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Aromatic indoor plants for you

TreeTake is a monthly bilingual colour magazine on environment that is fully committed to serving Mother Nature with well researched, interactive and engaging articles and lots of interesting info.

Aromatic indoor plants for you

The best fragranced plants for indoor gardens tend to be those that flower or fruit. Herbs with rich aromas are a good option too...

Aromatic indoor plants for you

Plants & Pets

We all like our homes to smell nice–from freshly laundered sheets to scented candles–there are numerous ways to achieve this. However, it is a well-known fact that houseplants can clean the air in your home but they can also fill it with a fresh and beautiful fragrance – if you choose the right variety. Many people enjoy the aroma of roses, jasmine and other blooms in the garden, yet we forget to have scented plants indoors. There are a number of indoor plants that can make your home smell amazing. The best fragranced plants for indoor gardens tend to be those that flower or fruit. Herbs with rich aromas are a good option too. But bear in mind, most fragrant houseplants only emit scent for a short period, while their flowers are in bloom. To extend your window of freshness, buy a selection of plants that blossom at different times.

Scented geranium: Like the air freshener that releases a jet of fragrance when you press its button, a scented geranium will release a burst of beautiful scent into the room when you gently rub or bruise one of its leaves. This easy-care plant should only be watered when the soil is dry. It is a sun-worshipper, too, so keep it in a window that gets lots of light.

Madagascar jasmine: If you’re looking for a scent that will fill the room, you could do worse than invest in a Madagascar jasmine. More powerful than its delicate cousin, the polyanthum, the Madagascar emits a heady fragrance. As a climbing plant, it will be sold, snaking around a wire hoop. It can later be removed from the hoop and trained to climb an outdoor trellis. This plant likes a constant temperature, so keep it somewhere warm in winter. Refrain from turning your Madagascar jasmine too vigorously when adjusting sun levels as this may cause the flowers to fall.

Orange blossom: Looking for something zesty? Choose orange, lemon, grapefruit or lime. Citrus blossoms not only look pretty, they positively burst with sweet, fruity scent. Choose a sunny spot with no drafts and be sure to water frequently. Fertilise in spring and summer to keep your citrus in great health.

Frangipani: If you’ve spent any time in Australia, the beautiful and distinct aroma of frangipani (or plumeria) will no doubt bring back memories of happy times in sunnier climes. A favourite motif on paintings and surf-wear Down Under, this pretty golden and creamy-white flower originally hails from surf-mecca Hawaii. Keep your frangipani in a warm, bright draft-free spot and move outdoors in summer to make sure it gets plenty of light. The Frangipani is poisonous, and should be kept out of reach of children and pets for this reason.

Primrose: For a long-lasting, delicate fragrance and an equally delicate burst of colour in your home, opt for the primrose. Watch its long-blooming flowers fade from white to the prettiest yellow and enjoy the scent from early spring, all summer long (with the right care). Like the scented geranium, treat your primrose to plenty of sunshine and only water when the soil is dry.

Mint: If flowery fragrances aren’t your thing, why not opt for the fresh smell of mint wafting through your home. Apple mint, lemon mint, peppermint and spearmint boast some of the most delicate aromas. Easy to maintain, your mint plant should be kept in bright, but filtered, sunlight, as too much direct sun can scorch the leaves.

Gardenia: A favourite among perfumers, gardenia is a regular ingredient in many of the most popular fragrances, thanks to its beautiful heady aroma. In return, be prepared to put in some effort to keep your plant at its sweet-smelling best. Gardenia thrives in a humid and very bright environment. Water and fertilise regularly in spring and summer. In the colder months, hold off on the fertiliser – and remember to keep it away from drafts all year round.

Coffee plant: This is one for the serious growers, as Coffee Arabica, has a reputation for being high maintenance. Although, this mainly due to the fact that our dry homes are not its ideal environment. This plant will fair best in spaces with high humidity and bright indirect light, such as a sun room, where its fragrant flowers and berries can blossom. Give it a bright spot for best results and keep your coffee plant well-watered but not standing in water. High humidity is necessary to prevent the leaf edges from turning brown, so place your plant on a pebble tray.

Kumquat trees: These ornamental evergreens are one of the best indoor fruit trees. Although, loved for their glossy green foliage, Citrus Japonica is self-pollinating, so can even produce its sweet-smelling fruits inside. In the right conditions, Citrus japonica will flower several times a year and its leaves can be infused to make tea. The fruits can also be used; either slice as a garnish for cocktails or soft drinks–or for the more adventurous–chop them to make marmalade. Terracotta containers filled with a well-draining citrus potting mix will keep the roots happy and free of soggy soil. Water when the soil is visibly dry, or dry about 2” down–and reduce watering in the winter, when the plant’s natural processes like photosynthesis have slowed down. Fertilize with a citrus-specific fertilizer (this is important because citrus has specific macro and micronutrient needs) spring-fall.

Tuscan rosemary: Growing the best herbs to plant in a kitchen will not only keep you stocked with fresh culinary flavors, it will scent your home too. One herb with a particularly rich aroma is Tuscan Rosemary, which can be used to flavor food and drinks. Some plants only smell good when they are in bloom but brush your hand over rosemary foliage and the savory scent will be with you all day. Choose an upright variety like Tuscan Blue, which has small, aromatic velvety deep blue flowers in late spring. Place it in direct sunlight in a southern or western facing kitchen window. A well-draining potting mix and a pot with drainage holes is essential for root health. Adding perlite to the potting mix can encourage better drainage. Allow the soil to become slightly dry between waterings, and remove excess water from the drainage tray, as rosemary does not like being overwatered. Fertilize with a slow-release organic fertilizer for edible plants in spring and summer. In spring, remove any dead stems and prune the rest by a third, cutting just above each leaf node. Harvest the young, tender new growth at about the top 2-3” of each stem, which is the most flavorful for culinary use.


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