8 Super Fragrant Flowers That Pollinators Love

Grow perennial powerhouses that will convince you to stop and smell the flowers. Bonus! Pollinators love them.

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Get more from your fragrant favorites, and create a romantic container garden on a patio or terrace with any one of these super sweet perennials. They also attract pollinators, like bumblebees and butterflies. Essential oils in the petals of most plants produce fragrances, but it’s not just to appease your nose. When flowers give off their unique smells, it’s an alert to pollinators that they are ready for pollination.

Plant these pleasant-smelling beauties near a window or the front door, so you can enjoy them more often. If you really want to maximize fragrant flowers, grow scented herbs. Rosemary, mint, and basil all do double duty in the kitchen. In the mean time, check out these eight super fragrant flowers.

Bee balm and hummingbirdCourtesy Melissa Brewer

Bee Balm

Monarda, Zones 4 to 9

These cheery plants with funky hairdos are native to North America. With spiky, daisy-like blooms in red, blue, violet, white or pink hues, bee balm, as its name suggests, is a ­pollinator magnet. Its ­aroma is similar to ­oregano but contains hints of citrus, mint and thyme.

Size: 2 to 4 feet high

Why we love it: Bee balm attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, but not usually deer—so it’s a smart bet if you live in a wooded area with a large population of these garden grazers. Check out more red flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Where to buy it: Walters Gardens, Inc.

Walter Gardens, Inc.

Garden Phlox

Phlox Paniculata, Zones 3 to 9

Found naturally in forests, in open fields and clinging to cliff walls, this hardy perennial with a heady fragrance offers many disease-resistant varieties to choose from. Bloom colors run the gamut from red, pink and rose to lavender, deep purple, white and even bicolor.

Size: 2 to 5 feet high, 1 to 3 feet wide

Why we love it: Phlox is a showstopper in a summer garden, and it blooms for six weeks or more. Plus, it’s known to attract hummingbirds. Here’s more long-blooming perennials.

Where to buy it: Walters Gardens, Inc.

oriental lilyCourtesy James Gantt
Oriental lily

Oriental Lily

Lilium orientalis, Zones 4 to 9

Sound the horn for these trumpet-shaped blooms that smell as exotic as they look. For easy color in the garden, lilies are No. 1. The trouble is in deciding which gorgeous variety to grow. Just be sure to provide a little extra staking for when summer storms blow in.

Size: 2 to 5 feet high

Why we love it: There’s no need to visit a florist with bouquet-ready beauties growing in your backyard. Remove faded flowers to direct energy into the bulbs for next year’s floral display. These are the best flowers for a cutting garden.

Where to buy it: American Meadows

lavender and swallowtailCourtesy Becka Phillips
Swallowtail on lavender

English Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia, Zones 5 to 10

A forever favorite, lavender is prized for intensely fragrant purple-blue blooms that can be cut and displayed in floral arrangements or dried to use in teas, spice mixes or potpourris. Pollinators such as  butterflies and bees can’t resist lavender’s intoxicating lure.

Size: 12 to 14 inches high, 12 to 16 inches wide

Why we love it: This sun lover thrives in well-draining soils and looks lovely season after season.

Where to buy it: High Country Gardens

sweet autumn clematisVia White Flower Farm
Sweet Autumn clematis

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Clematis terniflora, Zones 4 to 9

This vigorous perennial vine features fluffy clouds of fragrant, creamy white flowers that spill romantically over fences, arbors or pergolas—even in partial shade. Keep its aggressive nature in check by pruning in spring before growth begins. Psst—these are the best vines for hummingbirds.

Size: 10 to 15 feet high

Why we love it: As other flowers fade in late summer, sweet autumn clematis starts its show and goes through fall.

Where to buy it: White Flower Farm

peony bloomCourtesy Jessica Larry

Common Peony

Paeonia lactiflora, Zones 3 to 8

Its large, showy cup-shaped flowers can’t be beat, but the easy-to-grow peony also has sturdy stems that won’t need staking and tons of fragrance. For ultimate aromatherapy, choose a cultivar prized for its scent, such as Festiva Maxima, Sarah Bernhardt, or Eden’s Perfume.

Size: 2-1/2 to 3 feet high and wide

Why we love it: Peonies are reliable performers that offer big impact without a lot of work. Their show is brief, but it’s nothing short of spectacular.

Where to buy it: Walters Gardens, Inc.

monarch on sageCourtesy Terry Stanfill
Monarch on native blue sage


Salvia nemorosa, Zones 4 to 8

Sage is drought-tolerant and easy to grow. It makes a stunning cut flower and attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. Plus, the foliage is wonderfully fragrant. If you’re short on space, try a small cultivar like Blue Hill.

Size: 1 to 2 feet high and wide

Why we love it: Less watering means less work (and more time to enjoy summer on the patio). Mother Nature will thank you, too! Here’s some tips to conserve water in the garden.

Where to buy it: High Country Gardens

English roseVia David Austin Roses
Anne Boleyn English rose


Rosa, Zones 3 to 10

With scents including apple, melon, honey, orange and even wine, these beauties make you stop to take them in. For that classic rose aroma, opt for English, floribunda, heirloom or antique varieties such as Honey Perfume, Heritage, and Louise Odier.

Size: 1 to 5 feet high, up to 8 feet wide

Why we love it: With so many colors available, it’s easy to find a rose to suit your nose. Plus, it’s hardy! Here’s our favorite fragrant roses.

Where to buy it: David Austin Roses

Rachael Liska
From managing national magazines to creating content for the biggest brands in the world, Rachael Liska has over 25 years of writing, editing and project management experience in the family, food, gardening, home decor, travel and birding niches. As an avid home gardener and backyard birder herself, Rachael understands the joy her readers get from creating and observing beauty around every bend, and is eager to help them achieve their dreams with a mix of inspiration and practical advice.
Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines at a time, and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds and attended various festivals, including the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, the Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, and the Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing, and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.