Experts share the best plants for infusing subtle scent into your home

Replace artificial home fragrances with the power of plants that infuse scents while also looking great

Indoor plants
(Image credit: Tom Raffield)

With many homeowners seeking alternative ways to make indoor spaces smell great, experts are recommending using certain plants. Some of the best indoor plants will do the hard work for you and infuse delightfully subtle scents into the home, transforming our living spaces into an aromatic sanctuary.

By strategically placing your plants and maintaining them appropriately, you can elevate your space with this hidden trick for a nice-smelling home.

'A well-chosen combination of these scented plants has the potential to transform any space into a sensory oasis,' says Vitaliy Vinogradov, interior designer and project manager at Modern Place. Our interior and plant experts have recommended their favorite plants to infuse your home with different types of fragrances.

Plants to infuse subtle scents into your home

'Many of us are accustomed to using scented candles and air fresheners to make our homes smell lovely and inviting, yet, these methods often contain harmful toxins and contribute to pollutants in the air.

'That’s why having fragrant houseplants in your house is a much better alternative,' explains Ivo Iv, founder and CEO of Decor Home Ideas. 'Besides being eco-friendly, they also give you other benefits, such as improving sleep, reducing air pollution, and even reducing stress.'

Country wallpaper ideas

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1. Fragrant herbs


(Image credit: Tom Raffield)

'Aromatic herbs such as lavender, rosemary, and mint not only add a refreshing touch to your culinary creations but also emit lovely scents,' says Vitaliy Vinogardov. 'Consider placing potted herbs in the kitchen or near windowsills to enjoy their aromatic aroma while cooking or relaxing.'

You can use an assortment of these plants to create an indoor herb garden. Growing herbs indoors can be a great addition to your kitchen garnish selection while creating an area designed to emanate fresh fragrances throughout your space. 

Andrew Arthurs, CEO of Alpine Home Air explains, 'The scent of lavender has been shown to reduce stress, and anxiety, and promote relaxation, making it an excellent addition to your indoor environment. Placing a potted lavender plant in a sunny spot indoors not only allows you to enjoy its delightful fragrance but also brings a touch of natural beauty to your living space.'

'Rosemary not only adds a wonderful flavor to your culinary dishes but also has a refreshing scent,' says Zahid Adnan, founder of The Plant Bible. 'It's perfect for the kitchen or any area where you want to enjoy a hint of herbal fragrance.' Place pots of rosemary in a sunny spot.

Additionally, Ryan Farley, CEO of LawnStarter comments, 'I highly recommend herbs like basil and mint as great plants for infusing your home with subtle scents. I keep a couple of basil and mint plants in my home and have found that even slightly brushing against them releases a very mild and pleasant scent. You can increase this effect by breaking leaves to release a more potent smell.'

Mint plants, such as peppermint or chocolate mint, are great choices for their invigorating scent. Keep them in the kitchen, where you can easily harvest their leaves for teas and recipes.

Zahid Adnan
Zahid Adnan

Zahid Adnan is the Founder and Editor of The Plant Bible , as well as managing a plot of 10-hectare agricultural land. He is also involved in a project to develop sustainable urban farming practices by utilizing farming technologies to increase food production and reduce environmental impacts.

Ryan Farley
Ryan Farley

Ryan Farley is the CEO of LawnStarter, a lawncare service based in the USA.

2. Aromatic shrubs

Eucalyptus in shower

(Image credit: GettyImages)

'Adding fragrant shrubs, like eucalyptus or Madagascar jasmine, to your living room, bedroom or bathroom can create a serene atmosphere,' suggests Vitaliy Vinogardov. 'Their natural scents will envelop your space, leaving a calming effect on both your mind and body.'

For a nice-smelling bathroom, why not try hanging eucalyptus branches in your shower? A spa-like scent is released from the steam – you can find dried eucalyptus stems for shower hanging from Amazon.

Madagascar jasmine is a shrub with a sweet-smelling scent comparable to a jasmine plant, acting as an elegant organic air freshener. These fragrant bushes have wide, deep green foliage and waxy, white blossoms, making them a beautiful decorative addition to your space. We love this Madagascar jasmine, from Amazon.

3. Citrus trees

A lemon tree indoors next to a sofa

(Image credit: Getty/Victoria Pearson)

Trees that produce citrus fruits not only produce an invigorating scent, but also add a vibrant, Mediterranean touch to your interiors.

Cyble Rizwan at Persimmon Design recommends, 'Consider dwarf citrus trees like lemon, lime, or orange. These not only provide a zesty scent but also bear fruit! Place them in sunny spots, displaying them in decorative pots.'

Citrus trees need at least eight hours of sunlight each day to support their growth and encourage blooming, and a watering once a week to enhance their scent.

4. Floral beauties

Star jasmine

(Image credit: BIOSPHOTO / Alamy Stock Photo)

'Flowers like gardenia, roses and jasmine bring delicate and enchanting scents indoors. These flowers thrive in bright spaces and can be displayed in elegant vases or hanging flower baskets to add both visual and olfactory delight,' recommends Vitaliy Vinogradov.

'Gardenia is another houseplant you can incorporate into your indoor home decor to add a lovely fragrance,' says Ivo Iv. 'The plant is an ingredient in many in-vogue perfumes, and its single or double white flowers produce a potent, nice-smelling aroma that will keep your home smelling fresh for months. 

'Watering your gardenia once every week and exposing it to regular bright light is crucial to keep it healthy. You should also protect your plant from cold and hot drafts and apply a fertilizer designed for acid-loving plants in the spring and summer.'

You can find a gardenia plant and flower fertilizer at Walmart.

'Jasmine plants are renowned for their enchanting, sweetly scented white flowers, which emit their most alluring fragrance, often intensified during the evening hours,' explains Andrew Arthurs. 'This captivating aroma carries with it a sense of romance and can add a touch of exoticism to your indoor spaces. 

'Jasmine plants thrive when placed in areas that receive an abundance of sunlight, making them ideal for indoor gardens or near windows where they can bask in the natural light. As night falls, the intoxicating scent of jasmine fills the air, creating a delightful and soothing ambiance that can be particularly enchanting for relaxation and unwinding.'

Cyble Rizwan suggests, 'Trellis it by a sunny window or hang it in a decorative planter for a romantic touch.'

We recommend this jasmine plant, from Walmart.


Which plant has the most versatile scents?

'Scented geraniums have so many unique fragrances to choose from, including strawberry, lemon, rose, nutmeg, ginger, chocolate, and mint, just to name a few; it’s almost as if you’re choosing from a range of air fresheners! What’s more, you can create a simple air freshener for any room in your home by merely putting a few geranium leaves in a water bowl,' advises Ivo Iv, the founder and CEO of Decor Home Ideas. 

'Also, I wouldn’t be doing justice to this plant by not mentioning that you’ll get beautiful flowers to adorn your home along with the lovely fragrance. Water your geranium once every four weeks to keep it healthy.'

Interior designer, Vitaliy Vinogardov leaves us with his last tips: 'To ensure these scents are enjoyed to their fullest, it is crucial to maintain proper plant care. Regularly check the moisture levels of the soil, provide adequate sunlight for each plant's specific needs, and prune or trim when necessary. This will promote healthy growth and allow the scents to flourish.

'When it comes to incorporating these plants into your home decor, you can get creative. Consider using planters or hanging baskets to maximize space or creating a dedicated plant corner to showcase their beauty and scent. Additionally, incorporating natural materials like wicker or terracotta pots can add a touch of warmth to your interiors.'

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.