7 fragrant houseplants for a nice smelling home

three different houseplants are placed in a variety of pots.
The Sill/Amazon

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Ever stepped into a room and been embraced by a delightful fragrance that instantly uplifts your mood? That’s the magic of a fragrant indoor houseplant. Whether you’re a seasoned plant parent or a newbie looking to spruce up your space, incorporating a few aromatic plants can take your home’s ambiance to another level.

We asked horticulturists and plant care experts for their top picks for the best indoor plants that make a house smell good. Here are their recommendations for fragrant houseplants.

Geranium

Geranium 'Max Frei'

$18 at Amazon

“There are dozens of varieties of scented geraniums and many of them are named like their scents. While their appearance varies, most have interestingly lobed leaves with some degree of hair on them, making them both visually attractive and fun to touch,” Justin Hancock, a horticulturist from Costa Farms, says. “And that’s a great thing because the leaves contain the fragrant volatile oils, so rubbing the foliage releases their lovely scents.”

His favorite varieties are Orange Fizz, Atomic Snowflake and Chocolate Peppermint, which has “lobed and fuzzy medium-green leaves marked with purple blotches in the center and smells of fresh mint.”

  • Size: Up to 2 feet tall/wide
  • Sun: Bright sunlight
  • Water: When the top 25-50% of the soil is dry to the touch

Hoya

Hoya Tricolor Hanging Basket

$58 at The Sill

Hancock recommends the Hoya as an indoor plant that smells good.

“This easy-care climbing/trailing plant is incredibly trendy right now with plant parents,” he says. “It has thick, almost leathery leaves (some varieties of it are variegated with white, cream or pink tones) and clusters of thick, star-shaped flowers in a lovely shade of light pink.”

These flowers are known to have chocolate, citrus or vanilla scents.

“To me, the fragrance is like sweet chocolate, but everyone I talk to seems to describe it a little differently. No matter how they describe it, they tend to agree that it’s quite a lovely scent,” he says.

  • Size: Up to 2-feet long trails
  • Sun: Bright sunlight or artificial light
  • Water: When soil is dry to the touch

Lavender

Back to the Roots Windowsill Planter: Lavender

$20 at Amazon

Used in bath products and recipes lavender has a beautiful scent that is light and fresh. Nikhil Arora is an avid gardener and the co-founder of Back to the Roots, an organic gardening company that aims to get young people and kids growing.

He says, “Lavender is relatively easy to care for and suitable for both new and experienced gardeners.”

  • Size: Up to 2 feet tall/wide
  • Sun: Needs hot bright light (boost growth with artificial lights)
  • Water: Sparingly; do not over-water

MORE: What to plant in spring: Get started now on your garden

JasmineJasmine plant

$78 at The Sill

Available in a range of different pots, this jasmine plant is an easy-care option that thrives in sunny spots.

“This plant is a personal favorite for its intoxicating sweet fragrance that becomes especially pronounced at night,” says Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal and someone with more than 25 years of experience in the landscaping industry. “It suits both beginners and seasoned plant owners, needing bright, indirect light and consistent moisture to thrive. Its calming scent makes it perfect for areas of relaxation like bedrooms or living areas.”

  • Size: 8–14 inches tall
  • Sun: Bright indirect sunlight
  • Water: Soil should be moist but not soggy

Gardenia

Gardenia

$31 at Amazon

The glossy leaves, white flowers and captivating scent make gardenias a perfect houseplant gift and is another favorite of Caballero.

Gardenia offers a rich, sweet aroma from its creamy white blooms. It’s a bit more challenging to care for, requiring bright, indirect light and high humidity, so it might be better suited for those with some experience in plant care,” he says. “The effort is rewarded with a potent and beautiful fragrance that can perfume an entire room.”

  • Size: Up to 4 inches tall
  • Sun: Bright indirect sunlight
  • Water: Consistently moist soil

MORE: 7 fragrant houseplants for a nice smelling home

Calamansi or Lemon Tree

Calamansi Tree

$78 at The Sill

You’ll need a lot of light to keep a citrus tree indoors whether it’s a calamansi or a lemon tree — but it can be done, and they smell gorgeous.

“Lemon trees are quite lovely, bearing dark and shiny dark green leaves that accent waxy white flowers in late winter/early spring,” Hancock says. “Most lemon varieties bear sharp thorns, so while they’re an attractive novelty plant if you have a bright enough spot, they’re not for everyone. If the flowers are pollinated, they can produce edible fruits.”

He also cautions that citrus trees can be tricky to care for and require patience.

“If you’re growing this specifically for its fragrant white flowers, I recommend buying an established plant from a local nursery rather than growing one from seed,” he says. “It can take years for a seed-grown variety to get mature enough to produce flowers indoors.”

  • Size: Up to 5 inches tall
  • Sun: As much light as possible
  • Water: When the top 25-50% of the potting mix is dry to the touch

Plumeria

PINK PLUMERIA Rubra Frangipani Rare 5 Seeds by FerriSeeds at Etsy

$12 at Etsy

Matthew Wilson, the gardening expert at HandyGardeners says that plumeria plants “have the most extravagant fragrance that bursts out after sunset. It becomes most noticeable in the dark.”

These blooms come in a variety of shades, including orange, reds, yellows and pinks and you may have seen them used to make beautiful Hawaiian leis.

  • Size: Up to 25 inches tall
  • Sun: Indirect sunlight
  • Water: Let top soil dry between waterings

From the invigorating scent of lavender to the sweet fragrance of jasmine, these beloved houseplants offer delightful natural aromas to suit every preference. Take your pick and indulge your senses!

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About the Author
Fiona Tapp
Fiona Tapp is a British award-winning writer and former teacher living in Canada. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, Popular Science, Parents, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, and many more. In addition to travel, parenting, and education stories, she loves writing product reviews and gift guides which she produced for CNN Underscored for two years as well as for The Spruce, Reader's Digest, Forbes, and Brit + Co.

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