They say that our sense of smell is tied closest to our memories. How many times have you caught a whiff of a nostalgic scent and been instantly transported back to the days of your childhood? We can’t underestimate the power of fragrance to take us back in time, and to that end, we should also remember that each day brings a new memory to revisit in the future.
While some of us may be experiencing some stress right now, it’s reassuring to remember that the difficult moments are not the memories that will survive. We’ll recall the peaceful moments spent in the garden, and our children and grandchildren will remember the scents of being here at our side. Someday, these will be the scents that bring them closer to us, wherever they shall go.
In the spirit of planting these joyful memories, I’ve put together a list of some of our favorite fragrant flowering bulbs.
Our Top 5 Summer-Blooming Bulbs to Plant Now
Peruvian Daffodil (Hymenocallis festalis) - A fun and interesting change from the Daffodils seen in the average garden, the Peruvian Daffodil shows off pretty, pure-white flowers with long tendril-like petals surrounding the cup. These flowers are not true Daffodils—they’re more closely related to Amaryllis, and their sweet fragrance is fresh and lily-like. While people tend to adore the scent of this sculptural flower, pests won’t come near it! 18-24” tall, winter-hardy to zones 8-10.
Lilium longiflorum ‘White Heaven’ - Also known as Easter Lily, Lilium longiflorum are best known for their large, magnificent flowers. However, this variety is especially prized for its “heavenly” scent, a strong and very distinctive floral aroma. ‘White Heaven’ performs beautifully in the garden, but still makes a divine potted or cut flower for gifts or special occasions. 2 to 3’ tall, winter-hardy to zones 7-10.
Lilium Oriental ‘Gran Tourismo’ - There’s nothing subdued about this Oriental Lily, which features a fragrance rich enough to match its intense purple color. The dramatic size and shape of the flower is so eye-catching in the garden, and will even attract the attention of dainty hummingbirds. 3-4’ tall, winter-hardy to zones 3-8.
Lilium speciosum Rubrum 'Uchida' - ‘Uchida’ is a Turk’s cap-type lily, with petals that curl back to reveal long stamens and gorgeous speckled pink petals. With no shortage of attractive features, ‘Uchida’ is also our latest-blooming lily, and its fragrance is one of the best. You’ll love how this tall, unique-looking variety fills the garden with its perfume from early to late summer! 2-4’ tall, winter-hardy to zones 3-9.
Polianthes tuberosa ‘Single Mexican’ - If you’re not familiar with Tuberose, they’re an English garden favorite with multiple waxy flowers blooming on long, sturdy stems. I can’t sing the praises of this variety loud enough when it comes to creating fantastic cut bouquets, their scent simply must be experienced to be believed. After planting in spring, you can expect the first blooms to emerge in late summer. However, if you’re able to overwinter them, they bloom earlier and much, much longer. 18-36” tall, winter-hardy to zones 8-10. (Note: Zone 7 may be able to manage overwintering these fragrant gems with an extra-thick layer of mulch.)
Fragrant Spring-Blooming Bulbs to Plant This Fall
These are some of the sweetest-smelling bulbs blooming in our gardens right now! You can pre-order yours in our Fall-Planted catalogue.
Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Yellow Queen’ - These adorable Hyacinths are blooming in our gardens right now, and they might be the perfect fragrant Easter flower. Their early-spring bloom period, butter-yellow blossoms, and delightful sweet fragrance would certainly be Easter-bunny approved! Excellent for forcing indoors, too—a potted ’Yellow Queen’ would make an excellent “grand prize” for your annual egg hunt. 8-10” tall, winter-hardy to zones 4-8.
Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’ - You’d think the name says it all, but the flower really makes the statement. Grape Hyacinths normally look like, well, grapes—but not this one! The unusual yellow flowers look a little more like a miniature bunch of bananas clinging to the flower stalk. At the top, a crown of purple flowers creates an interesting contrast effect. I have no doubt this bulb’s looks will catch your eye in the garden, but its incredible sweet fragrance will hold your attention. 5-8” tall, winter-hardy to zones 4-9.
Daffodil ‘Gigantic Star’ - I have a soft spot for this enormous Daffodil, with its big lion-like face and vanilla-like fragrance. An early to mid-spring bloomer, ‘Gigantic Star’ is big, bold, bright, and absolutely beautiful. A reliable perennial, it’ll return with its amazing scent and gorgeous blooms year after year. 18-24” tall, winter-hardy to zones 3-9.
Tulip ‘Orange Princess’ - This tulip is so beautiful, even folks who don’t love tulips are always smitten when they see it! ‘Orange Princess’ is the double version of Prinses Irene, with the same blazing orange and purple coloring and intoxicating aroma. If you’re not familiar with double tulip varieties, this one is a real stunner—loaded with enough petals to give it a rose-like form and a scent that gives even the finest rose bush a run for its money! 10-12” tall, winter-hardy to zones 3-8.
Ipheon uniflorum ‘Tessa’ - We’ve noticed a movement of folks who are moving away from the traditional, manicured lawn and toward a wilder, more pollinator-friendly landscape. This Ipheon variety is great for those who are right in the middle, who love their carpet of grass but would love to add some pollinator-friendly color and scent. The grasslike foliage, short stature, and dreamy fragrance of this flower make it a fabulous choice for planting around lawn edges. The bulb naturalizes quickly, spreading a blanket of its sweet-scented, pink-and-white flowers throughout the area. 2-4” tall, winter-hardy to zones 5-9.
All flowers are a blessing, but the ones that smell great stay with us long after their blooms fade. We hope you’ll do the same and stay in touch by signing up for our newsletter! You receive news updates from Brent & Becky’s as we continue to adapt with you, plus our best growing tips, exciting new bulbs varieties, and more goodies from our gardens to yours.
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