19 White Fragrant Flowers with Irresistible Scents

Fragrant white flowers provide a beautiful and soothing presence to any garden. Some of the most beloved and famous fragrances come from white flowers, like honeysuckle or jasmine. Read on as we take you through 19 white scented flowers.

Fragrant White Flowers

19 White Flowers That Smell Good

Here, you’ll have 19 heady and aromatic types of fragrant white flowers revered for their pleasant scent during the spring and summer months each year.

1) Jasmine

Fragrant Jasmine flowers in bloom against green leaves

Jasmine is a famously fragrant flower that produces expensive essential oils for aromatherapy. These perennial climbing shrubs or vines come from Asia and the Middle East and will grow in USDA Zones 7 to 10. In many cultures, jasmine flowers symbolize beauty, intimacy, and love. Pakistan has adopted jasmine as its National Flower.

Common and Botanical NamesCommon Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
What do they smell like?Jasmine fragrance is described as exotic, intoxicatingly rich, and sweet. It produces a thick scent that hangs in the air.
Peak seasonFlowers from June through to August
Most fragrant varietiesArabic Jasmine (Jasminum sambac), Common Jasmine (Jasminum officinale), Spanish Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum)

2) Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle showcasing start-shaped white flowers

Honeysuckles are a collection of climbing vines and shrubs with both summer and winter varieties. These plants have a variety of medicinal uses, including aromatherapy. Nearly 200 species of honeysuckle are found across most continents, including North America, where it grows in Zones 5 to 9. Honeysuckle flowers symbolize affection, happiness, new or first loves, and nostalgia.

Common and Botanical NamesCommon Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)
What do they smell like?The scent of honeysuckle smells heavy and sweet, with a thick fragrance and notes of fruit, honey, and vanilla.
Peak seasonFlowers from summer to fall (summer varieties) or November through to March (Winter honeysuckle)
Most fragrant varietiesCommon honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) – “Scentsation”, “Sweet Sue”, Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)

3) Mock Orange

A cluster of white Mock Orange flowers with yellow stamens

Mock Oranges are a family of perennial deciduous flowering shrubs that grow in parts of America, Asia, and southern Europe. The foliage looks exceptionally similar to true orange trees, where their common name originates. The leaves of some mock orange varieties can be used as relief for swollen joints. Mock Orange bushes grow well in Zones 4 to 8. It’s also the State Flower for Idaho and offers plenty of symbolic value.

Common and Botanical NamesMock Orange (Philadelphus)
What do they smell like?Mock Orange has a sweet citrus aroma that is very similar to true orange trees.
Peak seasonFlowers between May and July
Most fragrant varietiesLewis’ Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii), Philadelphus “Virginal”, Philadelphus “White Rock”

4) Summersweet “Vanilla Spice”

Tall flower spikes of the Summersweet “Vanilla Spice”

Summersweet is a deciduous shrub that grows across eastern parts of North America in Zones 3 to 9. The “Vanilla Spice” variety is particularly pungent and popular, with showy spikes of creamy white flowers. These plants can reach between three and six feet in height and are great for filling borders.

Common and Botanical NamesSummersweet or Sweet Pepper Bush (Clethra alnifolia)
What do they smell like?Summersweet “Vanilla Spice” has a delicate, spicy aroma similar to vanilla pods
Peak seasonThe potent “Vanilla Spice” cultivar flowers in the middle of summer to the end of the season.
Most fragrant varietiesSummersweet “Vanilla Spice” (Clethra alnifolia)

5) Sweet Alyssum

A close shot of white Sweet Alyssum flowers in bloom

Sweet Alyssum is an evergreen annual that produces a mat of small, delicate white flowers. Sweet Alyssum is native to southern France and several Mediterranean islands but can be grown in Zones 5 to 9. These plants are believed to help combat anger and increase calmness, and also, alyssum fowers symbolize “sweetness of the soul” in Victorian horticulture.

