Fifty Fragrant Plants For Florida Landscapes

If you are like me, during this strange, unsettling time of the pandemic, you’re noticing more of the little things in life that effortlessly bring you a moment of peace and joy and appreciating the larger role these things can play for your overall happiness and well-being. I’ve been stopping more to smell the roses so to speak, or actually I’ve been stopping to smell the gardenias (my favorite!), literally.

The intensely fragrant Gardenia shrub, flowering in South Florida. Photo by Bonnie Wells

One of the little things in life that can entice my senses and unexpectedly uplift me to my happy place is the fragrance of certain plants. It has always been amazing to me flowers, bark, leaves and fruit of some plant cultivars contain compounds that become fragrant with the heat of the sun, when crushed or some only emit their aroma at nighttime. Once inhaled, it’s understood that these scent molecules travel from your olfactory nerves in your nose directly to your brain and quickly reach the emotional center. From there, the scent can relax you or perhaps take you back to a special place in time in your memory. It’s like music for your nose.

Angel’s Trumpet has been assessed as a ‘moderate risk’ for planting by UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Natural Areas, meaning care should be taken to limit it’s spread if incorporated into Florida landscapes. Photo by Bonnie Wells

As the commercial horticulture agent for UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County, I was recently contacted by a local golf course superintendent who is working on updating the landscape at his course’s clubhouse and was specifically looking for recommendations for plants to incorporate that would create a pleasant fragrance in the landscape for visitors. Roses, gardenias, jasmine, lavender and lemongrass, even honeysuckle, are some of the plants that instantly came to my mind when challenged to recommend fragrant plants to incorporate into the landscape.

Confederate Jasmine is a nice addition to Florida landscapes with its climbing habit. A similar species night-blooming jessamine, Cestrum nocturnum, has been assessed by UF/IFAS as a ‘High Risk of Invasion’ and should not be planted. When considering jasmine or jessamine plants consult your local county extension agent for recommendations. Photo by UF/IFAS

Knowing that honeysuckle and some jasmines are invasive, and wondering if lavender, a historically Mediterranean species can even grow well here in hot, sticky Florida, I had to dig deeper into to the literature to find the safe and appropriate fragrant plants for recommending for a Florida landscape. I performed a literature review of Florida-Friendly Landscaping plants, Florida Exotic Plant Council’s Invasive Species List, and the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Natural Areas database to bring you the table below (Table 1) that summarizes my findings for 50 fragrant plants suitable for Florida landscapes. Do you know of other fragrant plants safe for planting in Florida that I might have missed? Please give me a comment and let me know, if so! Happy sniffing!

Table 1. Fragrant Plants for Florida Landscapes
Common Name
Scientific Name
Florida Friendly1
Sweet Alyssum  

Lobularia maritima


Purple/white/pink, winter flowers; tolerates light frost
Spiral Ginger

Costus spp.

Yes White, fragrant, summer through fall flowers
Butterfly Ginger

Hedychium coronarium


No Pleasant fragrance; summer flowering; fall flowering
Pinecone Ginger

Zingiber zerumbet

Yes Red, fragrant, fall flowers; tolerates occasionally wet soil
Crinum Lily Crinum spp. Yes Many cultivars; fragrant, spidery, year-round flowers vary; poisonous; susceptible to pests and diseases
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia No ‘Phenomenal’ cultivar is disease-resistant, tolerates heat and humidity; attracts butterflies
Cherry Sage Salvia greggii Yes Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, cascading habit
Fragrant Waterily

Nymphaea odorata

No Aquatic species
Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus Yes Scented leaves remain green most of the year, turning dark red in fall and winter; dies to the ground in winter in North Florida
Asiatic Jasmine Trachelospermum asiaticum Yes Small, dark green glossy leaves, prominent light green veins; tolerates foot traffic; spreads aggressively; susceptible to pests, diseases and cold damage in low 20’s
Rose Rosa spp. Yes Flowers vary; susceptible to pests and diseases, ‘Belinda’s Dream’ is highly fragrant
Rosemary Rosmarinus spp. Yes Evergreen herb with aromatic needle-like leaves; flowers vary
Lady of the Night Brunfelsia americana Yes Evergreen; fragrant, white flowers
Passion Vine

