15 Fragrant Indoor Plants to Make Your Home Smell and Look Beautiful

Young Woman Reaching Up to Potted Plants Hung on Wall

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Along with their aesthetic appeal, houseplants offer a myriad of benefits when used as part of our home decor. Scientific studies on the effects of plants on human health and comfort prove that they can clean the air we breathe, improve our mood and focus, and even give us a better night’s sleep. Some plants also possess medicinal healing properties, others add flavor and intensity to the food we eat, and plants with fragrant qualities further enhance our senses.

Here are 15 fragrant indoor plants that will leave your house smelling and looking beautiful.

1
of 15

Jasmine (Jasminum)

Potted Jasmine Plant Indoors on Windowsill

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The rich floral smell of jasmine makes it a go-to choice for everything from tea to scented candles. There are roughly 200 different species of shrubs and vines, but not all are fragrant. After its flowers bloom, be sure to prune or train the branches, as they tend to spread. Jasmine is fairly easy to grow, but does best with plenty of water and sunlight. Some varieties, like cape jasmine, are known to be toxic to pets. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Plenty of water.
  • Soil: Well-drained, loamy.
2
of 15

Lavender (Lavendula)

Potted lavender in silver bucket on tiled floor

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The scent of lavender is renowned for its calming effect and year-round fragrance. These plants don’t require much maintenance, so any place that doesn’t have excessive moisture or humidity suits them well. Lavender plants are toxic to pets, so keep that in mind when choosing a location. The stems can be trimmed after the plant has flowered to promote new growth.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Water only when soil is dry.
  • Soil: Well-drained.
3
of 15

Calamondin Orange Tree (Citrofortunella microcarpa)

Calamondin tree beside frosty windowsill

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The calamondin packs a citrusy punch with a subtle fragrance. It thrives in well-lit areas and can be moved outdoors on warm, sunny days. This dwarf variety blooms year-round and does well when grown in containers. Once its delicate white flowers drop, a small orange grows from the bud. The fruit is edible for humans, but parts of this plant are unsafe for pets. Appropriate watering is key: don’t overwater, but don’t let it dry out either, as that will cause its leaves to drop.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Water infrequently, when soil is dry.
  • Soil: Well-drained, add fertilizer when needed.
4
of 15

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

Vase with eucalyptus leaves in bedroom

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This plant, with its woodsy, refreshing fragrance, comes in over 700 different species. In the wild they can grow up to 30 feet high, but indoors they'll do just fine in spacious, sunny areas. They are drought-tolerant, so let the plant fully dry out between waterings and be sure there are plenty of holes in the pot for drainage. Eucalyptus leaves are toxic to dogs.

Plant Care Tips

Light: Full sun.

Water: Water moderately but thoroughly.

Soil: Prefers dry soil over wet, fertilize as needed.

5
of 15

Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Woman in striped shirt smelling potted mint plant

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This fresh-smelling perennial is fast-growing and low-maintenance. In fact, additional mint plants can be grown from cuttings. The most common garden mint is spearmint, but you can also find varieties like apple mint and peppermint. You’ll need to prune regularly, keep it in partial shade, and allow the soil to stay slightly damp. The leaves can be used in a variety of ways, fresh or dried. If you have pets, keep in mind that this plant can be toxic to animals if ingested.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade, indirect light.
  • Water: Keep soil moist.
  • Soil: Prefers slightly acidic soil.
6
of 15

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)

Close up of rosemary plant in container

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Though technically part of the mint family, rosemary plants have a distinct spicy smell all their own. It’s a hearty, robust plant that grows abundantly with minimal fuss. As long as you protect it from drafty areas, prune occasionally, and don’t overwater, you can basically leave it alone. It can be enjoyed for its fragrance or used as a seasoning herb in any number of dishes. If grown in warm conditions, it blooms all year long.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Requires full sun.
  • Water: Water only when dry.
  • Soil: Does best in nutrient-dense, well-drained soil.
7
of 15

Scented Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

Potted red geraniums on windowsill

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Geraniums have a gentle, earthy scent that won’t overpower in a room. There are varieties that smell like coconuts, limes, and even roses, and the flowers come in an array of colors. They look lovely in any pot and only require a sunlit windowsill in return. Pluck off any dead or withered parts to allow for new growth. Some plants, like the feather geranium, are toxic to pets. Otherwise, both the leaves and flowers are edible to humans.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Thrives in direct, full sun.
  • Water: Extremely drought-tolerant, don't overwater.
  • Soil: Slightly acidic, not too damp.
8
of 15

Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)

Close up of white gardenia blossoms

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This evergreen bush has elegant white blossoms and a soft perfume similar to that of jasmine. Gardenias can be a challenge, even when grown outdoors, so it may take a while to get the right balance of sun, water, and temperature to see them thrive. They don’t do well if moved around too much, so choose one location, preferably with some humidity, and keep them there for the duration. Keep an eye out for pests on the leaves and remove any blooms once they turn brown.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Needs sunlight but don't overheat, won't bloom if in too much shade.
  • Water: Keep soil damp, be careful not to overwater.
  • Soil: Prefers slightly acidic soil, fertilize in warmer months.
9
of 15

