Why do plants smell?

Fragrances are like souls of flowers; you can feel it, even in the realm of shadows, ”wrote the French moralist and essayist Joseph Joubert around 200 years ago – and that has not changed to this day.

Those who go for a walk in the forest, work in the garden during the day or relax and watch the sunset on their planted balcony know that plants not only have an external beauty, but also carry a wide variety of scents: a touch of lavender, a delicate smell of vanilla , sweet honey or refreshing lemon. Some fragrances invite you to dream and relax, while others stimulate the senses and motivate us.

Fragrances arouse emotions

Nevertheless, over the past century, the sense of smell has given way to the visual. For example, many rose growers have gradually neglected the fragrance in their breeds. The roses should look particularly gorgeous, attractive and beautiful. The scent only played a subordinate role here. It was not until the end of the 20th century that smell was given more importance again. Because even if the smell is an optically imperceptible property, the sense of smell is extremely important for people: smells awaken memories, with them we associate thoughts and feelings. Whether when choosing a partner, when making purchasing decisions or when there is impending danger – smells influence us and help us to find our way around the world.

Plants as a natural source of scents

Smells can help us feel good and relax, but they can also motivate and enliven us. We are only too happy to wrap ourselves in a nice perfume or use room sprays to create a refreshing atmosphere. Plants can also be used as natural “fragrance sprays”. Many garden and balcony owners know about the power of plants: With small scented corners or even a large scented garden, they create oases of peace and relaxation for themselves, from which they draw strength and energy. Of course, you don’t have to create an entire scented garden, because individual plants can also stimulate the sense of smell and lead to an increased feel-good factor.

What do you have to consider?

When planting, you can take into account that the scent lingers much longer in wind-protected corners. According to this, individual plants are sufficient, especially on a sheltered balcony, to create a small oasis of fragrance. In the garden, on the other hand, several plants can be used or you can set up a small scented niche in a corner protected by trees. Trees such as the bewitchingly scented lilac, but also apple or cherry trees are ideal for this – a cozy seating area under a blossoming cherry tree invites you to linger and dream!

Scented and aromatic plants

Fragrant plants can be divided into fragrant and aromatic plants. While scented plants give off their scent without touching them, like the scented stone or lilac, the scent of the aromatic plants is only released when the leaves, bark, twigs or roots rub. Herbs such as sage, thyme or savory are counted among the aromatic plants. However, the boundary between aromatic and scented plants is fluid and plants can often be assigned to both categories. Those who are interested in fragrant herbs will find what they are looking for in the article “Fragrant herbs”! In particular, the lemon-scented herbs such as lemon thyme ‘Limone’ or lemon verbena ‘Freshman’ are popular plants for creating a fresh summer scent and good mood.

Why do plants smell?

But why do plants give off a scent at all? The reason is quite simple: Plants smell to ensure pollination or to attract prey. This is why some plants that are pollinated by bees or bumblebees also smell more intense during the day, while other flowers that can be pollinated by moths give off a stronger scent at night. Accordingly, you are not only doing yourself a favor, but also the bumblebees, bees and butterflies with the fragrant flowers. The scent behavior of the plant is also dependent on solar radiation, air humidity and wind conditions.

Fragrant flowers: from lemon to hazelnut

Since people’s sense of smell is very subjective, it is not possible to say in general which flowers are particularly suitable. While one prefers sweet smells, the other would like to have more refreshing smells in the garden. Therefore, a small number of differently scented flowers will be presented below so that nothing stands in the way of a fragrant and blooming summer!

Blooming lavender

Lavender is definitely one of the most popular scented plants. Its wonderful aroma and intense color make it simply irresistible! Lavender can be planted in mixed beds, in pots or in balcony boxes and sets wonderful scent accents that put you in a holiday mood. The perennial phlox is also one of the fragrant perennials that enrich the plant bed.

Sweetish smell of convertible roses

In addition to lavender, convertible florets are extremely attractive fragrant plants. Visually they offer an incredibly beautiful picture with their many colorful flowers, which can also change their color. Especially in a romantic pink or soft white, it also fits well into a dreamy fairytale garden. Their sweet, fruity scent usually attracts many buzzing creatures such as bees and butterflies. Therefore, convertible roses are not only a visual and olfactory, but also aural experience!

Butterfly favorite

The situation is similar with the butterfly bush, which, as its name suggests, is a nectar paradise for butterflies! Its innumerable, small flowers, which bloom well into autumn, exude a pleasantly sweet aroma. The more compact dwarf butterfly bushes ‘Summer Bird’ are also well suited for smaller gardens or balconies and set great scents here.

Vanilla flower – an invitation to dream

In line with the sweet scent of the butterfly bush, the pleasant scent of the vanilla flower ‘Nautilus Blue’ now follows. This small flower with the intensely purple flowers can be planted with one or two other vanilla flowers in a tub to create a harmonious picture. However, it can also be combined with other summer flowers such as the fruity, sweet-smelling convertible rose, the gold flake or the daisies.

By combining different scented plants such as the changing flower and the vanilla plant, beautiful scent harmonies can also be created. So that the scents of the individual plants can unfold, it is important that the scents match each other well and that there is no imbalance between the intensity. For example, lilac or lavender have a stronger odor than other aromatic plants. However, you have to find out for yourself which fragrant flowers you want to design your garden or your fragrance corner and which fragrance combinations you like.

Accents of color with fragrant flowers

A very beautiful plant that sets great color accents in mixed plantings is the fairytale elf mirror. With its sweet, aromatic fragrance, it invites you to dream and, like the changing rose, fits perfectly into a fairytale garden. The fragrance stone, which exudes a delicate honey scent and is extremely popular with bees, is a beautiful and easy-care flower that enriches every garden or balcony.

An incredible variety of scents!

The ‘Grandeur Odorata’ scented geraniums offer an unbelievable selection of different smells. If you haven’t found what you are looking for by this point in time, you will find your perfect fragrance now at the latest! These extraordinary geraniums not only smell of apple, lemon or orange, but also of roses, hazelnut and cola! Fresh shoots can also be used as a small fragrance for fruit salads, cocktails, desserts or teas. So a delicious summer punch for grilling can be spiced up with a little ‘Grandeur® Odorata Cola’ – because not only the eye, but also the nose eats or drinks too! Scented geraniums are cared for like normal geraniums, but they have to be fertilized a little more sparingly so that the production of the aromatic substances does not suffer.

Mosquito shocker

And we have a little extra for you: The scented geranium ‘mosquito shocker’ has a deterrent effect on mosquitoes with its lime-like aroma – this saves you from annoying insect bites while you relax comfortably in your scented corner!

Fragrant flowers for the soul

With aroma and scented plants you can set specific scent accents, create small scent niches or even create a large scented garden. Fragrant flowers can have a relaxing or invigorating effect depending on the smell. The lemon-scented plants in particular are very invigorating for the senses, while the sweet-smelling flowers tempt you to dream and relax. Sit near a lavender or a butterfly bush, close your eyes, just take a deep breath and let the scent of the flowers capture you!

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