Passiflora incarnata

Yes Evergreen; pink/purple, summer through fall flowers; larval food plant of zebra longwing, gulf fritillary, and variegated fritillary butterflies; tolerates occasionally wet soil
Rangoon Creeper Quisqualis indica Yes 1″ flowers turn from white to pink or pink to deep red, blooms in spring through fall; good for fences, pergolas, and small buildings; susceptible to pests; Assessed as a ‘moderate risk’ non-native
Fetterbush Agarista populifolia Yes Evergreen, creamy white, fragrant spring flowers
Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides Yes White, fragrant, showy, spring flowers; susceptible to diseases
American Wisteria Wisteria frutescens Yes Lavender, fragrant, spring through summer flowers; poisonous parts
Natal Plum Carissa macrocarpa Yes Also known as Carissa grandiflora; edible fruit; white, fragrant year-round flowers
Downy Jasmine Jasminum multiflorum Yes White, fragrant, year-round flowers; dies back in freeze, may come back; susceptible to pests; sprawling form
Sweet Almond Bush Aloysia virgata Yes Evergreen; white, fragrant, summer through fall flowers, attracts butterflies


Brunfelsia grandiflora Yes White/purple, spring through fall flowers
Angel’s Trumpet

Brugmansia arborea

Yes Flowers hang from stems and branches and drape the plant with color; good specimen tree; susceptible to pests and diseases; Assessed as ‘Moderate Risk’ by UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants3
Butterfly Bush

Buddleia lindleyana

Yes Deciduous, non-fragrant, purple/violet flowers; excellent for butterflies; aggressive suckering and spreads through runners
Orange Jessamine Murraya paniculata Yes Yellow/orange, spring through summer flowers’ attracts wildlife
Sweet Pepperbush Clethra alnifolia Yes White, fragrant, summer flowers; attracts bees and other wildlife; grows well in wet areas
Gardenia Gardenia jasminoides Yes Also known as Gardenia augusta; white, fragrant spring through summer flowers; use only grafted varieties due to nematode susceptibility; susceptible to scales; use iron fertilizer to keep green
Oregon Hollygrape Mahonia bealei Yes Also known as Berberis bealei; yellow, fragrant, winter through spring Flowers; glossy grey/green leaves, holly-like appearance; purplish-blue berries provide food for wildlife
Tea Olive Osmanthus fragrans Yes Extremely fragrant, white blossoms, great for hedges
Chinese Fringe Bush Loropetalum chinense Yes White/pink, spring flowers; size varies; susceptible to pests and diseases; in high pH soils may have minor element deficiencies, mildly fragrant
Panama Rose Rondeletia leucophylla No Low-maintenance, pink fragrant flowers year-round
Shining Jasmine Jasminum nitidum Yes Evergreen to semi-evergreen vine or shrub; white, fragrant, spring through summer flowers
Primrose Jasmine Jasminum mesnyi Yes Rambling, evergreen; will climb like vine if given support; fragrant, yellow flowers; dies back in freeze, may come back
Red Powderpuff Calliandra haematocephala Yes Possible cold damage from freezing temperatures; large fragrant flower Blooms during warm months; susceptible to pests
Sweet Acacia Acacia farnesiana Yes Yellow, year-round flowers, great for birds
Marlberry Ardisia escallonioides Yes Fragrant, white, year-round flowers; attractive foliage; round, purple fruits provide food for wildlife, mostly in fall and winter; good for screens and hedges
Stoppers Eugenia spp. Yes Flowers vary; needs little attention once established; natives are E. axillaris, E. foetida, E. rhombea, and E. confusa; E. axiliaris, E. confusa, E. foetida have high wind resistance
Wild Olive Osmanthus americanus Yes White, fragrant, spring flowers; provides food for wildlife
Fiddlewood Citharezylum fruiticosum Yes Tolerant of dry sandy soil
Awabuki Viburnum Viburnum odoratissimum Yes Also known as Viburnum awabuki; fragrant, small white, spring flowers; red/black fruit provides food for wildlife; takes well to pruning; used for hedges; susceptible to pests and diseases
Frangipani Plumeria alba, Plumeria rubra Yes Intensely fragrant, spiral-shaped, blooms which appear at branch tips June through November
Chinese Perfume Tree Aglaia odorata No Fragrant yellow ball-shaped flowers
Wild Cinnamon Canella winterana Yes Purple to red summer flowers, bark has a cinnamon like smell
Fringetree Chionanthus virginicus Yes Adds dark green color in summer and bright white flowers in spring
Chinese fringetree Chionanthus retusus Yes Somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find
Southern Magnolia

