowers blooming in Spring, this climber uses thin, twining stems to cling to support structures like tension wires, trellises, or mesh. It can also ramble along the ground to form a dense groundcover, making it a highly versatile plant in the garden. Jasmine is a fast-growing variety and should be pruned after flowering and regularly throughout summer, particularly in humid and wet climates where the plant will flourish and grow more rapidly.

As a hardy variety, Star Jasmine enjoys the winter months when the plant prepares to flower in spring. It is not advisable to prune the plant excessively during winter as this will affect its flowering ability. The leaves may turn brown in excessively cold temperatures with some leaf loss, but the plant will bounce back when the warmer months return.

It is recommended to let the plant flower and mature a little before pruning. Plant in well-drained soil and keep up the watering, however stagnant water will affect the plant’s health and contribute to root rot. It’s important to note that jasmine may be toxic to animals, including cats, so training pets to stay away and to not eat the flowers, stems, leaves, or roots is advisable.

A great plant for colour, lushness and fragrance, Viburnum odoratissimum is one not to go past. Sweet Viburnum has distinct large green glossy leaves which form an ideal informal hedge and is best suited for dense screening. Small fragrant flowers appear in spring followed by red berries. Once established, it will tolerate most soil types and conditions including drought, coastal conditions and frost. Growing to 4m by 3m it’s a favourite among landscapers for creating a lush backdrop. Suited to growing in full sun to part shade, Viburnum odoratissimum makes an excellent container specimen too.

Another favourite is Osmanthus delavayi – best known as the popular varieties ‘Pearly Gates’ and ‘Heaven Scent.’ These varieties grow to about 1.5m – 2m high. Clusters of white, perfumed flowers appear in winter and spring. Osmanthus are great for pots and can substitute a box hedge with the added bonus of fragrance.

‘Heaven Scent’ is a dense bushy cultivar which features masses of tubular white, sweetly fragrant flowers in spring. This variety is hardy and easy to grow in full sun or shade and tolerant of light frost. ‘Heaven Scent’ will grow to 2x2m in ideal conditions however it enjoys being pruned and can be kept at a smaller width and height.

Another favourite is ‘Pearly Gates,’ a low growing shrub with its own spectacular floral display. Growing to 1m x 1m wide, the dense evergreen foliage of this shrub is coloured with rich, dark greens and can be clipped into a neat hedge or kept in containers. Similar to ‘Heaven Scent,’ ‘Pearly Gates’ become covered in fragrant white flowers from spring. This variety is suited to dry conditions once established but can also tolerate shade and hot or cold climates, making it a favourite of many.

Everyone at Kilby loves our evergreen magnolias, not only because they are a great specimen in any garden, but because they produce enormous, perfumed flowers through spring and summer. Our favourite evergreen magnolias include ‘Kay Parris,’ ‘Little Gem,’ ‘Exmouth,’ ‘St Mary,’ ‘Coolwyn Gloss,’ and the ever-popular ‘Teddy Bear.’ Most varieties produce white, saucer-shaped flowers which contrast beautifully against their glossy foliage.

Planting a hedge or an avenue of magnolias will ensure you have a magnificent view as well as a sweetly smelling landscape.

All the above varieties weather our cold Melbourne winters beautifully and can be kept looking lush in summer with adequate watering. As is the general rule with most magnolias, pruning to shape is suggested to avoid rogue branches. For more details on our evergreen magnolia varieties, be sure to check out our September blog.

A favourite amongst both amateur and experienced landscapers, one can’t go past the heavy fragrance of a gardenia in full flower. Gardenia augusta ‘Florida’ and Gardenia augusta ‘Magnifica’ are our most popular varieties. The ‘Magnifica’ has lush, rich green foliage with heavily perfumed flowers. Growing to 2m in height by 1.5m in width, this dense evergreen shrub can be used a hedge or as a specimen shrub. Be sure to protect this beauty from harsh summer sun and keep well-watered. Gardenia ‘Magnifica’ is a great addition to any garden and can thrive in pots and containers.

Gardenia augusta ‘Florida’ is another cultivar with gorgeous white flowers and lush foliage. It also produced strongly perfumed flowers but with a more rounded form, making it a popular choice for formal or mixed garden beds. Gardenia ‘Florida’ grows to around 1×1 and performs well in containers. Like all other gardenias, ‘Florida’ needs protection from harsh afternoon sun and regular irrigation. Due to its naturally rounded form, this variety is ideal for forming into balls or in use as a medium hedge.