Plants have a fragrance for two reasons, either to attract insects or to repel insects and animals that would make a meal out of them. The fact that most of the fragrances are pleasant to people is an extra bonus. Gardeners in the South may choose from a wider variety of fragrant garden plants due to the fact that they get to choose from tropical plants, but gardeners in the North are not left out, especially when they do container planting.
Ginger lily (Hedychium coronarium) is also known as white butterfly ginger lily and garland flower. The plant grows from 3 to 7 feet tall with lance-shaped leaves 8 to 24 inches long and 2 to 5 inches wide that taper to a sharp point. Fragrant, sweet, white flowers that resemble a butterfly grow in 6- to 12-inch-long clusters at the top of the stalks from mid-summer through autumn. The flowers are followed by seed pods that open to reveal bright-red seeds. Plant ginger lily in full sun or partial shade in soil that is rich and slightly wet. The plant does well near water features and is hardy in USDA Zones 7B to 10.
Frikart's aster (Aster x frikartii) grows from 1 to 3 feet tall and the same in width. Dark-green hairy leaves grow along with a profusion of 2 1/2-inch-wide daisy-like flowers with lavender-blue petals and yellow centers. The plant is hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9 and likes full sun and moist soil that is not allowed to go dry between waterings.
Knock Out Rose
Knock out rose (Rosa Radrazz) has been specially bred to be resistant to most rose diseases. Red, pink, yellow or multicolored flowers with a tea fragrance bloom all season long. The plant grows up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide with leaves that turn burgundy in the fall. Plant in full sun or partial shade and a soil that is moist to dry. The bush is hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9.
Carolina Cherry Laurel
Carolina cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana) is an evergreen tree hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 9. The tree grows from 20 to 40 feet tall with a trunk diameter of up to 10 inches. The tree produces glossy green leaves 2 to 4 inches long and 1-inch wide. The leaf color varies from yellow green to dark green, depending on the composition of the soil. Fragrant white flowers bloom in late winter and early spring in 2- to 3-inch-long clusters. The flowers are followed by small, blue-black fruits that are inedible for humans, but safe for the local bird population. Plant Carolina cherry laurel in full sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil.