July 22, 2024

17 of the Most Fragrant Plants to Grow Indoors

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Are you looking for fragrant houseplants to add pleasant aroma to your home? Discover 17 of the most aromatic plants to grow indoors now on Gardener's Path.

Bringing the fragrance of aromatic plants into your home helps to create an ambiance that is comforting and rejuvenating.

And there are many plants that have fragrant flowers or foliage that can easily be grown in containers indoors.

A vertical image of a collection of houseplants set on a wooden floor in front of french doors. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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Aromatic plants serve as stunning features in living spaces that enhance a home’s decor while increasing the vitality of your interior design.

The selections on our list will add an alluring scent and a bright touch to offices as well!

Let our roundup inspire you, so you’ll be ready to select the ideal fragrant plant to grow indoors. We’ve also included some tips to help them thrive.

Here’s a quick glance at the various scented plants that we’ll cover up ahead:

17 Fragrant Plants to Grow Indoors

  1. Basil
  2. Calamondin Orange
  3. Daffodil
  4. Gardenia
  5. Hyacinth
  6. Jasmine
  1. Lavender
  2. Lemon Balm
  3. Mint
  4. Nutmeg Geranium
  5. Oregano
  6. Paperwhite
  1. Patchouli
  2. Rosemary
  3. Sage
  4. Sweet Bay
  5. Thyme

All of the plants mentioned in this list will require some amount of sunlight to thrive, and abundant bright sunshine or supplemental lighting is typically necessary to encourage flowering.

To help you plan out your approach to incorporating aromatic plants indoors, first assess the natural light that is available in your living space.

The majority of the plants described here will benefit from placement near a south-facing window.

LED grow lights are another option that will support the growth of your plants without consuming too much energy.

If you need some direction regarding the type of lighting to purchase for your growing space, be sure to read our guide to the best grow lights for indoor plants and seedlings.

If your indoor conditions are particularly dim or you wish to add a touch of greenery to a space that doesn’t make supplementing with grow lights possible, also feel free to check out our roundup of the best houseplants for low light conditions.

As with many specimens grown in containers, keep in mind that all of our recommended fragrant species will benefit from occasional applications of organic fertilizer and periodic repotting.

Selecting containers with drainage holes is a must, to ensure good health. Keeping these general guidelines in mind will help your plants thrive indoors!

1. Basil

Some people may desire a more traditional culinary basil cultivar like ‘Genovese,’ which is simple to grow indoors and provides a familiar fragrance.

But I would like to highlight Greek basil (Ocimum basilicum var. minimum) in this list!

A vertical image of Greek basil growing in a purple pot set on a white side table.

I adore the tiny leaves of this variety and how aromatic and resilient it is. Greek basil will grow about 10 to 12 inches tall and wide, or sometimes a bit bigger, depending on the size of the container you plant it in.

A dwarf bush variety with a compact, rounded habit that resembles an elegant natural topiary shape to feature indoors, Greek basil is also rich in scent as well as flavor.

Compared to other types of basil, this one is considered sweet with delicate floral notes.

Basil needs at least six hours of sunlight per day and does best when placed near a sunny south-facing window.

If you intend to use artificial lights, they will require about three to four additional hours of light. The ideal temperature for growing basil indoors is around 68°F, a comfortable room temperature.

My own Greek basil enjoys a deep watering given only when the soil has nearly dried out. This approach to watering also helps increase the production of fragrant volatile oils in the foliage.

A square image of three terra cotta pots growing Greek basil set on a concrete surface.

Greek Basil

You can find Greek basil at your local nursery, or purchase seeds from Eden Brothers.

They are easy to propagate and you will have a mature, scented plant to enjoy within about three months after sowing seeds.

Learn more about growing basil in our guide.

2. Calamondin Orange

The super cute calamondin (Citrus x mitis) is a cross between a kumquat and a mandarin orange.

A vertical image of a dwarf calamondin orange growing in a yellow pot indoors.

This miniature orange tree is a favorite that complements various interior design styles ranging from modern to rustic, adding invigorating energy to indoor spaces.

And this ornamental tree has flowers that smell absolutely divine, with a fresh and citrusy aroma. It will also produce small fruit.

When grown in containers, calamondin orange trees can reach four feet in height, sometimes growing taller depending on the size of the container they are planted in and the growing conditions.

They prefer the typical range of temperatures found in climate-controlled spaces indoors, making them popular houseplants.

Placing them near a sunny window that receives six to eight hours of sunlight will support their growth and help to encourage blooming.

You can learn more about growing citrus trees indoors in our guide.

If your space lacks natural light and you will be using grow lights, I would also suggest taking the plant outdoors during the warmer seasons and bringing it back indoors if temperatures rise above 90°F.

Bring it inside when the weather turns chilly again, with artificial light to supplement natural sunshine.

Water your tree when the top inch of soil has dried out, and make sure the container provides proper drainage to avoid oversaturation and root rot.

A square image of a Calamondin orange tree growing in a terra cotta urn pictured in bright sunshine.

Calamondin Orange

Fast Growing Trees offers calamondin orange trees in three different sizes.

3. Daffodil

Watching daffodil bulbs produce fragrant and colorful blooms is a delightful experience that’s guaranteed to induce joy!

A close up vertical image of daffodils blooming indoors with a view through the window in the background.

The stems grow up to 18 inches tall, depending on the variety, and they make lovely cut flowers.

Many varieties are yellow while others may be white or pink, and some cultivars have a stronger scent than others.

If you love the classic trumpet shape surrounded by six petals, try Narcissus ‘Mount Hood.’

Pale yellow when the flowers first bloom, they turn an icy white that’s simply stunning. Stems reach 16 to 18 inches tall.

A close up of a white 'Mount Hood' daffodil growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

‘Mount Hood’ Daffodils

‘Mount Hood’ bulbs are available from Dutch Grown, and this variety is excellent for forcing.

N. ‘Bridal Crown’ is a lovely option that is extremely aromatic, with a unique appearance.

A close up of 'Bridal Crown' daffodils pictured on a soft focus background.

‘Bridal Crown’

It features two-inch-wide white double blooms that are orange-yellow at the center, and tops out at a height of about 15 inches. Bulbs are available from Dutch Grown.

As with most container plants, daffodil bulbs require well-drained soil.

Plant the bulbs with their pointed side upwards and place your container by a window that receives plenty of bright sunlight.

To get some deeper insight into growing daffodils, give our guide a read, especially the section on potting up in planters.

4. Gardenia

The scent of gardenia flowers is so relaxing. They make wonderful living room centerpieces and dreamy bedside companions.

A close up vertical image of a gardenia plant growing in a pot set on a wooden surface pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo via Alamy.

Growing this flower indoors requires close attention to temperature and humidity on the part of the gardener.

Since their roots are sensitive, be mindful when repotting to avoid damage. Gardenias grown indoors can reach one to three feet tall with an equal spread.

The Jubilation™ gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides ‘Leeone’) is a compact cultivar that is perfect for containers, and it’s highly fragrant when in bloom.

A close up of 'Jubilation' gardenia flowers growing in a decorative urn pictured on a soft focus background.

Jubilation Gardenia

You can purchase a three-gallon potted specimen from Planting Tree.

Gain confidence to fuel your adventure in bringing gardenias indoors by reading our growing guide. It’s filled with tips that will support your success!

5. Hyacinth

Add a bright splash of color and a pleasant fragrance to your home with hyacinth blooms!

A close up horizontal image of hyacinth bulbs planted in a decorative wooden pot set on a windowsill.

The bulbs can be planted in containers to create an eye-catching display when in flower.

They grow to about 10 inches in height and are easy to force to bloom indoors at the coldest times of year.

A close up of 'Pink Pearl' hyacinth flowers growing in the garden.

‘Pink Pearl’ Hyacinth

Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Pink Pearl’ bulbs are available from Dutch Grown. This gorgeous cultivar is highly fragrant.

Check out our cultivation guide to learn more about growing hyacinths.

6. Jasmine

If I had to pick a favorite for the dreamiest scent, it would be jasmine!

Here, I’d like to highlight Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac) since it carries a strong reputation for having a potent scent that natural perfumers and gardeners adore.

A close up horizontal image of white flowers of Arabian jasmine growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo via Alamy.

Like the other aromatic plants mentioned already, placing jasmine near a sunny window where it will receive at least six hours of sun is optimal for growth and flowering.

Arabian jasmine can reach four to five feet in height and will require trellising for best results.

Pruning helps to keep them in check, and will encourage upright stem growth and more abundant blooms.

A close up of Arabian jasmine in full bloom growing in a terra cotta pot on a patio.

Sambac White Jasmine

You can find plants in two-and-a-half-quart containers available from Cottage Farms Direct via Home Depot.

Read more about growing jasmine in our guide.

7. Lavender

Lavender is one of the most calming scents that can be produced in an indoor garden. I like that it’s not too overpowering, like some flowers can be.

A horizontal image of a living room with a pot of lavender in bloom on a cocktail table with couches in soft focus in the background.

Like the other aromatic herbs listed here, lavender will require a location that receives bright, direct sun.

And selecting a compact variety to grow in a container is key!

A square image of a metal bucket filled with 'Sensational' lavender flowers set on a wooden surface.

Sensational Lavender

Fast Growing Trees has Sensational™ (Lavandula x intermedia) lavender plants available that live up to their name.

