Best Fragrant Perennials – Northeast
Name: Phlox divaricata ‘May Breeze’
USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Size: 15 to 18 inches tall and 14 to 18 inches wide
Conditions: Partial to full shade; moist, well-drained soil
This is one of my favorite spring plants because of how easy it is to grow. ‘May Breeze’ woodland phlox is the perfect perennial in shade, where it will vigorously spread out and form small patches along the edge of the garden. White flowers are held in clusters above the disease-resistant foliage. The blooms begin emerging in midspring and continue until early summer. ‘May Breeze’ can also be used in containers, where it combines beautifully with other spring staples. Regardless of where you plant ‘May Breeze’ phlox, make sure that it’s close to where people will be walking or sitting because its wonderful sweet fragrance is pleasant and strong. This is also a great early bloomer for feeding hummingbirds and butterflies, and it makes an excellent cut flower for small vases.
Name: Dianthus ‘Devon Flavia’
Zones: 5 to 9
Size: 10 to 12 inches tall and wide
Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil
The Scent First Series™ of dianthus is a great group of long-blooming, strongly scented plants that are easy to grow in containers, rock gardens, and troughs as well as along walkways. The variety Candy Floss™ offers double, soft pink flowers that rise above the grayish evergreen foliage in midspring. If you continuously deadhead the spent blooms, the blossoms will continue coming into early fall. Candy Floss™ gives off a strong, spicy fragrance, which, when cut, will perfume a small room. Hummingbirds are attracted to this spectacular small plant but, thankfully, deer and rabbits aren’t.
‘Candy Club’ Orienpet lily
Name: Lilium ‘Candy Club’
Zones: 5 to 9
Size: Up to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide
Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; rich, well-drained soil
I love Orienpet lilies for their large flowers; tremendous number of buds; and strong, intoxicating fragrance. ‘Candy Club’ is a standout for its huge, outward-facing, creamy white blooms with bright, rosy pink-magenta centers. The blooms are borne on strong stems that don’t need staking. By mid- to late summer, their fragrance fills nearly every corner of the garden. Cut a single blossom, and it will easily scent an entire floor of your house. ‘Candy Club’ is equally at home in a container or in a mixed perennial border.
‘Blue Cloud’ calamint
Name: Calamintha nepeta ‘Blue Cloud’
Zones: 5 to 9
Size: 12 to 16 inches tall and wide
Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil
‘Blue Cloud’ calamint is a wonderful, adaptable, low-maintenance perennial. It doesn’t take over like other members of the mint family but, instead, forms low mounds that are perfect for borders, containers, and edging. It releases a pleasant, minty aroma every time it is brushed. The fragrant foliage makes it ideal for gardens ravaged by deer because they don’t like its scent. Lilac-colored flowers appear in midsummer and continue through the first frost. ‘Blue Cloud’ calamint is a terrific long bloomer for a butterfly garden and can also be used as filler for cut-flower arrangements.