Magnolia grandiflora


Yes Great shade tree, large creamy white flowers
Sweet Bay Magnolia Magnolia virginiana Yes Excellent vertical definition in a shrub border or as a free-standing specimen; lemon-scented flowers
Saucer Magnolia Magnolia soulangiana Yes Impressive display of large, pinkish flowers in spring
Banana Shrub Magnolia figo Yes Also known as Michelia figo; light-yellow, spring through early summer flowers; fragrance similar to ripening cantaloupes or bananas; generally used as specimen plant; susceptible to scale and mushroom root rot
Ylang Ylang Tree Cananga odorata No Best in Zone 10, blooms after 3-4 years
1Florida-Friendly Plants are considered by UF/IFAS horticulture specialists to be well-adapted to growing in Florida landscapes. The plants on this list are not the only plants that can be used in Florida. Contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office to determine if a plant not on the list is suitable for your region.

2Plants can be managed to be either one depending on space or desired habit.

3Non-native plant assessment by UF/IFAS indicates this plant is moderate risk, meaning it can be planted but must be managed to prevent escape.



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Posted: April 7, 2020

Tags: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fragrant Plants, Gardening, Horticulture, Native Plants



March 29, 2022

Hi Laura, Currently, we do not have any permaculture classes. Our horticulture agent, Sally, might have some information on it though. You can contact her at

Laura Branton
March 27, 2022

Do you have classes regarding Perma Culture? My daughter-in-law was talking to me about this and I am hoping you have available information. Thanks


February 10, 2022

Hello, We have another pressure canning class coming up on March 5 from 10 am to 12 pm. You can find it on our Eventbrite page:

Flo Fernandez
February 10, 2022

I was wondering if another pressure canning class is coming up? I missed the one this month unfortunately and am very interested in learning this skill!


November 17, 2021

Hi Dianna, I have a post scheduled to go out on 11/24. If you would like to receive our class list sooner, we have a newsletter that goes out on the 3rd Monday of every month! You can subscribe to it here:

November 16, 2021

When will they post December classes?

Laura Dearinger
October 12, 2021

Dear Dr. Wells, I admire your work to find the happy environmentally friendly balance of natural ecosystems within golf courses. We have found many supporters who wish to reinvent the abandoned , privately -owned West End golf course on Newberry Road in Alachua County, and are reaching out to our County government for their support as well. The golf course was the core of our West End Village neighborhood ; we have a dream to revitalize it. Looking forward to contacting you at a later time! Thank you.

Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

October 11, 2021

Hi Laura, Thanks for your comment! I missed it earlier, I apologize. Please feel free to quote me and reach out if you have any questions. Several of our golf courses have become certified with Audubon International for their conservation efforts! I also have an article you may be interested in here, page 16:

October 11, 2021

This blog is very informative the stuff you provide I really enjoyed reading

October 9, 2021

Pls specify, as well, Bonnie, which of the plants in your table r native to Florida.
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September 29, 2021

You're welcome. Glad I could provide useful information. Thanks for reading.

September 20, 2021

This is actually the kind of information I have been trying to find. Thank you for writing this information about preschool playground equipment

Laura Dearinger
September 5, 2021

I am a huge fan of Greenspaces/ Golf Courses. I love the statement you make underlining the importance of golfcourse superintendents as “stewards of the land. “May I please quote you ? I’m writing our commissioners to help save an abandoned for sale golf course! I love seeing deer, red tailed hawks, Sandhill Cranes on this former course. I’ve also seen a pair of pileated woodpeckers, a flock of egrets, and bluebirds.


