Q • I have a friend who is visually impaired. Can you recommend some fragrant plants that they can enjoy?
A • There is a wide variety of plants with wonderful fragrances that you can enjoy throughout the year.
In late winter to early spring, take in the aroma of Ozark witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), a Missouri native. Its pleasantly sweet fragrance is a welcoming scent during the winter months.
There are also many witch hazel cultivars (H. x. intermedia) that bloom from January to March and have fragrances ranging from slightly astringent to sweet.
In spring, there are hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis), daffodils (Narcissus), lilac (Syringa), fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), pinks (Dianthus) and Korean boxwood (Buxus sinica var. insularis). Boxwoods have a reputation for having an off-putting fragrance for some, but the fragrance of Korean boxwoods is much sweeter and pleasant.
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For plants that bloom from summer to fall, enjoy the fragrant notes from sweet pepperbush (Clethera alnifolia), English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata) and prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis).
You can use Missouri Botanical Garden’s Plant Finder database to learn more about their growing requirements, bloom times and where to find them at MoBot to sample their delightful aromas.
Write to the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Center for Home Gardening at [email protected] or the Horticulture Answer Service, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110.