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Flowers That Smell Like Lilacs

lilac image by Henryk Olszewski from

The lilac has one of the most recognizable scents in the garden. Countless manufacturers have attempted to reproduce the scent of lilac in the form of perfume or candles. But in the garden, lilac cannot be reproduced. No flower smells exactly like lilac. Although scent can be subjective, a few flowers are similar to the lilac in scent, or "lilac-scented."

Roses: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Mayflower

Roses have a unique scent all their own, and are one of the few flowers to rival the lilac in olfactory appeal. Like wine, roses have subtle undertones of different fragrances, such as musk, vanilla and lilac. Two rose varieties with a scent similar to the lilac are Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Mayflower.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh is an English rose. These rose bushes tend to be full, and grow like a shrub, making an ideal border. The flowers are a dusty rose color and cup-shaped with many petals. The Mayflower, also an English rose, is a pink rose with a subtle lilac scent. Both flowers grow in full sun. The scent of a rose is stronger when the flower is about half-way open, according to Rose Gardening Made Easy, and in the morning on warm sunny days.

Fragrant Abelia

Fragrant Abelia, or Abelia mosanensis, is a semi-evergreen shrub that grows in partial to full sun. Small pink flowers bloom on long arching stems in the summer. These blossoms have a strong lilac fragrance, according to Crescent Bloom. This shrub will grow to about 6 feet tall and wide in United States Department of Hardiness zones 5 through 9. After the flowers have filled your garden with their lilac scent, the leaves will turn a brilliant orange, lending fall color to your landscape.

Orchid: Oncidium incurvum

Named for its bent or curved flower petals, this orchid has a sweet lilac scent. Orchids are an exotic-looking flower that bloom along a long arching stem. This species is native to Nicaragua and Mexico and will bloom in the summer and fall, according to Orchid Species. The flowers of Oncidium incurvum reach about 1 1/2 inches across and are white and fuchsia with a yellow throat. Orchids are usually grown as houseplants with bright, indirect light.

Petrocallis pyrenaica Cruciferae

Petrocallis is a low-growing perennial native to the mountains of Europe. Purple or white flowers cover this plant in the summer and release a scent similar to lilacs and honey. Petrocallis grows in full sun and will cling to crevices between rocks and cover rock faces with its dense foliage and fragrant flowers. This plant is not readily available at local nurseries as, according to Mountain Flora, it looks better in the wild than in a domesticated garden setting.

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