August 23, 2021

Hello Michael, It's possible that the class in Cocoa is already full. Please contact the instructor, Gus Koerner, at (321) 633-1702 ext. 52320 or email him at for further information.

Michael E Focht
August 21, 2021

Hello! the Hunter Safety Class is NOT listed on the FWC class list.. My son needs the class, it has been canceled twice..he is signed up for the 3 hour virutal on AUG 24th, but if this cancels, we would like to do the 28th class in Cocoa.. Please advise! Thank YOU! Mike

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July 17, 2021

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Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

July 7, 2021

Hi Chris, Yes, these are "Florida-Friendly" plants, meaning they are low impact, environmentally friendly, use less water and reduce pollutant loading to Florida waters. Learn more here: Thanks! Bonnie

Chris Harmon
July 1, 2021

Hello, I just want to clarify... Under "Florida Friendly" cloumn, are you saying the plants do well in the Florida environment OR the plants are dangerous because of the ability to spread and damage the environment like Kudzu in Georgia? I live in Boca Raton, in Palm Beach County, which I believe is Zone 10.
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February 16, 2021

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Manuel Mota
January 6, 2021

Hello I am an umble person from Portugal(europe). I´m navigate in Internet looking for Abandonnated churches, cemeteries, old monuments (castles,hotels,factories,etc.) I like to see. (I fill sad.) Manuel Mota

November 27, 2020

What's up colleagues, nice article and nice urging commented at this place, I am truly enjoying by these.

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Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

November 9, 2020

Hi Mia, the Duval County Extension office should be able to help you with that question. Dr. Kerr is the commercial horticulture agent there, his email is CKERR@COJ.NET. Thanks for reading!

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Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

November 9, 2020

Awesome Frank, will do! Thanks so much for the suggestion. :)

Frank Galdo
November 9, 2020

Please, please, please add the FL native climbing aster! (Symphyotrichum carolinianum) The incredible explosion of fragrant purple flowers arrives in November & December, at a point when many other FL wildflowers are fading. To me, the flowers smell like sweet, warm sugar cookies! It's always loaded with pollinators too... Perfect for wetter soils - along the edges of ponds, swales, etc. Thanks, Frank Galdo - Program Coordinator, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County Pics & info:

June 28, 2020

These plants are very hard to find for purchase. Do you know anywhere in the Jax area? Thank you

suba suba
June 11, 2020

It as hard to find experienced people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you are talking about! Thanks

Gus Koerner

May 13, 2020

Thanks and you're welcome! - gus

Gus Koerner

May 13, 2020

Thanks for your comments! There are so many math and physics principles practiced and demonstrated in archery! If an instructor can remember to point them out while the kids are on the range, he or she can really reinforce what is taught in the classroom. All the instructor has to do, is find the appropriate teachable moment and take advantage of it. gus

Graham Mitchell
May 8, 2020

This is a great use of math an angles to help improve your archery shooting range. When teaching a beginner having them line up a 90 degree angle will be helpful for them to take the same stance each time. Thank you

Diesel Wold
May 6, 2020

Informative, Thanks for this.

Gus Koerner

April 30, 2020

Thanks for your comments! I feel the same way. - gus

April 30, 2020

fishing is a awesome hobbit. I want fishing again and again.

Gus Koerner

March 26, 2020

Hey Steven! Thanks for your comment. I suggest you get into hunting with a multi-tiered approach, making sure you are comfortable in the woods, you know the laws and regulations of what you plan on hunting, and starting small - with small game that is. Hunting, which includes dispatching small game takes the same skills as hunting large game but with less input and intensity. If you can successfully bag your first raccoon (for example) and process it all the way to the table, you'll be well on your way to hunting larger game as you gain experience. If you haven't taken it, or done it lately, enroll in your local Hunter Safety class by your state game division. They can help. Go out into the woods and scout around. Go to the range and perfect your skills. All these things will not only prepare you for hunting, but will help you decide IF and how you want to go ahead. I hope that helps! - gus

Steven Rinella
March 25, 2020

Great share. I am new in hunting. Should I start with deer hunting? What your recommandation?