These are the perfect size for growing in a container, reaching about one to three feet tall and wide when mature.

Despite this lavender’s compact size, the foliage is dense and the flowers are abundant, with proper care.

Lavender benefits from deadheading after flowering. I like to cut the flowers and place them in vases in other areas of the house where I can enjoy the fresh, calming aroma.

Learn more about growing lavender in our guide.

8. Lemon Balm

Having a lemony-scented herb like lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) nearby helps bring in the sunshine on gloomy days!

A close up horizontal image of a pot of lemon balm with two glasses and an ivy plant set on a windowsill.

Herbs that are in the mint family like this one are very forgiving and benefit from being picked for use. The more you cut, the bushier the plant will grow.

They do enjoy the sunlight and need to be placed in an indoor area with bright sun exposure for at least four hours a day.

This could be next to a window that receives morning sun, or a space that’s sunny in the afternoon.

This aromatic herb will grow up to 18 inches tall, and you can cultivate it from seed to harvest in about 70 to 90 days.

A close up square image of a sprig of lemon balm set on a wooden surface.

Lemon Balm

Eden Brothers has seed packets available to get you started if you’d like to grow your own lemon balm indoors. And don’t forget to read our guide for tips.

Lemon balm can quickly fill a pot, which is a good thing! It will look nice and lush, and the leaves may be used fresh or dried.

9. Mint

This resilient herb’s scent is fresh and rejuvenating! Enjoy the fragrance and harvest some leaves for a tasty aromatic tea or to garnish a drink.

A close up horizontal image of mint growing in a small plastic tray set on a windowsill indoors.

It also makes a wonderful aromatic option to grow in an office space. Any time I need a pick-me-up, I run my fingers through the foliage and I am instantly invigorated.

Mentha plants are easy to grow indoors with adequate sunlight and water.

These plants don’t grow that tall, reaching about six to eight inches in height and spreading outward, over the sides of their containers.

Keep mint plants tidy by harvesting and enjoying the leaves.

A close up of a packet of mint seeds with text to the left of the frame and a hand-drawn illustration to the right.

Common Mint

Heirloom common mint seeds are available from Botanical Interests.

Read more about growing mint in our guide.

10. Nutmeg Geranium

This is one of my favorite geraniums, in terms of its scent!

The silvery-green foliage of this scented geranium (Pelargonium x fragrans) has a strong, spicy aroma that’s released when you brush up against the plant.

A close up horizontal image of nutmeg geranium in full bloom.

Like other types of geraniums, they are easy to grow in containers in a spot that receives at least four hours of bright sunlight per day.

It’s best to water them just before the soil dries out. You can find more tips for growing geraniums in our guide.

Nutmeg geraniums can reach two to three feet tall with an equal spread. Pruning is a simple process, and they will respond with vigorous growth. Check local nurseries for plants.

11. Oregano

The scent of oregano (Origanum vulgare) is nostalgic for me, so I enjoy having it close by.

If you feel the same way, add a plant to your indoor space. Used commonly in cooking, it makes a lovely addition to an indoor kitchen garden on a sunny windowsill.

A close up vertical image of oregano growing in a pot indoors.

Oregano grows to about 12 inches in height with an equal spread.

These plants don’t require much water. Wait until the soil has just about dried out for the most fragrant results, with an abundance of aromatic oils produced by the foliage.

And speaking of that foliage, for all of the plants described here, you want to be careful to water the soil rather than sprinkling the foliage.

Our roundup of the best watering cans for houseplants can help you to find the perfect option for your indoor garden.

A close up square image of freshly cut oregano tied into a bunch with string, set on a wooden surface.

Common Oregano

You can purchase common oregano seeds from Eden Brothers. Plants grown from seed mature in about 45 to 60 days.

Read our oregano growing guide for cultivation tips.

12. Paperwhite

Perhaps a bit controversial, paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) are a delight to some and abhorred by others, emitting a distinctive scent that many find pleasant – though others can’t stand it.

A close up horizontal image of paperwhite narcissus flowers in bloom indoors with sunlight filtering through a window.

A Narcissus relative of yellow daffodils, if you’re one of those gardeners who loves paperwhites, they can easily be grown indoors.

Add a touch of elegance to any space with these darling, delicate blooms.

They do best when placed in bright, indirect light, can be forced to bloom in the wintertime to brighten up your home, and benefit from added support when in flower.

A square image of paperwhites growing in a rectangular planter held up by a brass support.

Paperwhites with Brass Support

This gorgeous black ceramic planter with brass-plated support wires will look stunning in your living room or on a side table, and this kit from Gardener’s Supply Company comes complete with six ‘Ziva’ paperwhite bulbs and stones to fill the planter. Truly stunning!

Expect these to take four to eight weeks to bloom after planting. The flower stalks will grow to about 16 to 20 inches in height.