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Hyacinth flower growing from a bulb

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For such a fragile flower, a hyacinth’s fragrance can be quite intense. To grow them indoors, you must first “force” them from bulbs. Line a shallow container with water and rocks and keep the bulbs in the dark for several months. Once the roots take hold, place them in partial to full sun. Along with slender green stems, bright, colorful flowers grow to be about a foot high. Hyacinths are toxic to pets, so keep out of reach of cats and dogs.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Partial to full sun.
  • Water: Water regularly, don't allow bulbs to dry out.
  • Soil: Choose a good quality potting mix; rocks and gravel can be included for drainage.
10
of 15

Miniature Roses (Rosa chinensis minima)

Rosa chinensis 'Minima'. Miniature red roses bush
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There are hundreds of varieties of miniature roses, but the "scentsational" and "sweet chariot" hybrids are at the top of the list when it comes to scented splendor. They bloom several times a year, provided they get pruned and have a lot of sun. The trailing or sprawling types might require an indoor trellis. Make sure their soil is slightly acidic and rich in nutrients. While they work well in containers and pots, they do better as "temporary" houseplants. For optimal growth and blossom power, they prefer to be planted outdoors once you've enjoyed them in your home. Keep in mind that these roses do have thorns, which could pose a problem for young children or pets.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Place in an area with full sun but not too much heat.
  • Water: Water thoroughly, allow for proper drainage.
  • Soil: Fertilize in the spring, don't let roots get too soggy.
11
of 15

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Close up of lemon balm leaves

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This lemony herb is a bright, clean-smelling addition to your home. Popular for its built-in bug repellent, citronellal, you can rub the leaves on your skin and take the fragrance with you. As long as it has at least five hours of sunlight, lemon balm grows easily in bushy clumps with minimal care and fertilization. In the warmer seasons, it can be moved outdoors, where it will attract bees and repel insects.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Needs ample, direct sun.
  • Water: Water daily, avoid letting soil get soggy.
  • Soil: Keep well-drained, add rich compost when needed.
12
of 15

Plumeria (Plumeria rubra)

Hand holding two yellow plumeria flowers

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The plumeria, which originated in Hawaii, has a tropical fragrance sure to conjure up images of island living. It’s a tall, skinny tree that’s not tolerant of cold, so a room with north or south-facing light is preferred. Misting its leaves and managing the humidity will go far. In the colder months, reduce waterings and allow it to go dormant. The flowers, which can be pink, yellow, or white, are beautiful when used in lei-making or as an edible garnish.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Requires full sun, south-facing rooms preferred.
  • Water: Water thoroughly, allow soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Prefers loose, rich soil, fertilize between dormant seasons.
13
of 15

Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Close up of sweet basil plant

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Growing sweet basil indoors will have any space smelling like a proper working restaurant. Its large, lush, green leaves can be harvested for culinary dishes ranging from soups to sauces, pizzas, and salads. Other varieties include Thai basil, lemon, and cinnamon. Water regularly and ensure your plant gets full morning sun without too much heat. Once it flowers, it loses flavor and starts to die, so continue to harvest the leaves frequently.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Partial to full sun.
  • Water: Water weekly, more depending on amount of sunlight.
  • Soil: Keep soil moist but not soggy.
14
of 15

Fragrant Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans)

Tea Olive tree with orange flowers

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Tea olive trees come in about 15 different species and their fruity fragrance has been compared to peaches and apricots. This particular species is the most fragrant of all and blooms twice a year. It’s important to water it slowly, making sure the soil remains well-drained. Tea olive trees don’t require any pruning and do well as low-maintenance container trees. Allow for at least four hours of direct sun.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full, ample sun.
  • Water: Water regularly, keep moist.
  • Soil: Keep soil well-drained, fertilize when needed.
15
of 15

Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Potted yellow daffodils on a windowsill

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With their vanilla scent and joyful pop of color, daffodils represent the essence of spring. A member of the amaryllis family, there are over 13,000 types of daffodils. For indoor potting, their bulbs have to be left in a dark, cool place before they root and grow. Daffodil flowers last for several weeks, but once the blossoms drop they won’t bloom again. Deer and rodents won’t eat them but they are toxic to dogs.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Allow for full sun, but partial shade okay.
  • Water: Keep water in the container, watch for soggy roots.
  • Soil: Loose potting soil is best; rocks and gravel can help with drainage.
View Article Sources
  1. Deng, Linjing, and Qihong Deng. “The Basic Roles of Indoor Plants in Human Health and Comfort.” Environ Sci Pollut Res, vol. 25, 2018, pp. 36087–36101, doi:10.1007/s11356-018-3554-1