16 Delightfully Fragrant Indoor Plants That Will Make Your Home Smell Great

Aromatic oils with lavender flowers on marble background, seen from above

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We love growing our indoor gardens for their lush foliage and colorful blossoms, but houseplants with fragrant flowers and leaves add another element of freshness to a cozy space. Essential oils and scented candles just don't compare to smelling the petals of new blooms—or even the aromatherapy boost of rubbing leaves between your fingers. And while spring and summer flowers add a welcomed fragrance to the growing season, there are also plenty of plant species that smell great year-round.

Read on to learn about the most fragrant houseplants to grow indoors to keep your space smelling fresh.

Meet the Expert

Alexandra Jones is a certified Master Gardener in Philadelphia. As an indoor and outdoor gardener, Jones is an author in topics covering gardening, climate, urban farming, and sustainability.

01 of 16

Lavender

French lavender growing in a metal pot in a garden

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  • Botanical Name: Lavandula
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.7 to 7.3

Lavender is a favorite among indoor gardeners for its cool, calming fragrance and cheery purple blooms. This hardy herb can usually survive outdoors in cold climates, but keeping yours in a container will allow you to bring it inside to enjoy its scent all winter long. Make sure to place it in a spot with full, direct sunlight, or consider using a grow light to keep it blooming during the cold months. Cut blooms with unopened buds and hang them to dry for use in teas and desserts, or simply snip off a stem and rub the leaves between your fingers for a quick scent.

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02 of 16

Citrus

Man watering potted houseplant Citrus calamondin using a elegant white metallic watering can with long thin spout, yellow thin circular handle, white background.

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  • Botanical Name: Citrus × microcarpa
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
  • Soil Type: Loamy, well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5

Dwarf citrus trees like calamansi (also known as calamondin) and Meyer lemon are a favorite among houseplant lovers—and not just because these cheery tropicals reward attentive gardeners with the literal fruits of their labor. Their small, white blooms give off a delicious scent that you can pick up across the room. Citrus trees need at least eight hours of full sunlight, so they're ideal for a bright south-facing window, or give them a grow light made for citrus trees to keep them blooming and fruiting.

03 of 16

Lemon Balm

lemon balm and thyme plants in metal pots with scissors and watering can

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  • Botanical Name: Melissa officinalis
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
  • Soil Type: Loamy, well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.5 to 7.0

Speaking of citrus, lemon balm—a hardy, vigorous relative of mint—is one of the most enticing scents of the garden. Grow yours in a container for easy transport indoors for the winter, and to keep it from going wild and crowding out the rest of your plants. Give your lemon balm plant as much sun as you can (full sun is best) and allow it to dry out between waterings. Snip and dry bunches for use in tea, desserts, or DIY bath and body products.

04 of 16

Hoya

Close-up detail photo of flower wax plant or Hoya Carnosa.

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  • Botanical Name: Hoya carnosa
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil, perlite and orchid bark mix
  • Soil pH: 6.o to 6.5

Hoya carnosa, also known as wax plant, is a popular houseplant for its shiny green leaves—but its colorful, fragrant flowers are a beautiful bonus. Most varieties of healthy, mature hoya plants at least five years old can produce clusters of star-shaped pink blossoms. To increase chances of your hoya flowering, find a spot with lots of bright, indirect light and keep the plant there: They don't like to be moved. Increase the humidity around your plant, feed it with half-strength houseplant fertilizer once a month, and in late winter, pinch back the stems to encourage new growth.

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05 of 16

Gardenia

beautiful white flower gardenia on green background

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  • Botanical Name: Gardenia jasminoides
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil, peat moss mix
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 6.5

These lush houseplants are a little high maintenance, but they reward attentive plant parents with full, snow-white blooms that give off a heady scent. Keep yours in a spot with direct sunlight that's away from hot air and cold drafts. Like hoya plants, gardenia thrives best in the same location and can become finicky if moved around. You'll also want to give this plant moderate humidity, ideally by running a humidifier nearby (they're divas, remember?) or setting it atop a humidifying tray of pebbles and water. Snipping off woody stems will also help encourage flowering.

06 of 16

Scented Geranium

essential oils with rose geranium flowers at spa salon

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  • Botanical Name: Pelargonium
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.8 to 6.3

Like their annual geranium cousins, scented geraniums produce clusters of cheerful blooms—but their lovely scent comes from their leaves, not from their flowers. Rose geranium is one of the most common varieties, but scents range from lemon to apple or nutmeg depending on which variant you're growing. Give these hardy plants plenty of full sun in a bright, south-facing window, or use a grow light designed to support flowering to keep them blooming all winter. Bring your scented geraniums back outdoors when the weather warms up to encourage lush, full growth and to let them soak up direct sunlight.

07 of 16

Lily of the Valley

Potted Lily Of The Valley houseplant with white flowers On Aqua Wood Background

Diane Labombarbe/Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Convallaria majalis
  • Sun Exposure: Indirect light, some shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 7.0

This lily-like relative of asparagus offers charming sprays of fragrant, small bell-shaped flowers each spring. While it grows well both indoors and out, it's best to keep it as a houseplant because it can become invasive in natural areas. It's a great option for an east- or north-facing windowsill, and this plant needs no fertilizing thanks to its vigorous growth habits.

Be sure to keep your lily of the valley far out of reach of cats, dogs, and children, because all parts of the plant can be highly toxic if ingested.