13. Patchouli

No matter how cliché it may be, I find the sweet, musky scent of patchouli leaves to be earthy and grounding. Would you agree? If so, you can grow this highly aromatic herb indoors!

A close up horizontal image of patchouli growing in a pot pictured on a dark background.

Be sure to place patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) near a window that receives at least six hours of bright, indirect light, and water whenever the top inch of soil starts to feel dry.

It can grow about one to two feet tall with an equal spread in containers.

The bushy green foliage of this mint relative makes it a pleasing sight in rooms that could use some extra life!

It’s also fun to introduce this herb to visitors who are familiar with the popular scent but have never seen or touched the actual plant.

A close up square image of the foliage of a patchouli plant.

Patchouli

Plants are available from Hirt’s Gardens via Walmart in two-and-a-half-inch containers.

14. Rosemary

I always enjoy seeing this aromatic herb sold as a seasonal plant to bring indoors during the holidays.

A close up horizontal image of a potted rosemary plant set on a sunny windowsill indoors.

Its camphor-like scent is enlivening and abundant, and the plants resemble miniature trees – they can even be used as training plants for those new to the art of bonsai.

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) is easy to grow in containers as long as it receives plenty of bright light. Excellent drainage is a must, and plants should only be watered when the soil has dried out.

Liven up your living space with this easy-care fragrant plant that’s also edible.

A square image of 'Tuscan Blue' rosemary growing in a terra cotta pot set on a concrete surface.

‘Tuscan Blue’ Rosemary

Fast Growing Trees has mature ‘Tuscan Blue’ rosemary plants in five-gallon pots waiting for you. This cultivar is named for the blue flowers that it produces.

Read our guide to growing rosemary now.

15. Sage

A culinary aromatic herb that can be grown on a sunny kitchen windowsill, I love the earthy scent of sage (Salvia officinalis), and the foliage is highly fragrant.

A close up vertical image of broadleaf sage growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

Broadleaf sage is my favorite option for growing indoors, for its ornamental qualities.

The blue-green, silvery leaves look amazing in various interior design schemes.

A close up of broadleaf sage foliage pictured on a soft focus background.

Broadleaf Sage

Broadleaf sage plants and seeds are available from Burpee. Plants will reach one to two feet in height with an equal spread.

Learn more about growing common sage in our guide.

16. Sweet Bay

The foliage of the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) is a little tougher than that of many plants, and crushing the leaves is the best way to experience its powerful aroma.

But you’re likely to catch a pleasant whiff of spiced honey and balsam if you brush past a container plant growing in the sunshine as well.

A close up horizontal image of a small bay laurel plant growing in a pink pot set on a wooden surface with a watering can and a book.

The shiny leaves have a beautiful green color, and these plants are fun to grow because they can also be shaped easily.

Pruning them into topiaries over time is common, and it looks so elegant in a dining room or front entryway.

Sweet bay will require at least six hours of bright, direct light when grown indoors. Depending on the variety, they can grow to be quite tall.

But compact cultivars are available, and plants can be pruned to keep their size in check.

A close up of bay laurel foliage pictured on a soft focus background.

Sweet Bay Laurel

Standard species plants are available from Burpee.

Read our guide to growing bay in containers to get started.

17. Thyme

The most compact fragrant herb on our list, thyme grows to about six inches in height and width in containers.

A close up horizontal image of thyme growing in a small pot indoors.

Choosing a location that receives at least six hours of bright indirect light will help these plants to flourish.

Lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus) is a lovely option with a delicate citrus scent, and dark green foliage accented with a lighter chartreuse.

But common thyme (T. vulgaris) also makes a beautiful addition to indoor gardens.

Proper drainage is essential to keep this aromatic and flavorful culinary herb happy, and plants should be watered only when the soil has completely dried out.

A close up vertical image of common thyme growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

Common Thyme

Common thyme plants and seeds are available from Burpee.

Bring Fragrant Flowers and Foliage Indoors

I hope this roundup of fragrant plants that are easy to grow indoors has inspired you to consider welcoming some new houseplant friends into your home or office.

A close up horizontal image of a collection of houseplants on wooden shelves.

These plants not only enliven a space with their lush foliage and beautiful flowers, but they have the added benefit of providing natural fragrance. Many can be used as ingredients in cooking and aromatherapy.

Which aromatic plants do you grow indoors? Any varieties that we missed here? Tell us all about your favorites in the comments section below.

If you’re interested in sharpening your skills and finding even more inspiration to grow plants indoors, check out these articles next:

  • Houseplant Primer: A Guide to Basic Care and Durable Plants
  • Add These 5 Nontoxic Houseplants to Your Home Decor ASAP
  • 23 Colorful Houseplants to Warm Up Your Home This Winter

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