Gus Koerner

July 8, 2019

I'm glad you enjoyed the article! gus

Gus Koerner

June 19, 2019

Great to hear Joe! Send me a picture of it. I'd love to see it! gus

Joe Pavlik
May 12, 2019

Haha I did it I made awing bone call . Thanks for the information .

Saptarshi Bhattacharya
March 6, 2019

Thank you for your nice blog post. Keep it up.

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Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

March 5, 2019

Thank you very much, Gary! I have been impressed with the BMP efforts of the Brevard turf professionals I've visited and will most definitely be helping with the implementation of new programs and certifications in environmental stewardship. Stay tuned!

Basudeb Das
March 5, 2019

Thank you for your post. Keep it up.

Gary Chaney
March 4, 2019

This is a great article Bonnie. Thank you very much for taking the time to visit the courses and talk to the superintendents. I am sure that you were pleased with the knowledge and effort they use daily to be stewards of the environment. Many are BMP Certified but we need more to get this certification and implement new programs to make the best agronomic and environmental decisions on a daily basis.

Holly Abeels

February 18, 2019

The counties currently involved in the FL Horseshoe Crab Watch Program are Franklin, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Hernando, Pinellas, Manatee, Martin, Indian River, Brevard, Volusia, and Nassau. There are some counties that will be incorporated in the future including those in Southwest Florida (and Collier county). Here on the East Coast of Florida we see horseshoe crabs nesting between December-May depending on where you are. On the Gulf Coast of Florida they see them nesting in the spring and fall (Feb-May and Aug-Oct). It's unknown what the nesting time is in southwest Florida. If you ever do see horseshoe crabs please report them to the FWC Wildlife Hotline for horseshoe crabs at this link: (click on Report Your Nesting Horseshoe Crab Sighting). You can also download the free FWC Reporter App and report sightings through your mobile device (

Kenneth S. Ridlon
February 17, 2019

Is any yagging being done in Collier County? When is the best timr of yr to watch for mating crabs? Several yrs ago I was doing daily searches at Tigertail beach/lagoon. Found a good number that I sexed, measured etc. Never knrw where to send tbe data. Any contact person for this area?

Holly Abeels

December 3, 2018

Thanks Michael. I've put you down on my list and will be in touch once training dates are set.

Holly Abeels

December 3, 2018

Thanks Ivan. I've put you down on my list and will be in touch once training dates are set.

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Linda Seals

November 29, 2018

Hi Erin, unfortunately I do not have another one planned. I will keep your email address and let you know if we have another one.

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Linda Seals

November 29, 2018

Hi Cynthia, this class was in August. I don't have another one planned.

Ivan green
November 26, 2018

I'm in for a mid Brevard county location.

Cynthia Adkins
November 14, 2018

Would you please provide me with more information, like date and cost?

Michael Lee
November 13, 2018

I'm interested and can work for Kirk in Indian River County or Holly in mid to south Brevard.

maghfirah pustaka
November 5, 2018

thank you for the info, very interesting

Erin Carrigan
October 17, 2018

Is this going to be offered anytime soon? I was registered for a previous course but it was cancelled. Thank you. Erin

Gus Koerner

October 11, 2018

Thank you Mary. Feel free to call me anytime to discuss youth shooting sports in our region. Gus 321-633-1702, Ext. 52320

Mary Watkins
September 27, 2018

Gus, We shoot lever action smallbore and pistol cartridge rifle metallic silhouette at Seminole County Gun and archery and Chuluota Sportsmans Club on second Saturday and second Sunday of each month. Also smallbore and Hunters Pistol at Chuluota SC. Mary Watkins

Bradley T.
June 14, 2018

We have just posted an article about the Tegu Lizard being spotted in Brevard County.

Randy Moore
May 22, 2018

Thanks Mr. Gus!

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