17 Scented Geraniums For Your Flowerbeds

Looking for a versatile and lovely smelling flower to plant this season? The scented geranium is a fantastic option for gardens of all types and sizes! In this article, gardening expert and cut flower farmer Taylor Sievers shares her favorite scented geraniums to add to your indoor or outdoor garden this season.

scented geraniums

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We’ve all heard of the bright round blooms and interesting foliage of geraniums (known as zonal geraniums). Still, many don’t know there’s an entirely distinct group of geraniums in the genus Pelargonium that aren’t known for their blooms.

Instead of acclaim for big, showy flowers, the scented geraniums are prized for their fragrant foliage. Apple, mint, strawberry, rose, and coconut are just a few of the scents in this unique group of plants!

Scented geraniums are tender perennials that are hardy to USDA Zones 9 to 10. Most prefer full sun, but some (like the mint-scented geraniums) will thrive in part shade. They are particularly heat and drought-tolerant and prefer sandy or loamy soil. They make excellent container plants, spreading border plants, and even houseplants!

Scented geraniums are extremely easy to propagate from cuttings, even for the novice gardener. By taking cuttings in the fall and keeping the cuttings inside over winter, you can have scented geraniums in your garden each season! I am very strict about saving cuttings to overwinter inside so I can enjoy this foliage in the garden or in a fresh-cut flower bouquet.

Most scented geraniums are native to Southern Africa, where they grow as perennial in rocky, dry areas, but others have been discovered in Australia, eastern Africa, New Zealand, the Middle East, and various islands like Madagascar.

Eager to learn more about scented geraniums? In this article, I’ll discuss 17 different varieties/species of scented pelargoniums for your home and garden.

‘Attar of Roses’ P. capitatum

Close-up of a flowering plant 'Attar of Roses' (Pelargonium capitatum) against a blurred background of green foliage. It is a fragrant plant known for its fragrant leaves and beautiful flowers. The plant has small, velvety, gray-green leaves with deep lobes, palmately compound. The flowers of 'Attar of Roses' are small and delicate, with five petals. They are a pale pink shade with thin dark purple veins on the top two petals. Flowers are collected in inflorescences on long stems.
‘Attar of Roses’ is a popular scented geranium with bright green leaves, pink flowers, and a strong rose scent.

Of the scented geranium varieties, ‘Attar of Roses’ seems to be the most popular and the most widely cultivated (and available for purchase). Because of its strong, enticing “rose” scent, this scented geranium’s essential oil was used as a substitute for the real and costly Attar of Roses, an essential oil made from Damask or centifolia rose petals that was widely used in perfumery.

The leaves of ‘Attar of Roses’ scented geranium are bright green and softly textured when you rub your fingers across them. The flowers are pink. This variety can grow as high as 2 ½ feet tall and is useful as greenery in a cut flower arrangement. I love to use this variety in bouquets, personally!

‘Sweet Mimosa’ P. hybrida

Close-up of a flowering plant 'Sweet Mimosa' P. hybrida against a blurred background. The plant has lobed bright green leaves with a slightly succulent texture. The plant forms a cluster of small, pale pink, five-petalled flowers with purple strokes on the upper petals.
This scented geranium has large shell-pink flowers with a lemon and rose scent.

‘Sweet Mimosa’ scented geranium has likely the largest flowers of all the scented geraniums. This variety has charming shell-pink flowers with coral to red brushing or stripping on some of the petals. The scent is like a mixture of lemon and rose.

The foliage of ‘Sweet Mimosa’ scented geranium is dark green, lobed, and slightly fuzzy. This variety can reach about 18 inches in height and makes a great standalone container plant.

‘Lemona’ P. crispum

Close-up of a blooming Geranium 'Lemona' (Pelargonium crispum) against a blurred background of potted plants. This is a special variety known for its lemon-scented leaves and delicate flowers. The leaves of 'Lemon' geranium are small and deeply lobed, giving them an intricate and attractive appearance. They are bright green in color and have a distinct lemon flavor. Geranium forms brushes of small delicate flowers, pale pink with rich pink spots on the petals.
This scented geranium features fringed dark green leaves with a sweet lemon scent and large lavender-pink flowers.

