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

These are a delightful way to bring aromatherapy and ambience into your home.

Young Woman Reaching Up to Potted Plants Hung on Wall

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Houseplants are known for their aesthetic appeal, but they can contribute more to our homes than just a beautiful sight. For instance, flowering plants and herbs with fragrant qualities can enhance our lives by making our homes smell pleasant and inviting. Some can also be used to add flavor and intensity to the food we eat.

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


Some of the plants on this list are toxic for pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database.

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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.

Make sure the soil is always moist but well-drained, and place it in a sunny spot, preferably with southern exposure. It may need a trellis of sorts as it gets bigger. The indoor temperature should not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit, as jasmine likes cool circulating air (as low as 60 F).

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Plenty of water.
  • Soil: Well-drained, loamy.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
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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, as long as it gets full sun. A south-facing window with a minimum of 3 to 4 hours of sunlight is ideal. Rotate the pot weekly for even growth. Ideal indoor temperatures from spring to fall are 50 degrees F at night, 70 degrees F during day. In winter, lavender prefers it even cooler—45 F at night, 60-65 F during the day. 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.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
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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. Start with a 6-inch diameter container until plants are 3 to 4 years old, then move up to an 8-inch. Always use a pot with a drainage hole to prevent root rot. Appropriate watering is key: don’t overwater, but don’t let it dry out either, as that will cause its leaves to drop.

You will need to hand-pollinate your plant in order to trigger fruit production. This is not difficult. Just dab a small dry paintbrush in the center of each flower and move it around from flower to flower; this action imitates that of a bee. The oranges are long-lasting once they grow, so you don't need to be in a hurry to harvest. They are edible for humans.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Water infrequently, when soil is dry.
  • Soil: Well-drained, add fertilizer when needed.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
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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 and very sunny areas—ideally, spots that receive 8 to 10 hours of sun a day. They are drought-tolerant once established, so let the plant fully dry out between waterings and be sure there are plenty of holes in the pot for drainage. Fertilize every few weeks in the spring. This is a fast grower, so don't hesitate to prune and shape.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Water moderately but thoroughly.
  • Soil: Prefers dry soil over wet, fertilize as needed.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
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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. Fertilize every 3 weeks or so, using liquid fertilizer, from spring till late summer. The leaves can be used in a variety of ways, fresh or dried.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade, indirect light.
  • Water: Keep soil moist.
  • Soil: Prefers slightly acidic soil.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
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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, place in a south-facing window, 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. Rosemary's ideal indoor temperature ranges from 55 to 80 degrees F. Anything lower than 30 F will kill the plant.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Requires full sun.
  • Water: Water only when dry.
  • Soil: Does best in nutrient-dense, well-drained soil.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
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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. Both the leaves and flowers are edible to humans. Be careful not to overfertilize, as this makes plants become leggy. Trim them back to promote bushiness.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Thrives in direct, full sun.
  • Water: Extremely drought-tolerant, don't overwater.
  • Soil: Slightly acidic, not too damp.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
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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.

They like cooler ambient temperatures, around 64 F during the day and 55 C at night, and roughly half a day of sunlight. Challenges arise during winter months when indoor air dries out. Keep gardenias moist by grouping plants together, spritzing foliage with water in the early morning, and running a humidifier. Keep them away from drafts, and never place them near a hot air vent.

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.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
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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. They like bright, cool, and airy spaces, away from a heat source; this will ensure they grow slowly and don't topple over as they gain height. Along with slender green stems, the colorful flowers grow to be about a foot high.

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.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
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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. They like 40-50% humidity, so consider running a humidifier if the buds are shriveling up before opening.

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.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
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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. Rotate it periodically to protect leaves from burning in the sun. 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.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
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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 south-facing light is preferred. Some owners go so far as to move their plants around during the day to ensure maximum sun exposure. An indoor temperature of 65 to 80 degrees F is ideal. 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.
  • Pet Safety: Toxicity to cats and dogs unknown, so exercise caution.
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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. Avoid drafty locations. Once it flowers, it loses flavor and starts to die, so continue to harvest the leaves frequently. You can pinch off the leaves to prolong the plant's life.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Partial to full sun.
  • Water: Water weekly, more depending on amount of sunlight.
  • Soil: Keep soil moist but not soggy.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
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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. Keep in mind, however, that these plants thrive best outdoors and may not flower inside a house.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full, ample sun.
  • Water: Water regularly, keep moist.
  • Soil: Keep soil well-drained, fertilize when needed.
  • Pet Safety: Toxicity to cats and dogs unknown, so exercise caution.
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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. Group 3 to 5 bulbs per pot, and if you plant them in September, they'll likely show in time for Christmas. They may need support to prevent falling over. Daffodil flowers last for several weeks, but once the blossoms drop they won’t bloom again. The good news is that deer and rodents won’t eat them.

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.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
View Article Sources
  1. "Jasmine." ASPCA.

  2. "Lavender." ASPCA.

  3. "Calamondin Orange." ASPCA.

  4. "Eucalyptus." ASPCA.

  5. "Mint." ASPCA.

  6. "Rosemary." ASPCA.

  7. "Scented Geranium." ASPCA.

  8. "Gardenia." ASPCA.

  9. "Hyacinth." ASPCA.

  10. "Rose." ASPCA.

  11. "Lemon Balm." ASPCA.

  12. "Basil." ASPCA.

  13. "Daffodil." ASPCA.