Common and Botanical NamesSweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
What do they smell like?Although small, Sweet Alyssum flowers can pack a strong, sweet honey-like aroma.
Peak seasonSweet Alyssum can flower in both early spring and summer as well as in fall.
Most fragrant varietiesSweet Alyssum “Snowdrift”, Sweet Alyssum “Snow Crystals”, Sweet Alyssum “Snow Princess”

6) Lily of the Valley

White Lily of the Valley flowers against green leaves

Lily of the Valley is a beautiful perennial that produces a choir of white flowers that resemble bells. Lily of the Valley thrives in woodlands throughout the Northern Hemisphere, growing in Zones 2 to 9. Although fragrant and lovely, the flowers are also toxic to humans and pets. Lily of the Valley is honored as the birth flower for May and symbolizes happiness, motherhood, and purity.

Common and Botanical NamesLily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
What do they smell like?Sweet notes of lemon and a fresh scent sum up Lily of the Valley.
Peak seasonLily of the Valley flowers in late spring to early summer
Most fragrant varietiesLily of the Valley “Albostriata”, Lily of the Valley “Hardwick Hall”

7) White Roses

A bouquet of fragrant White Roses

White roses are some of the most famous white flowers in horticulture. Grown as perennial climbers or shrubs, roses have been cultivated for thousands of years, with most varieties coming from Asia. Roses now grow across the globe and thrive in Zones 7 to 9. White roses symbolize innocence, peace, and purity and are frequently used during weddings.

Common and Botanical NamesWhite Roses (various Rosa species)
What do they smell like?White roses are more delicate than other colors, with a musk carrying notes of lemon and violet.
Peak seasonWhite roses usually bloom from late spring to summer and even into the fall.
Most fragrant varietiesWhite rose, “Margaret Merril”, White rose “Rambling Rector”, White rose “The Garland”

8) Freesia

White aromatic Freesia flowers growing in a garden

Freesias are herbaceous perennials that grow naturally in South Africa. In North America, they can be cultivated in Zones 9 to 11, but will also survive in colder areas as flowering annuals. They have vibrant, funnel-like flowers that symbolize innocence and purity. In general, freesias also symbolize friendship.

Common and Botanical NamesFreesia (Various species)
What do they smell like?Most freesia varieties have floral, fruity fragrances similar to strawberries, along with hints of mint or honey. 
Peak seasonFreesias typically flower between the start of summer and early fall.
Most fragrant varietiesMilky White Freesia (Freesia lactea), Freesia “White”, Freesia “White River”

9) Spider Lily

A single white Spider Lily flower in bloom

White spider lilies are part of the Lycoris genus of perennial bulb flowers with upright stems. White spider lilies grow natively in Japan but are also suitable for Zones 5 to 9. These delicately fragrant flowers have curling white lashes and splayed flowerheads. 

White spider lilies represent beauty, protection, purity, and rebirth and are popular as cut flowers for display.

Common and Botanical NamesWhite Spider Lily (Lycoris albiflora)
What do they smell like?A gentle, delicate fragrance heralds the arrival of white spider lilies.
Peak seasonWhite spider lilies start blooming towards the end of summer and continue into the beginning of fall.
Most fragrant varietiesWhite Spider Lilly (Lycoris albiflora)

10) Clematis

A cluster of fragrant white Clematis flowers

Clematis are perennial climbing and trailing plants or shrubs with over 300 known varieties. Clematis originally came from regions of Asia, but have spread throughout Zones 4 to 9. Clematis varieties symbolize aspiration, ingenuity, and wisdom. 

Most species grown in the Northern Hemisphere are deciduous or herbaceous. These versatile plants are easy to grow and can suit most types of gardens.

Common and Botanical NamesClematis (Various species)
What do they smell like?Clematis flowers give off a subtle fragrance that smells like almonds.
Peak seasonDifferent types of clematis flower at different times, with the overall season spanning February through to September.
Most fragrant varietiesArmand clematis (Clematis armandii), Clematis x cartmanii “Avalanche”, Clematis “White Columbine”

11) Plumeria

A close shot of exotic looking white Plumeria flowers with yellow centers

Plumerias are deciduous trees or shrubs native to the Caribbean and Central America. They thrive in the warmer temperatures of Zones 10 to 12. Plumeria flowers are famously used to make traditional Hawaiian wreaths. 

