My Backyard Hangout

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Plants are one of the best ways to decorate your yard. Even if you don’t have a lot of free ground space, you can always add planters. While many people look for plants based on color or appearance, they’re forgetting another attractive characteristic; smell. Here, I’ve compiled a list of 15 fragrant plants for patio pots that you can use to instantly improve your backyard.

Note: If you have small children or pets, you should always check plants for toxicity before adding them to your home or yard.

1. Gardenia

A shrub with rose-like blooms, the bittersweet scent of gardenias is in many perfumes and colognes. They make great fragrant plants for patio pots as well. They’re most commonly found in white, but there are also some that are pink or yellow.

2. Angel’s Trumpet

Named for their downward-facing blooms, Angel’s Trumpet is another fragrant plant that you can pot. Their scent is most intense in late evening into night, which is when many people hang out in their backyard. If you have kids or pets, I would probably pass on this one because it is well-known for its toxicity. There are several different colors, not all of which have a smell. Some that do include, Yellow Angel’s Trumpet, which gives off a lemony scent.

3. Scented Geranium

For variety in both color and smell, consider scented geraniums. Bloom colors range from pink and white, like the Angel’s Perfume geraniums, to red or purple. Scent options offer even more diversity. There are fruity varieties, like strawberry, apple, and lemon. There are also scents like nutmeg, chocolate, and cinnamon.

4. Garden Phlox

Phlox are great for filling containers because they produce several small blooms all season. Some are pink or red, while others are white, purple or blue. Though not as strong as some of the other fragrant plants for patio pots, they do give off a subtle sweet smell. They’re also good for attracting pollinators.

5. Lantana

Like oysters, lantanas are an acquired taste. Or smell, I should say. Some people enjoy them, relating them to a strong citrusy fragrance. Other people, however, do not share this likeness and consider them to have a more chemical odor. Personally, I like lantanas. They add a nice pop of color, ranging from pink and red to yellow and white. They’re also great for attracting pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds.

6. Oriental Lilies

If you want a strong-smelling plant with large flowers, lilies are the way to go. One specific type you could buy is the Stargazer lily. The biggest downfall to lilies is that they only bloom for a short period. For more consistent color, you need to plant them alongside other flowering plants.

Vining & Trailing Fragrant Plants for Patio Pots

7. Star Jasmine

Another fragrant plant that you can grow in a pot on your patio is a Jasmine plant. There are several different varieties, many of which are well-known for their wonderful scent. One option, in particular, is a Star Jasmine, which has small white blooms and smells sort of like vanilla. They’re a vine, which makes them an even better choice if you have a pergola or trellis for them to grow on.

8. Honeysuckle

Honeysuckles are a similar option to Star Jasmine. They’re also a vine with small, sweet-smelling blooms. But one difference is their hardiness. Honeysuckle is a hardier plant. This is important to know if you live in an area with harsh winters and plan to grow them around your pergola posts or some other outdoor structure. While you can buy them in white and pale yellow blooms, there are also red and pink options as well.

Herbal Fragrant Plants for Patio Pots

9. English Lavender

When it comes to fragrant plants for patio pots, some of the best options are herbs. English Lavender, for example, has a fresh, subtle scent, nice color, and a plethora of functional uses. Some people like to use it for homemade lotions and soaps. Not to mention it’s also a natural repellent for mosquitoes and other pests.

10. Mint

Although not as colorful, mint plants are also another fragrant herb. There are so many varieties to choose from, each of which produces a unique scent. Peppermint, chocolate mint, and apple mint are only a few options. If you like mint but want more color, create a mixed patio pot and add some companion plants. Some great companion plants for mint include chamomile, marigolds, and roses. Growing other plants with mint can even be beneficial. When grown with roses, for example, it can help deter plant pests like aphids.

11. Lemongrass

A third type of herb you can use is lemongrass, which, as you might have guessed, smells like lemons. Similar to the mint plant, they don’t produce any vibrant blooms. If you want something more visually attractive, you’ll want to mix them. Again, you can use marigolds. Or, as mentions, roses, daylilies, or lemon verbena are also good.

12. Chamomile

With white, daisy-like flowers, chamomile is a plant that is great for both scent and visual appearance. There are at least two popular options to choose from. Both Roman and German chamomile have similar blooms and an apple-like scent.

Fruiting Fragrant Plants for Patio Pots

13. Lemon

Dwarf lemon trees make great fragrant plants for patio pots. They’ll also provide plenty of color for your deck, pergola, or patio area. Like any fruit tree, it may take a couple of years for your tree to produce lemons, if you’re trying to grow them from seeds. But it’s easy to buy young lemon plants that have reached or are close to, maturity.

14. Orange

If you prefer the sweet flavor, you can also buy dwarf orange trees. Despite being dwarf trees, you’ll eventually still need large patio pots for the tree to reach its full potential.

15. Lime

A third fruiting option is a lime tree. Unless you live in an area with mild weather year-round, you’ll need to bring your fruit trees in during the winter. Many people store them in their basement, garage, or a similar area.


If you’re looking for fragrant plants for patio pots, there are several to choose from. Herbs and dwarf fruit trees are some of the best plants for producing strong, pleasant aromas. Some of them also serve well for other uses, such as repelling mosquitos and other pests. There are also several flowering plants and shrubs that have a nice smell to them, such as oriental lilies and scented geraniums.

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