8 fragrant houseplants

Add these wonderfully scented specimens to your home.
Unsplash/Jordan Whitt

There are many reasons to grow plants indoors, they clean the air, soften and infuse our decor with nature, and reduce the amount of stress we feel.

There are a stunning array of leaf colours and textures to brighten spirits even on the shortest, dreariest winter days. But that’s not all: Pick carefully and they also provide scent. From rich and flowery to warm and spicy.

Read on to discover some of our favourite fragrant indoor plants.

Scented Geranium

Start exploring the world of scented geraniums (Pelargonium) and you’ll be amazed at the range of aromas they offer. Choose from rose, lemon, lime, nutmeg, ginger, or chocolate scents, just to name a few. They also present a lovely range of leaf shapes, from lacy to shield. Many have soft, fuzzy foliage that’s as fun to touch as it is to smell.

How to grow

Grow scented geraniums in a bright spot protected from drafts. Water and feed regularly with a general-purpose plant food.

Make sure your scented geraniums get plenty of light otherwise they’ll grow long and leggy. If they become lanky, pinch them back to encourage bushy growth. Use the parts you pinched off as cuttings. 

pink geranium
Geranium (Credit: Getty)

Arabian Jasmine

Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac) flowers almost all year long if it gets enough light. The starry, pure-white flowers produce a soft, flowery fragrance and are used to make jasmine tea.

How to grow

Grow Arabian jasmine in a bright spot protected from drafts and provide abundant humidity. Water regularly and feed it in spring and summer with a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer.

Arabian jasmine is a shrubby vine, you can let the stems grow long and train them on a trellis or grow in an arching mound.

arabian jasmine
Arabian Jasmine (Credit: Getty)


You’re sure to fall in love with the sweet scent of orange, lemon, grapefruit, or other citrus blossoms. Most are surprisingly easy to grow, provided you give them enough light. If you’re patient, you may even get to enjoy homegrown fruits.

How to grow

Choose a bright spot protected from drafts and provide abundant humidity for your citrus. Water regularly, and fertilize in spring and summer with a general-purpose houseplant food.

If you grow citrus from seed, your plan may take many years to flower and they’ll have long, sharp spines. Your best bet for citrus as a houseplant is to purchase a named, grafted variety. 


While most gardeners don’t think of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus cinerea) as a houseplant, this easy-growing tree makes a pretty showpiece indoors in a high lit spot. It offers blue-grey foliage with a distinct aroma when you rub it.

How to grow

Eucalyptus thrives in a bright spot protected from hot and cold drafts. Water it regularly throughout the year.

Don’t be afraid to prune eucalyptus back to keep it full and bushy. Otherwise you may end up with a plant that looks too tall and sparse. 

Eucalyptus (Credit: Greg Weaver)

Sweet Bay

An attractive slow-growing shrub that may become a small tree, sweet bay (Laurus nobilis) shows off shiny green leaves with a savoury, herbal scent. Use the leaves in soups, stews, and other delicious winter treats.

How to grow

 Sweet bay isn’t fussy, but it does best in a medium to bright spot. Keep the potting mix evenly moist in spring and summer; let it go a bit drier in winter. It likes high humidity.

You may allow bay to go dormant in winter if you have a cool room (between 7-15C) to keep it in. Water every few weeks – just enough to keep the potting mix from drying out.


Renowned for being one of the most fragrant flowers around, gardenia (Gardenia augusta) is a lovely, but tricky houseplant. Its glossy green leaves put the spotlight on the single or double white flowers that emit a heavy, flowery scent.

How to grow

Gardenia prefers a humid, very bright environment. Water and fertilize it regularly in spring and summer; hold off on the fertilizer and let the potting mix barely dry between waterings in fall and winter. Protect it from hot and cold drafts.

Keep your gardenia happy by periodically using a fertiliser formulated for acid-loving plants such as azaleas. 



A favourite flower for wedding bouquets, stephanotis (Stephanotis floribunda) shows off starry white flowers with a waxlike texture. Each bloom emits a delightful floral fragrance. It’s attractive even when not in bloom because of its shiny dark green leaves.

How to grow 

Place stephanotis in a very bright spot protected from drafts. Water and fertilise it regularly in spring and summer; stop feeding it and reduce watering in autumn and winter. 

Stephanotis grows more slowly than many other vines when grown indoors. Get more growth and blooms by moving it to a partly shaded spot outdoors for the summer. 

white stephanoitis close up on branch
Stephanotis (Credit: Getty)

Orange Jessamine

Orange jessamine (Murraya paniculata) makes for a beautiful foliage plant when it’s not flowering. But it delights the nose as much as the eyes when it bursts into bloom with clusters of long-lasting white flowers that smell like orange blossoms.

How to grow

Grow orange jessamine in a medium to bright area that has high humidity and is protected from drafts. Water and fertilize the plant regularly in spring and summer; stop feeding it and reduce watering in autumn and winter.

Orange jessamine will survive low-light conditions, but probably won’t bloom in them. Happily, the leaves are fragrant if you rub them so you can enjoy its scent even as a foliage plant.

white orange jessemine in garden
Orange jessamine (Credit: Getty)

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