Plumeria blooms represent beauty, health, love, and purity. In Asian cultures, white plumeria flowers are common burial offerings.

For more, see our essential guide to growing plumeria flowers at home

Common and Botanical NamesFrangipani, various Plumeria species
What do they smell like?Thick, intoxicatingly sweet scents are common to Plumerias. Notes vary from citrus and fruity scents to fragrances of spice.
Peak seasonPlumeria species bloom from late spring, throughout the height of summer, and into the fall.
Most fragrant varietiesSingapore graveyard flower (Plumeria obtusa), White frangipani (Plumeria pudica)

12) Magnolia

A Magnolia branch filled with soft white flowers in bloom

Magnolias are a family of flowering trees and shrubs found in parts of Asia and the Americas in Zones 4 to 9. Magnolias are one of the oldest known plant species, dating back nearly 100 million years. Beloved for their large, thick flowers, magnolia flowers symbolize dignity and purity. Both Louisiana and Mississippi have adopted magnolias as their state flower.

Common and Botanical NamesMagnolia (Various species)
What do they smell like?Powerful flora aromas of fruits are common to Magnolias, although some varieties may have notes of spice as well.
Peak seasonMagnolias usually flower from spring to the end of summer.
Most fragrant varietiesSouthern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Magnolia sieboldii “Colossus”, Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

13) Gardenia

A single creamy white Gardenia flower in bloom against deep green foliage

Gardenias are relatives of the coffee plant and grow in tropical Africa, Asia, and Australia. Gardenias can be grown as houseplants or outside as perennial shrubs or trees, thriving in Zones 8 to 11. Gardenias can still be enjoyed as annuals for those living in cooler climates. Gardenia flowers symbolize clarity, hope, and trust. They also represent intuition and self-reflection.

Common and Botanical NamesCommon Gardenia aka Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)
What do they smell like?Gardenias give off a rich, heady aroma with citrus, coconut, and spice notes.
Peak seasonGardenias flower between mid to late spring and continue into the fall.
Most fragrant varietiesGardenia jasminoides “Aimee”, Gardenia jasminoides “Chuck Hayes”

14) Viburnum

Large white flowering Viburnum plants on a sunny day during the growing season

Viburnums are deciduous or evergreen perennial shrubs that grow in Zones 4 to 8 across the Northern Hemisphere. Some hardy shrubs can flower in winter, while most emerge in spring and summer. There are over 150 varieties, all famous for their vibrantly colored berries and clusters of small white flowers. Viburnum flowers symbolize calmness, innocence, pride, and purity. 

Common and Botanical NamesViburnum (various species)
What do they smell like?Viburnums have a sweet, sophisticated scent that carries a slight note of vanilla.
Peak seasonMost Viburnum varieties flower in the spring and summer into the fall, although some species can flower during winter.
Most fragrant varietiesBurkwood Viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii), Chinese Snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum)

15) Phlox

A Phlox flower head filled with delicate white fragrant flowers and a visiting bee pollinating the plant

Phlox is a versatile group of herbaceous flowers in annual and perennial varieties of different sizes. Most of these flowers grow in North America through Zones 3 to 9. Famed for its intense colors, Phlox also produces a beautiful fragrance. 

Phlox flowers symbolize agreements, harmony, sweet dreams, and unity. Phlox is also used extensively in Native American medicine.

Common and Botanical NamesPhlox (Various species)
What do they smell like?White phlox flowers produce a subtle almond or vanilla scent with hints of honey or clove.
Peak seasonMost phlox varieties flower from late spring to the end of summer.
Most fragrant varietiesCarolina Phlox “Miss Lingard” (Phlox carolina), Garden Phlox “Danielle” (Phlox paniculata), Garden Phlox “David” (Phlox paniculata)

16) Stock annuals

An array of white flowering Stock annuals in a field

Also known as Brompton or Hoary stock, stock annuals make excellent cut flowers thanks to their heavy aroma. These plants grow in parts of the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. They will also grow in Zones 7 through 10. Stock annuals have been cultivated since the 16th Century and are thought to represent contentment, happiness, and everlasting beauty.