08 of 16

Paperwhites

Close-up of several paperwhite narcissus plants blooming with white flowers and yellow centers

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  • Botanical Name: Narcissus papyraceus
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

A classic wintertime bloom, paperwhite bulbs are easy to force into bloom during the colder months of the year. They can be planted in soil, and you can increase their humidity by placing the pot atop a layer of pebbles and water (water just below the top of the pebbles). Keep your paperwhites in a place out of direct sunlight, then move the bulbs to a sunny spot when you feel resistance with a gentle tug—that means the bulbs have rooted. Keep the plants moist; when you see green shoots popping up, you can expect blooms in one to two weeks.

09 of 16

Peppermint

close-up of peppermint plant growing in metal garden pot


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  • Botanical Name: Mentha × piperita
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light or full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

Peppermint, one of the most common aromatic garden plants, can also be grown inside easily in summer or winter. Grow your mint in a pot to keep it from spreading, or dig up a clump from your outdoor mint in early fall and bring it inside. With lots of full sunlight from a south-facing window or a grow light, the plant will keep producing its refreshing green leaves all winter long. Use them fresh or dried in teas, desserts, and bath products.

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10 of 16

Plumeria

Red and Pink Frangipani or plumeria flowers on Plant

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  • Botanical Name: Plumeria rubra
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light or full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil or cactus mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.7

Also called Frangipani plants, these tropical trees are traditionally used in Hawaii to make leis. Plumerias make excellent indoor trees, although you'll want to size their container so that they can be brought indoors in the fall and outdoors when the weather warms up. Give your plumeria as much full, direct sunlight as you can—and be sure to place it in a warm spot away from cold drafts. Allow your plant to dry out between waterings to prevent excess water from damaging its roots. To encourage sweet-smelling blooms, feed your plumeria with houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength every couple of weeks during the spring and summer growing seasons.

11 of 16

Jasmine

indoor jasmine houseplant with white flowers and green leaves on windowsill

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  • Botanical Name: Jasminum polyanthum
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.5

While not every type of jasmine has fragrant flowers, the species most commonly grown as a houseplant, Jasminum polyanthum, does. To reward you with sweet-smelling blooms in February, your jasmine needs four hours of direct sunlight per day—a south-facing window is a good spot—and cool temperatures in the fall to set buds. It's a good idea to prune the plant back in the spring; these vines will also need a garden trellis or other support to climb on as they grow to maturity.

12 of 16

Eucalyptus

GETTY IMAGES/LITHIUMCLOUD

GETTY IMAGES/LITHIUMCLOUD

  • Botanical Name: Eucalyptus globulus
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

While this plant doesn't have flowers, its scent is popular in many essential oils and candles. Eucalyptus is a type of herb that can bring fresh, earthy fragrances to your space. This plant will grow best (and produce the most scents) in direct sunlight, so be sure to place your eucalyptus in a spot near a south-facing window to let it soak up nutrients. Since it's prone to looking leggy, you can trim back its stems to keep its leaves looking full and lush.

13 of 16

Rosemary

GETTY IMAGES/SIMA_HA

GETTY IMAGES/SIMA_HA

  • Botanical Name: Salvia rosmarinus
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
  • Soil Type: Loamy, well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

You may be familiar with rosemary from finding it growing tall in outdoor gardens, but this flowery-smelling shrub is also a great candidate for growing indoors under the right conditions. Your rosemary plant can grow up to five feet tall at maturity, but it can easily be pruned to retain the height and shape you prefer in your home. Enjoy the strong, floral fragrances from your plant year-round, and try using it in the kitchen (similar to most herbs) to add a unique flavor to many dishes.

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Bloomscape Aromatic Herbs Collection $65
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14 of 16

Tea Rose Begonia

GETTY IMAGES/RIZKY PANUNTUN

GETTY IMAGES/RIZKY PANUNTUN

  • Botanical Name: Begonia 'Tea Rose'
  • Sun Exposure: Indirect light, some shade
  • Soil Type: Loamy, well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

The sweet smell of the tea rose begonia has made it popular among indoor gardeners. Like other humidity-loving plants, your begonia will do best in an environment with plenty of moisture—like your bathroom—to grow healthy. Since begonias thrive in indirect light, find a place for yours near an east- or north-facing window that lets the plant absorb nutrients without being exposed to too much sun. The tea rose variant can be harder to find than common begonias, so look for this type of begonia in specialty stores or online plant shops.

15 of 16

Orchids

GETTY IMAGES/IMAGE SOURCE

GETTY IMAGES/IMAGE SOURCE

  • Botanical Name: Orchidaceae
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil, bark mix
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

Orchids are known for their finicky growing habits, but with a few simple care steps, this plant can grow to its best in your home. While they're commonly revered for their attractive look, orchids also give off fresh scents in their space. Because orchids are one of the largest plant families (and many varieties don't have a fragrance), you'll want to make sure to select a fragrant type—look for variants like the Miltoniopsis, Oncidium cheirophorum, or Phalaenopsis violacea orchids for a floral, sweet smell.

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16 of 16

Lemongrass

GETTY IMAGES/OKSANA_BONDAR

GETTY IMAGES/OKSANA_BONDAR

  • Botanical Name: Cymbopogon citratus
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil, clay mix
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 8.0

Lemongrass may not have the most unique appearance, but it can bring a deliciously-fragrant touch to your space. This citrusy plant is not only known for its smell, but also for its easy care steps to grow healthy. Plant your lemongrass in an area that receives plenty of direct sunlight, and water it when the top inch of soil starts to feel dry. In addition to filling the air with its lemony scent, you can use your lemongrass plant as a tropical herb in many cooking recipes.

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