‘Lemona’ scented geranium has heavily fringed, rough, dark green leaves with a sweet lemon fragrance. The flowers are relatively large for a scented geranium with lavender–pink petals and raspberry-pink marks towards the center of the flower.

‘Lemona’ will reach about 1 ½ feet tall and is relatively leafy and compact, which makes this variety excellent for patio pots. Use the leaves as a culinary herb or garnish to a dish to impart a crisp lemon flavor.

‘Orange Fizz’ P. citriodorum

Close-up of a blooming geranium 'Orange Fizz' P. citriodorum against a blurred background. This is a special variety known for its citrus leaves and bright pink flowers. The leaves of the 'Orange Fizz' geranium are bright green and have deep lobes and slightly serrated edges. The flower consists of five petals and is held above the foliage on a long stem. Pale pink flower with purple strokes on the top two petals.
This scented geranium has textured leaves, big raspberry-pink flowers, delightful citrus scent.

‘Orange Fizz’ scented geranium has heavily textured leaves (described as leathery) that are a lighter shade of green than many other scented geraniums. The flowers are big, with a large raspberry-pink to maroon patch on the upper petals. The leaves have a delightful citrus scent.

‘Orange Fizz’ can reach up to 2 feet tall. Use this scented geranium in a pot or to line a pathway in the garden.

‘Citronella’ P. citrosum

Close-up of a flowering Geranium 'Citronella' (Pelargonium citrosum) plant against a blurred background. This is a special variety known for its strong lemon scent and insect repellency. Geranium leaves are bright green and have deep lobes, giving the plant an attractive and textured appearance. Geranium 'Citronella' produces small and delicate flowers that have pale pink petals with purple veins.
The ‘Citronella’ scented geranium has a citrusy scent, lacy light green leaves, and white flowers with pink markings.

Widely cultivated and sold at plant nurseries and big box stores as “Mosquito Plant,” the ‘Citronella’ scented geranium is touted to repel insects like the mosquito (although this claim has been proven false).

Regardless, the leaves have a sharp citrusy scent. The “citronella” smell is the result of the citronellal, a lemon-scented component found in many lemon-scented plants like lemongrass and lemon balm.

Regardless of its effectiveness against warding off pesky pests, ‘Citronella’ has very finely cut, lacy, light green leaves. The plant is productive and reaches a height of 2 to 4 feet tall. Use it in a patio pot or for landscaping. The flowers are not as prevalent but are white to pale pink with pink markings.

‘Chocolate Peppermint’ P. tomentosum

Close-up of leaves of Geranium 'Chocolate Peppermint' (Pelargonium tomentosum). This variety is known for its fragrant leaves with chocolate and mint aromas. Geranium 'Chocolate Peppermint' is a hanging or cascading plant. The plant forms a dense mat of foliage that spreads along the edges or spreads along the ground. The leaves of the 'Chocolate Mint' geranium are medium, palmately lobed, with a velvety texture. The foliage is bright green with brownish markings in the center.
The ‘Chocolate Peppermint’ scented geranium has unique leaves with a chocolate-colored center.

‘Chocolate Peppermint’ scented geranium has a pure peppermint scent with interesting leaves that gave rise to the use of the word “chocolate” in its name. The leaves are soft, lobed, and light green with a dark chocolate-colored or maroon center.

‘Chocolate Peppermint’ flowers are pale pink with dark pink markings. This variety is not overly floriferous. Rather than ‘Chocolate Peppermint’ regarded purely as P. tomentosum, some say this variety was actually developed from a cross between the ‘Peppermint’ scented geranium (P. tomentosum) and ‘Giant Oak’ scented geranium (P. quercifolium).

‘Grey Lady Plymouth’ P. graveolens

Close-up of a flowering Geranium 'Grey Lady Plymouth' (Pelargonium graveolens) plant indoors against a blurred background. This variety is known for its attractive variegated leaves and delightful rose scent. The leaves of the 'Grey Lady Plymouth' geranium are variegated with hints of green and creamy white. The plant produces small, five-petalled, delicate lavender-pink flowers with deep pink veins.
This scented geranium has finely cut, sage green leaves scented like roses.