Common and Botanical NamesBrompton or Hoary Stock (Matthiola incana)
What do they smell like?Stock annuals produce a heady, sweet scent with notes of spices such as cloves.
Peak seasonStock annuals can flower for most of the summer, and some may continue into fall.
Most fragrant varietiesMatthiola incana “Alba”, Matthiola incana “Pillow Talk”

17) Tuberose

A close shot of a large Tuberose flower head filled with white trumpet-like flowers

Tuberose is a tropical herbaceous perennial previously native to Mexico before being cultivated by the Aztec civilization. Tuberose now grows in other tropical areas, including Zones 8 to 10. Tuberose was first used for perfumes during the 17th Century as explorers brought the plants back to Europe. Tuberose flowers symbolize peace and purity and were thought to guard wearers against spirits. 

Common and Botanical NamesTuberose (Polianthes tuberosa, Agave amica)
What do they smell like?Tuberose is admired for its thick, sweet fragrance with creamy notes of beeswax or peach.
Peak seasonTuberose flowers from mid-summer into early fall.
Most fragrant varietiesPolianthes tuberosa “The Pearl”

18) Lilac

Bright white lilac flowers in bloom on a sunny day against a soft blue sky

Planted as scented shrubs or small trees, lilacs are hardy perennials related to olive trees. Lilac comes from parts of Asia and southern Europe and can be grown in Zones 3 to 7. These hardy plants have especially strong wood, making them perfect for engraving. Lilacs commonly represent love but are also used in many regions in Easter festivities. White lilac flowers symbolize purity.

Common and Botanical NamesLilac (Various Syringa species)
What do they smell like?Lilacs produce a cloying, thick, sweet scent with suggestions of vanilla.
Peak seasonLilacs are spring-flowering shrubs that bloom from May to July.
Most fragrant varietiesHimalayan lilac (Syringa emodi “Aureovariegata”), Syringa vulgaris “Madame Florent Stepman”, Syringa vulgaris “Vestale”

19) Osmanthus

A cluster of Osmanthus plants in bloom showcasing white flowers and green leaves

An osmanthus is a group of evergreen flowering shrubs and trees native to parts of Asia, such as China and Japan. In the US, these plants thrive in Zones 8 to 11. Several varieties flower during different seasons. 

Also known as Holly or Tea Olive, Osmanthus leaves can make a wonderfully aromatic tea. Osmanthus flowers symbolize faithfulness and love and is a common wedding flower in China.

Common and Botanical NamesOsmanthus (Various species)
What do they smell like?Osmanthus flowers have an alluring fruity smell, similar to apricot or peach.
Peak seasonMost Osmanthus varieties bloom during the spring, with some species flowering in winter.
Most fragrant varietiesOsmanthus delavayi, Osmanthus suavis, Osmanthus yunnanensis

Fragrant White Flower FAQs: 

What is the most fragrant white flower? 

Some of the most fragrant white flower varieties include honeysuckle, jasmine, lilac, osmanthus, phlox, and viburnum.

What determines the fragrance of a white flower?

The scent of flowers comes from thousands of chemical compounds in a flower’s essential oils. Most abundant in a flower’s petals, the fragrant oils evaporate in warm weather when a flower blossom opens, and the olfactory glands in our noses smell them.

How do you make white flowers more fragrant?

While the scent of a particular flower is primarily determined by genetics, ensuring your plant has sufficient water is thought to play an important role in producing essential oils that produce floral aromas.

Wrap Up

These 19 white flowers can add a calming atmosphere and delicious scents to your garden. Many of them will also attract vital nocturnal pollinators such as bats, helping the health of your garden. These are some of the most fragrant white flowers available from rich jasmine to delicate Phlox.

Editorial Director | andrew@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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