A plant with scent is always something to treasure, but it is not always the flowers that are scented, there is a great range of plants that have scented leaves, which if brushed or touched release their fragrance.
In our pelargonium range we have a selection that are categorised as ‘Scented leaf Pelargoniums’ for the very reason that they have scented leaves, not scented flowers, they come in a huge range of scents from lemon to rose, cinnamon to peppermint, orange to apple the list goes on and on.
But it is not only the scent that makes this range of plants so fascinating they are diverse in their growth and habit. Ardwick Cinnamon for example is a dainty compact grower with small white flowers and a lovely strong cinnamon scent, to the other extreme you have Tomentosum the strong peppermint scent is like no other -and so is the plant, it has big silver/green leaves that are like felt to the touch. It makes a big showy plant quickly and very easily and has dainty white flowers. Or for something more in the middle you have Graveolens this is where ‘oil of geranium’ is extracted from which is used in many beauty products and is often seen in Chinese take-aways as it has very calming properties and is excellent as an air freshener.
Another good room freshener is Lady Plymouth the lovely variegated foliage makes it a pretty plant without the need for flowers and it has a lovely citrus scent. We have one of these growing in our downstairs toilet – a must when you live with 3 boys!!
For the chefs among us then you want to grow Lemon Fancy or Mabel Grey, probably the strongest lemon scented varieties there are and both are perfect to use when baking a lemon drizzle cake – Yum! Of course there are other lemon scented varieties, this Spring we have been lucky enough to have added a brand NEW variety of scented Pelargonium to our range, Royal Delight bred by Nicola Stemp and released exclusively by us. This little treasure looks in all pretenses to be a variegated Angel Pelargonium however it catches you unawares with its gorgeous lemon scent that makes a superb bushy plant flowering all summer long or why not try Crispum Variegata an unusual variety and favoured by flower arrangers for its foliage.
Other scented leaves have not only scented leaves but very pretty flowers, Village Hill Oak is like a mini oak tree with its beautiful oak shaped leaf and cedarwood scent but the flowers make it an added bonus. Or why not try Madame Nonin this quick growing shrubby plant has beautiful flowers and a lovely musky scent.
But not all scented leaves can be used in cooking some are poisonous if eaten and Filicifolium is one such plant, it is however a worthy addition to any collection as the foliage on this plant is like no-other. It has slightly sticky fern-like leaves and a lovely balsam scent with delicate pink flowers and will make a lovely bushy plant – but do not eat!!
Another one of my favourites is Atomic snowflake with its variegated foliage and wonderful lemon verbena scent, there’s nothing better than brushing past the stock plants when you’re in the greenhouse. Another lovely is Hemley, a vigorous grower with lavender pink flowers or why not try Prince of Orange with its two tone flowers and orange scent.
But if your looking for something a little more special then why not try the species pelargonium P.Dichondraefolium, bit of a mouthful to say and spell but it is a real novelty. It has lots of small white dainty flowers with a lavender scented leaf.
Of course there are many more that we have not covered from the apple scented Odoratissimum to the lovely citrus scented Wild Spice, which has foliage similar to a regal, to Attar of Roses with is strong rose scent, that so reminds me of rose petal pot pourii to Charity with its bright lime green leaves and sweet smell, a beautiful plant with the added scent bonus and one that is worth showing off in a fancy pot.
So scented leaves are wide and varied, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, flower colours and leaf patterns, but one thing is for certain the scent on them is amazing and always a talking point. They have been used for hundreds of years for cooking, pot pourri, medicine and even for keeping unwanted pests away so why not try growing something different and be amazed by how simple they are to look after yet reward you with an abundance of flowers and smells!!
Thanks for reading and happy growing.