‘Grey Lady Plymouth’ scented geranium boasts a thin white line around the edges of its very finely cut leaves. The leaves are shaded in the color of sage green. Flowers of ‘Grey Lady Plymouth’ can be pink or lavender. The leaves are scented like a rose with slightly fruity overtones. Many hybrids have been produced using P. graveolens.

‘Grey Lady Plymouth’ is touted to be a great houseplant because of its compact, mannerly size. It rarely grows past 18 inches. Its quite close relative, ‘Lady Plymouth,’ has more white around the edges but does not have as strong of a scent to its leaves.

‘Peppermint’ P. tomentosum

Close-up of a flowering plant Geranium 'Peppermint' (Pelargonium tomentosum). This variety is known for its fragrant leaves with a refreshing peppermint scent. The leaves of Geranium 'Peppermint' are medium, deeply lobed, with a velvety texture and serrated edges. The leaves are bright green. Geranium 'Peppermint' produces small and delicate white flowers with two oval upper petals and three narrow elongated lower ones. The flowers appear in inflorescences above the leaves, giving the plant a touch of elegance.
The ‘Peppermint’ scented geranium has distinct peppermint-scented leaves with a soft, wooly texture.

Leaves of the ‘Peppermint’ scented geranium are usually easy to distinguish from others because of their peppermint scent and soft, wooly texture. The maple-shaped leaves almost glow due to all the little white hairs covering the surface of the leaves.

‘Peppermint’ scented geranium and the other mint-scented geraniums enjoy a dappled or shady part in the garden compared to many of the other scented geraniums, which require full sun. The plant is 1 to 2 feet tall and is best grown in containers or as a ground cover near a garden path.

‘Mabel Grey’ P. citronellum

Close-up of a flowering Geranium 'Mabel Grey' (Pelargonium citronellum) plant on a raised bed in a garden. This variety is known for its beautiful grey-green leaves and citrusy citronella aroma. Geranium leaves are grey-green in color, with a velvety texture and deep lobes, giving them a slightly lacy appearance. Geranium produces small and delicate lavender-pink five-petalled flowers with purple veins on the top two petals.
‘Mabel Grey’ scented geranium has a lemony scent, unique rough leaves, and larger lavender flowers.

It seems that there was much debate about ‘Mabel Grey’ scented geranium when it came to classification. In the 1980s, this variety was finally distinguished as its own species rather than a mere hybrid. The scent of ‘Mabel Grey’ is said to be “more lemony than lemon”.

The leaves of this variety are very distinct compared to the maple-shaped or finely-cut leaves of other scented geraniums. I would describe ‘Mabel Grey’ as having finely-lobed hemp-shaped leaves that are rough to the touch and a shade of light dull green.

The flowers are lavender with carmine splotches and larger than many scented geranium varieties. This variety could be strained “as a standard”, which means trained into more of a tree-like habit.

‘Strawberry’ or ‘Lady Scarborough’ P. x scarboroviae

Close-up of a flowering plant Geranium 'Strawberry' or 'Lady Scarborough' P. x scarboroviae in a garden, against a blurred background. Geranium leaves are deeply lobed or palmate in shape, giving them an attractive and textured appearance. Geranium 'Strawberry' produces bright flowers that have shades of soft lavender and purple veins. The flowers have five petals, the top two of which are oval with purple veins, and the bottom three petals are thin and narrow with pale purple spots in the center.
This scented geranium has round, crinkled-edged leaves with a sweet scent and showy pink flowers.

‘Strawberry’ scented geranium has pale green, round, crinkled-edged leaves that emit a sweet strawberry-citrus fragrance. The flowers range from pink to light pink, with darker pink marks on the upper petals. This species is said to be “exceptionally showy” for a scented geranium.

The ‘Strawberry’ geranium is suitable for hanging baskets or the landscape and reaches 1 to 2 feet in height. Another name for this variety is ‘Countess of Scarborough’.

‘Skeleton Rose’ or ‘Dr. Livingston’ P. radens

Close-up of a flowering geranium plant ‘Skeleton Rose’ or ‘Dr. Livingston' P. radens on a blurry green background. Geranium ‘Dr. Livingston' is a compact and bushy plant, with curly growth, forming a dense and round shape. Geranium leaves are dark green in color and have a somewhat rounded and slightly lobed shape. They are known for their slightly serrated edges and have a matte, velvety texture. Geranium produces small but vibrant flowers in shades of purple and lavender. The flowers are five-petalled and are held above the foliage on long stems.
‘Skeleton Rose’ scented geranium has lacy foliage resembling a skeleton leaf with a lemony rose scent.

