Fragrant Spring Bulbs

Hyacinth and Lily of the Valley:

If you want spring flowers that smell gorgeous, there are two outstanding choices: Hyacinths and Lily of the Valley.

Hyacinths not only smell delicious, they also come in a range of glorious colours, so they have double appeal. However, they can be rather expensive (approximately $1.00 per bulb), and they are often top heavy and fall over unless supported in some way. Other than this, there is no down side to Hyacinths. ALWAYS plant Hyacinths if you can possibly manage it.

Lily of the Valley bulbs (usually called "pips") are almost never offered for sale in the fall. Usually you see the plants sold in the spring, already potted. This makes them much more expensive to buy. However, you can often order Lily of the Valley pips from mail order or on-line gardening catalogs, in which case they are relatively inexpensive (40 - 50 cents each). As well, they often spread out on their own, so that even investing in one or two potted plants can get you a whole bedful in a few years. And the fragrance is so delicious that it has inspired perfumes.

Certain Daffodils and Tulips:

Certain types of daffodils can also be fragrant. For example, most varieties of the Jonquilla Daffodils (for example, Baby Moon, Bell Song, Buffawn, Bunting, Fruit Cup, Intrigue, Martinette, Pipit, Stratosphere, Suzy, Trevithian), the Tazetta Daffodils (for example, Canarybird, Chinese Sacred Lily, Cragford, Falconet, Galilee, Grand Soleil d'Or, Geranium, Hoopoe, Silver Chimes), and the Poeticus Daffodils (for example, Actaea, Cantablile, Recurvus) are beautifully fragrant. In addition, a few varieties of the Double Daffodils (Bridal Crown, Cheerfulness, Honolulu, Sir Winston Churchill, Yellow Cheerfulness) and the Long Cup Daffodils (Big Gun, Carlton, Louise de Coligny, Sweet Charity) are lightly scented as well.

While most Tulips have no smell, nevertheless some varieties of Tulips are, indeed, fragrant. For example some of the Single Early Tulips (such as Apricot Beauty, Bellona, Christmas Marvel, Couleur Cardinal, Generaal de Wet, Keizerskroon, Prince of Austria), the Double Early Tulips (such as Abba, Electra, Mr. van der Hoef, Monte Carlo, Montreux, Schoonord), the Double Late Tulips (such as Allegretto, Angelique), and some of the Darwin Hybrid Tulips (Ad Rem, Daydream, Holland's Glory, Oranjezon, Silverstream, Vivex) have a very pleasant fragrance.


Finally, Dwarf Irises are fragrant, as are Grape Hyacinths (Muscari), and English Bluebells. You can click on different parts of the the following table to see more details about each type of flower:

1. Hyacinth 2. Lily of the valley
3. Dwarf Iris 4. Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)
5. English Bluebells 6. Jonquilla Daffodils
7. Tazetta Daffodils 8. Poeticus Daffodils
9. Double Daffodils 10. Long Cup Daffodils
11. Single Early Tulips 12. Double Early Tulips
13. Double Late Tulips 14. Darwin Hybrid Tulips

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Last modified: October 12, 2008