Top 10 Fragrant Annuals From Seed

Filling your garden with fragrance needn't cost a fortune. It's easy to grow your own scented annuals from seed. Perfumed flowers can stop you in your tracks, evoking distant memories and unexpectedly stirring emotions.

Top 10 Fragrant Annuals From Seed

Fragrant annuals are easy to grow from seed, and won't break the bank either. A packet of seed can provide you with hundreds of perfumed plants - ideal if you are gardening on a budget. What's more, you'll have the satisfaction of growing your own plants from scratch!

Unlike scented perennials, whose blooming period can be brief, fragrant annuals will flower profusely, often throughout the whole summer. A few carefully placed fragrant plants can turn a stroll through the garden into an uplifting journey for the senses. Position them close to open windows, seating areas and walkways where they can be best appreciated.

Take a look at our Top 10 Fragrant Annuals From Seed below for some garden inspiration, or browse our range of scented annuals to choose your favourites.

Top 10 Fragrant Annuals From Seed

Fragrant annuals are easy to grow from seed, and won't break the bank either. A packet of seed can provide you with hundreds of perfumed plants - ideal if you are gardening on a budget. What's more, you'll have the satisfaction of growing your own plants from scratch!

Unlike scented perennials, whose blooming period can be brief, fragrant annuals will flower profusely,often throughout the whole summer. A few carefully placed fragrant plants can turn a stroll through the garden into an uplifting journey for the senses. Position them close to open windows, seating areas and walkways where they can be best appreciated.

Take a look at our Top 10 Fragrant Annuals From Seed for some garden inspiration, or browse our range of scented annuals to choose your favourites.


1. Sweet Pea 'High-Scent'

Sowing period: October -April

Sweet Peas are some of the easiest and most popular scented annuals you'll find! Sweet Pea 'High-Scent' is widely regarded as the most fragrant, with creamy white blooms edged in a violet-blue blush. Grow them against walls and fences or trained onto an obelisk. Sweet Peas make superb cut flowers - pick them regularly to encourage more blooms throughout the summer. Browse our full range of Sweet Pea seeds to find your favourite variety. Need some growing advice? Try our How to grow Sweet Peas article or watch our Sweet Pea Video Guide.


2. Phlox drummondii 'Dwarf Beauty'

Sowing period: February - May

Phlox drummondii 'Dwarf Beauty' produces clusters of sweetly scented flowers in a pretty colour mix. Perfect for filling flower beds, or direct sowing at the front of borders to create beautiful drifts of colour. These compact, bushy plants will happily fill a patio container, and make lovely cut flowers too.


3. Heliotrope 'Dwarf Marine'

Sowing period: February - March

A traditional cottage garden favourite, and a 'must have' plant for a scented garden. Large flower heads release a rich perfume, filling the air on a still summer's evening. Heliotrope 'Dwarf Marine' is a neat, bushy variety, and well suited to patio containers. The perfume is reminiscent of ground almonds, giving it the common name of Cherry Pie. The showy blooms are a magnet for butterflies too.


4. Madia elegans 'Tropical Fruits'

Sowing period: March - April

Try something a little different in your scented flower borders! Madia elegans 'Tropical Fruits'is a cheery border annual with sunny-yellow, daisy-like blooms and a fruity perfume. The blooms open during the morning and early evening, often closing during very strong sunlight in the middle of the day. A great choice for planting near to those seating areas that catch the last rays of sun.


5. Alyssum 'Carpet Of Snow'

Sowing period: March - May

With its wide-spreading habit, Alyssum has earned its place as a bedding favourite, often associated with dark blue Lobelia. It makes a popular choice for rockeries or cascading from low walls to create a carpet of white blooms. This is a delicately scented annual, with a sweet perfume. Alyssum 'Carpet of Snow' is surprisingly wind tolerant too, making it useful for those difficult exposed or coastal locations.


6. Stock 'Cinderella Series Mixed'

Sowing period: February - March, or June - July

Stocks are renowned for their magnificent, spicy, clove-like perfume that lingers seductively on the breeze. Stock 'Cinderella Series Mixed' is a compact variety producing plenty of upright spikes filled with showy, double blooms. Soft shades of pink and purple make this a gentle mix for filling beds and the front of borders. A great choice for late spring fragrance in the garden with blooms appearing as early as May.


7. Viola 'Allspice Mixed'

Sowing period: June - September

Fragrant flowers in the depths of winter! This pretty Viola mix is richly scented, brightly coloured, and works perfectly in hanging baskets and window boxes - what more could you ask from winter bedding? You'll have fun picking out the individual scents as each flower colour has its own distinctive perfume! With a little care, Viola 'Allspice Mixed' will flower for months on end - perfect for growing next to a well-used doorway!


8. Nicotiana x sanderae 'Perfume Deep Purple'

Sowing period: February - April

Nicotiana are well loved for their long flowering period and fabulous perfume, which is particularly noticeable in the evening. With a seductive fragrance and rich purple flowers, this one really packs a punch! Nicotiana x sanderae 'Perfume Deep Purple' copes well in full sun or light shade, making it a useful choice for patios that lose the sun early in the day. This variety is neat, compact and bushy - perfect for bringing a touch of class to beds, borders and patio pots.


9. Dianthus barbatus 'Purple Crown'

Sowing period: January - February, or June - July

Better known as the well loved cottage garden plant 'Sweet William'! The sumptuous, blackcurrant shades and sweet perfume of Dianthus barbatus 'Purple Crown' make a mouth-watering combination. Strictly speaking, this is a short lived perennial but is best grown as an annual. A great choice for bridging the gap between spring bulbs and summer perennials. Grow them in beds and borders for a fragrance that will make you linger - or cut some for a vase indoors.


10. Verbena 'Scentsation Mixed'

Sowing period: February - June

Create a perfumed tapestry of colour in your beds and containers with Verbena 'Scentsation Mixed'. The dainty blooms are sweetly scented, and borne in such profusion that the foliage almost disappears beneath them. This pretty mix makes great cut flowers if you can bear to cut some for a summer posey. Try this compact variety in a window box and enjoy the fragrance as it drifts indoors.



Sue Sanderson T&M horticulturalist

Written by: Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.

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