16 Mar

7 Delightful and Fragrant Flowers to Grow in Your Garden

1. Garden Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valeriana officinalis is an evergreen, perennial shrub that grows up to 1.5 meters and produces flowers of pink, white or lavender flowers in summer. Commonly known as Garden Valerian, this lovely bloomer produces strongly fragrant white flowers so much so that a single flower head is sufficient to flower the whole yard. It is an easy to grow plant and thrives in almost any soil type, and prefers bright sunlight and moderate watering. (Zone 4a – 9b)

Valeriana Officinalis, Garden Valerian

Valeriana Officinalis, Image by Willie Angus

2. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Perovskia atriplicifolia or Russian Sage, is a herbaceous perennial plant from central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Normally growing as upright plant, Russian Sage grows up to 1.5 m and produces aromatic leaves that smell like lavender when brushed or crushed. Russian Sage is a good plant for landscapes as well as small gardens where it grows as drought, salt and cold tolerant plant. (Zone 5a – 9b)

3. Petunia Spp.

Petunia is easy to grow and low maintenance plant. Known for a large variety of colorful and fragrant flowers, Petunia can grow in many different conditions and a variety of places including hanging baskets, flower beds, and window boxes. Traditional white and purple varieties are best known for their fragrance. (Zone 8a – 11)

4. Woodland Tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris)

Nicotiana sylvestris is a night blooming plant from the family of tobacco plant. The plant produces sprays of lovely white flowers that appear in summer and early autumn. Flowers open by day and emit intoxicating smell at night.  When in full flower, each head is quite startling and resembles a graceful explosion. Commonly known as Woodland Tobacco, Nicotiana sylvestris grows as self-seeding plant, prefers well-drained but slightly moist soil under full to partial sun. (Zone 10a – 11)

5. Stock (Matthiola incana)

Widely grown and known for its sweet fragrant flowers, Matthiola incana is a good choice for flower beds, borders and window gardens. It is quite easy to grow and start flowering within two months of germination. Commonly known as Stock, Matthiola incana makes a good cut flower for bouquets for its showy and fragrant flowers. Matthiola prefers bright sun with moist but well-drained soil. It can be propagated easily from seeds sown in spring for good summer flowering. (Zone 7a – 10)

Matthiola Incana/ Stock

Matthiola Incana, Image by douneika (flickr)

6. Night Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum)

Widely known as Night Blooming Jasmine, Cestrum nocturnum is a flowering shrub of tropical and sub-tropical regions. It is also known as Lady of the Night or Queen of the Night for its intoxicating fragrance that spreads all around in hot summer nights. The plant produces small and white flowers by the beginning and the end of summer. (Zone 8b – 11)

7. Pelargonium

Pelargoniums are easy to grow bloomers that offer a large variety of colors and fragrances. They can grow in almost any soil type and require a light loamy soil under bright sunlight. Most varieties of Pelargoniums emit nice citrus or fruity scents. Some of these species are grown commercially for the production of perfumes and some are used as flavoring agents in desserts and teas. (Zone 9a – 11)

Pelargonium Flowers

Pelargonium Flowers

I could not resist adding Rangoon Creeper to this list. It is my ‘favorite forever’. Quisqualis indica or Rangoon Creeper is a prolific bloomer and a fast growing vine. When in bloom, it is loaded with large tufts of white, pink and bright red flowers that spread intoxicating fragrance and attract bees and butterflies.

09 Mar

Quisqualis Indica – The Rangoon Creeper

I was raised in a big house with plants, vines and trees in abundance. Naturally, I have a lot of childhood memories associated with these plants… and there are some special memories that I still cherish like a big Rangoon Creeper vine loaded with large tufts of white, pink and bright red flowers. It was planted in the ground from where it had climbed up to the third-storey of the house. It used to bear large bunches of flowers that spread intoxicating fragrance in our backyard and attracted bees and butterflies of various colors throughout the year.

quisqualis indica or rangoon creeper

Image © Kai Yan, Joseph Wong

As children we used to collect those sweet smelling flowers to decorate our sand houses. This Rangoon Creeper grew in our house until we moved to our new home where we had limited space for plantation but we managed to grow this plant against fences. Since Rangoon Creeper is a fast growing vine, it covered all the fences and started producing flowers quickly.

Now it grows in our small lawn against walls and fences under full sun. Actually, Rangoon Creeper is a nice choice if you want to cover empty spaces, create visual dividers or provide shady cover on a porch, balcony or terrace. It is easy to trim though it requires regular trimming otherwise it grows wild. Rangoon Creeper can be grown in almost all tropical and sub-tropical regions and requires bright sunlight and moderate amount of water.

Flowers of Rangoon Creeper

Rangoon Creeper flowers profusely throughout the year. Flowers open as white trumpet-shaped blooms and then turn to pink and bright red in the next two or three days. You can see all three colors on a single flower stalk of Rangoon Creeper spreading sweet smell all around. Healthy plants bear lush green leaves and abundance of flowers. Hybrid varieties bear more profuse flowers.

Rangoon Creeper is also known as Chinese Honeysuckle, Burma Creeper, Scarlet Rangoon or simply by its botanical name Quisqualis Indica (Quisqualis Indica is a Latin word and translates in English as ‘What is that?’). It is easy to grow and can be planted in containers as ornamental vine. It is said to reach up to 70 meters in length but can be pruned easily. When grown in ground, Rangoon Creeper needs support of a fence, wall or wire.

Growing Rangoon Creeper

Both as container plant or creeping vine planted in the ground, Rangoon Creeper requires bright light, fertile soil and moderate water. It can withstand cold spells of winter but loves the spring season. Rangoon Creeper can be grown by seed though propagation from cutting and layering is easy and quick.

Rangoon Creeper is used in traditional medicine in Pakistan, China and India to relieve diarrhea, nephritis and rheumatism.