Planting Flowers for Summer Perfume

Rich in scent and color, tobacco plant (Nicotiana) or cherry pie (Heliotropium) are good selections for warm-weather blooms.
Trumpet Shapped Tobacco Plant Blooms til Frost

Trumpet Shapped Tobacco Plant Blooms til Frost

Nicotiana, also known as flowering tobacco, gives off a sweet smell in the evening, making it the perfect plant to plant by a porch, deck, or patio. This annual also attracts hummingbirds.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Nicotiana, also known as flowering tobacco, gives off a sweet smell in the evening, making it the perfect plant to plant by a porch, deck, or patio. This annual also attracts hummingbirds.

For a dazzling display of scented flowers, try a few annuals, such as the tobacco plant, Nicotiana and richly perfumed cherry pie, Heliotropium. Ideal for mixed displays, combine these scented stars with other brightly colored blooms as part of a summer plan. Where space is limited, try the spicy fragrance of alpine pinks as a decorative table centerpiece.

Tobacco Plant

The flowering tobacco plant, Nicotiana, forms the centerpiece, its trumpet-shaped, scented flowers blooming until the frost. The unusual acid-green flowers of this annual contrast dramatically with the red leaves of Solenostemon, or coleus, whose fiery shades echo those of the scarlet trailing petunia, which tumbles down the sides of the container. Plant this group in late spring, starting with the tobacco plant in the center, followed by the coleus, and green Heuchera, and finally dot the petunias in the remaining gaps. Set outside in a sunny spot when all threat of frost has passed.

Color Choices

Color choices If lime-green flowers aren’t to your taste, tobacco plants are available in many other colors, including white, red, lilac, pink and purple. However, check your seed or plant packs, since not all Nicotiana are heavily scented. You could also watch for dark purple petunias, most of which are fragrant.

Cherry Pie

Some plants simply don’t live up to their names, but cherry pie does not fail. A bushy annual, its dark green leaves are topped with dense clusters of tiny purple flowers that pack a fruity punch that instantly reminds you of a freshly baked cherry pie. Perfect on their own in small pots or used as fillers around larger specimens, Heliotropium is easy to grow from seed sown indoors in early spring.

Size Choices

One of the most popular forms, Heliotropium ‘Dwarf Marine,’ reaches 14 inches (35cm), while ‘Baby Blue Improved’ grows to just 8 inches (20cm) making it perfect for window boxes. For larger plants, try x Hybrid Marine, which reaches 18 inches (45cm).

Pretty Pinks

Alpine pinks make great container plants, offering dainty clove-scented flowers on sturdy stems above a mat of gray leaves. Partner them with other alpines, such as the creeping Frankenia, whose stems of rose-pink flowers will tumble loosely down the sides of a pot. Dianthus ‘Devon Flores’ has bright magenta, double flowers that echo the warm shade of the Frankenia blooms.

Color Choices

Pinks come in many colors, from white to pink and purple, with striped, flecked or bicolored flowers as well as single and double blooms. Easy to maintain, Dianthus are drought tolerant and need little attention, apart from watering a couple of times a week in the summer and an application of slow-release fertilizer worked into the compost in the spring. Protect plants from winter rain, and remove fading blooms to encourage more to form.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Garden Plants and Flowers

Learn how to discover which plants underscore and help define a specific garden design style.

The Cold, Hard Facts on Protecting Potted Plants

Get tips for helping your potted plants survive winter.

How to Plant Perennial Flowers & Plants

Perennials are the mainstay of the traditional flower garden. When planted correctly, they are long-lived.

Planting Winter Rye

Improve your vegetable garden soil with a cover crop of winter rye, a deep-rooted grain that breaks up hard soil.

Air Plant Care

Add easy-care color to your home with air plants. These foolproof plants are perfect for even the most neglectful gardener.

Winterizing Strawberry Plants

Learn how to protect your strawberry plants for winter, including tips for dealing with plants in jars, barrels and pyramids.

Choosing Terrarium Plants

Making a terrarium is even easier with this helpful guide to choosing terrarium plants.

Plant a Winter Window Box

A window box planted with hardy flowers and foliage offers a garden view when it's too cold to stay outside.