Fragrant Plants for Autumn Gardens: Using Scent and Aroma in the Fall Landscape

Fragrant plants for autumn gardens

Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Just because the flush of spring and summer flowers has ended, doesn’t mean a garden has to be boring or devoid of sweet aroma. Try these plants for fall fragrance.

There are vines, perennials and ornamental shrubs which can provide a pleasing fragrance to any garden landscape even in the autumn weeks. Try adding one or more of these plants to a fragrant themed garden to extend the seasonal interest!

Sweet Autumn Clematis for Vertical, Vining Fragrance

Sweet autumn clematis

Sweet autumn clematis is a perennial vine related to the spring and summer blooming clematis popular in garden centers, but of a different variety. This fragrant vine is Clematis terniflora and can grow up to 20 feet tall, tolerating part shade to full sun. The white flowers appear in late summer and, though tiny, will create a snowy effect through the fall weeks as they cover the vine.

While some gardeners find the fragrant vine somewhat invasive and tend to have plenty of volunteer seedlings to give to friends and neighbors, others seem to have no problem with the vine whatsoever.

Sweet autumn clematis does grow rather large, and should be allowed plenty of room to clamber over a fence, up an old tree stump or supported in the back corner of the garden where it will grow up a trellis support.

Perennial Fall Fragrance in a Shade Loving Plant

Actaea simplex

Bugbane (Actaea simplex), also called black cohosh or autumn snakeroot, is a fragrant perennial that prefers full or part shade. A nice addition to any fragrance garden with a shady corner, bugbane’s flowers are lovely, arching bottle-brush flowers, typically available in white.

The flower fragrance is said to help repel harmful insects from the garden, giving bugbane the common name. Hardy in zones 4-9, the fragrant plant needs shade and evenly moist soil to achieve full stature, ranging from 3 feet to 6 feet depending on cultivar.

Butterfly Bush for Fragrant Fall Shrubs

Butterfly brush

Sometimes an ornamental shrub can be a garden asset, and the butterfly bush is certainly one of those joys in the garden. But for the fragrance garden it is a great source of soothing, sweet aroma in the landscape.

While the flowers usually begin near the end of summer, butterfly bush puts on a show all the way through the middle of autumn and sometimes beyond.

The long-lasting blooms make a great transition into the fall season for any fragrance themed garden. Butterfly bushes prefer full sun and can grow up to 10 feet tall and wide depending on the cultivar, so gardeners should provide this fragrant shrub with room to spread.

Whatever your gardening situation – small space with the need for a vertical climber, shady garden corners or the desire for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, there is a fragrant fall plant to fit the space!

Fragrant Plants for Autumn Gardens: Using Scent and Aroma in the Fall Landscape