I look forward to walking to the mailbox in the mornings to get the newspaper, because one of my favorite shrubs is in bloom now.
This shrub is the tea olive. When the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can smell this plant 200 feet away. Tea olives are very hardy, pest-free, and easy to take care of.
However, there are other shrubs that can fill our gardens with sweet smells. Some of these are Buddleia, or butterfly bushes, Ligustrum, and members of the rose family. There are fragrant shrubs that will grow in full sun, partial shade and full shade. So there is a fragrant shrub for every growing condition.
Most fragrant shrubs grow best in full sun. One that does well in full sun to partial shade is sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus ). This heirloom plant can be found in many older gardens. The foliage of this plant will turn yellow in the fall. The flowers can be white, yellow or maroon-colored, depending on the variety. The fragrance will remind you of ripening melons, strawberries, pineapples and bananas.
These plants flower in April and May. The more light they receive, the more flowers they produce. The soil around the plant needs to be well-drained.
Sweetshrub will grow 6 feet to 10 feet high and 6 feet to 12 feet wide, so it should be planted where it can spread.
Another shrub that does well in our area is the Viburnum species. There are two types of Viburnums that produce fragrant flowers. These are Burkwood Viburnum (Viburnum xburkwoodii ) and Fragrant Viburnum (Viburnum xcarlcephalum ). Both of these shrubs will grow in full sun to partial shade and like a soil that is moist but well-drained.
To get the most flowers, plant them in full sun. Burkwood Viburnum will have flowers that open in April. The flowers will be pink as they emerge and then turn white. The flowers will be 2 inches to 3 inches wide and last seven to 10 days. This is a large shrub that will get 8 feet to 10 feet tall with a slightly smaller spread.
The Fragrant Viburnum is a loose, often-open shrub that flowers in late April and May. The flowers start out pink in the bud and turn white. They can be up to 5 inches in diameter in a snowball shape. The foliage of this plant can develop a reddish-purple color in the fall. This shrub will grow 6 feet to 10 feet high and close to the same dimensions in width.
The next shrub I will mention, Daphne, is one of the more fragrant plants available. The problem is that it is very finicky. If it likes the site it is growing in, you will have a great plant. If it doesn't like the site, it usually dies.
Daphne grows best in partial shade or in areas that get just morning sun. Also, it likes well-drained soil. If the soil is too wet, it will get root rot and die. I planted two Daphnes beside my front steps. One died and the other lived.
This shrub will give you flowers in late December through early February. One of the best types of Daphne to plant is the Burkwood Daphne. This plant will give you pinkish white to white blooms that are up to 2 inches across.
One of the favorite shrubs of gardeners is the azalea. You will see the evergreen azalea in full bloom in April, especially during Masters Week. This azalea isn't very fragrant, but one type of azalea is. This is the native azalea.
Native azaleas are deciduous. The flowers will appear on the plant before the foliage appears.
At one time, there was a large patch of native azaleas on a hillside on The Pass. You could ride by in late March and early April and see the yellow and orange flowers under the towering trees.
There are new hybrids of native azaleas coming on the market. You can get them with white, yellow, orange and red.
Most native azaleas are understory plants, but they will tolerate morning sun. They like moist but well-drained soil. Most of the native azaleas will get 8 feet to 12 feet high and the same size in diameter, if they are in an area that is suited for their growth.
The last plant that I will mention is Sweet Mockorange, Philadelphus coronaries. I have one of these in my garden. Someone gave me the plant, but they didn't know what it was. It took me a few years to determine what it was. When the shrub is in full bloom, in May and June, it is a beautiful plant that adds a lot to the landscape. When it is not blooming, it fades into the background. The shrub will get 10 feet to 12 feet high.
Fragrant shrubs add beautiful blooms to your landscape while filling the garden with pleasing aromas.
Charles Phillips is a retired Columbia County Extension Service agent and operates Hort Consulting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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