The lacy, “rasp-leaved” foliage of ‘Skeleton Rose’ scented geranium sounds and looks just like it is written. The leaves are very finely-cut, like a “skeleton” of a leaf. The foliage smells of lemony rose. And the citronellal content is said to be 100 times higher than ‘Citrosa’, the “Citronella Plant” that was originally thought to repel mosquitoes.

‘Skeleton Rose’ or ‘Dr. Livingston’ scented geranium is quite mannerly when pinched, and many gardeners remark that it provides a lot of interest in the garden. It is not as free-flowering as other scented geraniums. The flowers are pale-pinkish with deep raspberry streaks on the upper petals.

‘Apple’ P. odoratissimum

Close-up of a flowering plant Geranium 'Apple' (Pelargonium odoratissimum) against a blurred foliage background. It is a compact and bushy plant that forms a dense mound of foliage. Geranium leaves are medium green in color and round in shape with slightly lobed margins and a velvety texture. The plant produces small, delicate, white, five-petalled flowers. Petals are elongated, narrow, with thin purple veins on the top two.
This scented geranium, with its trailing habit, is ideal for hanging baskets or as a border plant.

‘Apple’ scented geranium is a variety that has been around for quite some time (and there are many other apple-scented varieties, too). The stems are long with a trailing habit. For this reason, ‘Apple’ scented geranium would be a great candidate for a hanging basket.

In the landscape, it is best grown as a border plant and is quite mannerly in growth habit, only reaching about 18 inches all around.

‘Apple’ scented geranium has wavy-edged leaves that are very true green (called pea-green by some). The flowers are white. This variety will readily cross-pollinate with others in the garden and therefore is the ancestor of many other scented geranium varieties with apple or nutmeg-scented foliage.

‘French Lace’ or ‘Variegated Prince Rupert’ P. x crispum

Top view, close-up of a Geranium 'Variegated Prince Rupert' (Pelargonium x crispum) plant in a garden. This cultivar is commonly known as the variegated lemon-scented geranium. It has an upright growth with several stems extending from the base. Geranium leaves are variegated with shades of green and creamy white, creating visually striking lace-like foliage. The leaves have deep lobes and notches.
‘French Lace’ scented geranium has small, crinkly, tri-lobed leaves with cream variegation, emitting a lemony scent.

The leaves of ‘French Lace’ are small, tri-lobed, and crinkly in appearance. What distinguishes ‘French Lace’ from other crispum varieties is the cream variegation of the leaves along the margins. This scented geranium emits a fine lemony scent. The flowers are small and lavender in color.

‘French Lace’ scented geranium is best used as a container plant. This variety, in particular, is very sensitive to cool, damp conditions. Pinching the plant will also make it more compact and shapely, as sometimes it can be quite lanky in growth. ‘French Lace’ would make an excellent houseplant.

‘Fair Ellen’ or Oak-Leaved P. quercifolium

Close-up of a flowering plant Geranium Oak-Leaved (Pelargonium quercifolium) on a green blurred background. This is a unique variety of geranium known for its oak leaves. The foliage has a textured and jagged appearance, reminiscent of intricately divided oak leaves. The leaves are green in color, which gives the plant an interesting and unique visual element. Geranium Oak-Leaved produces small, delicate flowers that are lavender-pink in color.
‘Fair Ellen’ scented geranium has oak-shaped leaves with a woodsy-lemon scent.

The leaves of ‘Fair Ellen’ scented geranium are shaped like oak leaves, more oval in shape than other scented geranium leaves because of the many dentations. The center of the green leaf has a unique maroon center and maroon shading to some of the veins.

The fragrance of the leaves is described as a “woodsy-lemon scent” or almond-scented. The blooms are lavender with a carmine center. ‘Fair Ellen’ is more floriferous than many other scented geraniums.

Other oak-leaved varieties are ‘Giant Oak’ and ‘Village Oak.’ It appears that ‘Fair Ellen’ may often be considered synonymous with ‘Village Oak,’ although true ‘Village Oak’ geraniums are said to be a little more self-contained in growth than ‘Fair Ellen.’

The oak-leaved scented geraniums appear to produce mixed emotions in scents. Some varieties emit fragrances that are not as pleasing to certain people, as mentioned in the renowned horticulturist Louise Beebe Wilder’s book, The Fragrant Garden.

Nutmeg Scented Geranium P. x fragrans

Top view, close-up of a Geranium Nutmeg Scented (Pelargonium x fragrans) plant in a sunny garden. It is a compact and bushy plant with upright growth. Geranium leaves are green, deeply lobed or dissected, giving them a complex and delicate appearance, slightly reminiscent of parsley leaves.
The Nutmeg Scented geranium has charming soft leaves with a sweet and spicy nutmeg scent.

The nutmeg-scented geranium has some of the most charming leaves. Personally, I feel this variety is very productive. The leaves are very soft, with gentle waves along the edges. They are a cool grey-green color that smells like–you guessed it–sweet and spicy nutmeg. The flowers are small and white with red veins.

Some say this variety has been sold under many names, including ‘Cody’, ‘Logee’, and ‘Old Spice’. The nutmeg-scented geranium is a great candidate for an indoor or patio pot, reaching up to 12 inches tall in height.

Fragransscented geranium is believed to have the apple-scented geranium in its parentage, so you may pick up a slight hint of crisp apple with the nutmeg smell.

‘Snowflake Rose’ P. x capitatum

Close-up of 'Snowflake Rose' P. x capitatum geranium flowers against a blurred background of pale green lobed foliage. The flowers are small, five-petalled, growing in a cluster towering above the foliage. Flowers consist of five individual petals arranged symmetrically. The petals are a soft pink with a paler pink towards the center of the flower. The top two petals have thin purple veins.
‘Snowflake Rose’ is a rose-scented geranium with round leaves featuring white flecks.

Another rose-scented variety is the ‘Snowflake Rose.’ The leaves are unique in that they are rounder with splotches, streaks, or flecks of white. Scientists believe that the flecking is due to a virus because sometimes the plants will revert to plain green leaves after a time.

When propagating, make sure to select cuttings with leaves that have the most coloring to retain the streaking and flecking in your new plants.

‘Snowflake Rose’ scented geranium is particularly useful as a hanging basket plant or in the landscape as a sprawling groundcover because it can spread as much as 4 feet. The plant does not usually reach more than 20 inches high, so it is a low-growing ground cover. It is not as suitable as a houseplant due to its spreading nature.

As with many of the scented geraniums, this variety can be confusing to procure or identify because other names like ‘Scheidts Ice Crystal Rose’ or ‘Both’s Snowflake Rose’ are associated with it. Look specifically for Pelargonium ‘Snowflake’ to get this one!

Coconut-Scented Geranium P. grossulariodes

Top view, close-up of a Geranium Coconut-Scented (Pelargonium grossulariodes) plant against a blurred background. This variety is known for its delicious coconut flavor. The leaves are green in color and have a round or lobed shape with serrated edges. The foliage has a textured look and is slightly fuzzy to the touch. .
Coconut-scented geranium is an annual with round leaves and pink-lavender flowers.

Almost all scented geraniums are considered herbaceous perennials in their natural habitat except the coconut-scented geranium, which is an annual.

This species is also unique because it can withstand extremely high temperatures (120 degrees F) but will also thrive in the shady spots of the garden.

The coconut-scented geranium grows low and has a spreading nature. The leaves are small and round or kidney-shaped. The color of the leaves is deep green. The flowers range in color from pink to lavender. The scent of the foliage is described as either “coconut” or rose-mint-lemon-clove.

It is important to note that many of the scented geraniums in this article and throughout the world have been used as culinary accents in various dishes and drinks, but the coconut-scented geranium is considered an abortifacient and can be very dangerous. Do not ingest this plant.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the Pelargonium genus is full of surprises regarding shapes, colors, and smells! This once-popular garden plant deserves a spot in your garden, and I honestly can’t believe more people don’t know about these fragrant geraniums.

Scented geraniums are easy to propagate, drought tolerant, and make great potted plants or houseplants, depending on the variety. The biggest question is, which scent will you choose for your garden?

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