Double white lilac bush

What Does Lilac Smell Like?

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Most people think of common lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) when they consider lilac fragrance, but the scent varies, depending on the lilac variety — from heady and sweet to spicy and intense. Lilac season is fleeting, lasting only three or four weeks. Cut some lilac stems and bring them indoors to enjoy the fragrance while it lasts.


Common lilacs have a strong, sweet, heady scent that is almost cloying. When placed indoors, the fragrance of cut lilacs quickly permeates a room. Most people find the fragrance of lilacs appealing, although a few find it too sweet. The fragrance of lilacs may vary, depending on the time of day as well as stage of bloom. The most intense fragrance is usually apparent on warm, sunny days.


Korean lilac (Syringa patula) has smaller flowers than common lilac and the flowers are densely formed. Their scent is intense and slightly spicy, with less sweetness than common lilacs. Japanese tree lilac (S. reticulata) grows 30 feet high and produces creamy-white panicles of blooms. The fragrance is completely unlike that of common lilacs, resembling honey. Some people find its fragrance offensive.


For best fragrance, plant lilacs in full sun. Apply fertilizer only if the plant shows slow growth or if the soil is very poor. Excessive nitrogen fertilizer reduces flowering, and fewer flowers means less fragrance. Water young lilacs weekly during dry weather. Established plants can tolerate drier conditions.


To extend the lilac season, plant several varieties. Try Hyacinthiflora lilacs, such as Bountiful, Churchill or Maiden’s Blush for earliest blooms, followed by French hybrids or common lilacs. Korean lilacs, such as Miss Kim, or Preston hybrids, such as Minuet, Pauline and Ursula, bloom later than common lilacs. Japanese tree lilacs bloom early- to mid-summer.

Country MagazineI think it all started when I was staying at my mom’s house in North Carolina. A tiny white lilac shrub bloomed along the grassy space separating Mom’s driveway from her neighbor’s. I remember seeing that shrub and realizing just how long it had been since I last saw one. I walked over to it and breathed deeply. A hidden longing came over me.

As a youngster growing up in New York, I knew two lilacs. One grew right outside our house; it was a mixture of purple and white branches. I’m told Dad had planted one of each, and they had grown intertwined over the years. The other was more maroon-colored, growing next to an old house that was falling down beside the barn where we milked cows.

Isn’t it funny how we can latch onto something, and then it takes on a new importance in our minds? That’s what happened with the lilacs and me. That little shrub at Mom’s made me long for my own lilacs.

A few years later, I decided to leave North Carolina and move back to my childhood home in New York. After I was settled, I discovered a lilac farm a couple hours away and came home armed with four new small shrubs, a complimentary bag of fertilizer that lilacs especially like, and instructions from the grower to cut mine back by one-third of their size every year if I wanted glorious shrubs like those on his farm.

He acknowledged that most people can’t seem to do that, and he was right. I can’t bring myself to cut mine back, though I do manage to keep deadwood trimmed off and to fertilize twice a year.

Since I chose to move away from warmer climates, I really try not to complain about the winter. I know it has to be like this, but I can hardly wait for the bare winter branches to be replaced by the first blooms.

When winter is at its worst, I try to remember what it’s like when it’s warm enough to open the windows, and the spring breeze carries the lilac scent in.

Or to be mowing some distance away and suddenly have that lilac scent waft over to me. The feeling is so powerful that I don’t want to be any place other than right there. It’s one of the things that keeps me here for the winter. I don’t want to miss spring and the lilacs.

I know some people find lilacs to be disappointing, since they bloom for such a short time—or not at all, if we have a late frost. I disagree. They’re part of who I am, and I need them each year. I understood that once I was really home.

MORE: What Your Favorite Flower Says About Your Personality

6 Flowers That Smell Like Candy

I’m a vegetable gardener. Or at least, I always have been until very recently. I love growing my own food and I’ve dedicated a lot of time and energy to learning the craft of small-scale food farming.

However, a recent move and certain circumstances have kept me from my veggie-growing ways this year. And now, in this new house, I’m feeling drawn to flowers for the first time ever. Flowers! Beautiful bright blooms, a rainbow explosion across my yard. All the shapes and colors and sizes; vines and stalks and shrubs and on and on. But mostly? Mostly I want the sweet, calming, joy-inducing fragrance that comes from fresh blooming flowers.

And I’ve been doing my research. Some people like it floral and perfume-y, others like it heady and tropical. Me? I guess because I’m used to growing food – I like my flowers to smell downright edible. So here it is, my top six picks for the most delectably-scented flowers you can find. These are the flowers that smell like candy!

1) Freesia

Freesia is a very sweet-smelling flower, almost reminiscent of strawberries or other summer fruit. Some people even describe it as smelling like Fruit Loops! But it’s much more mild than that with subtle high notes of honey and mint.

2) Honeysuckle

Honeysuckles are small fragrant flowers that grow on hardy bushes. They will fill your home with their sweet sweet aroma. Honeysuckle is a pungent, almost thick sort of scent, but it’s fruity and warm with hints of honey and ripe citrus.

3) Lilac

Lilac is an iconic purple shrub that bears a sweet, almost overly sweet, and heady fragrance. Lilac is heavy while still feeling fresh, but it’s definitely a scent that clings to the air. The odor is fruity (without any citrus) and carries a light touch of vanilla.

4) Strawberry-Scented Geranium (Pelargonium)

These delicate pink flowers will release their aroma at the slightest touch, so they’re a great addition along your paths and walkways. They give off a sweet, berry-like fragrance with delightful lemony undernotes. The smell of strawberry-scented geranium is just perfectly refreshing.

5) Tuberose

Tuberose aroma is very strong, and almost cloyingly sweet. Almost. The smell itself is hard to pin down, and has been described as anywhere from grape candy to Dr. Pepper soda. One thing that’s certain: tuberose has a very sweet, very exotic sort of aroma. It’s sexy and it’s rich. This kind of candy is for grown-ups.

6) Chocolate Cosmos

We couldn’t talk about flowers that smell like candy without mentioning chocolate! And chocolate lovers, you are in luck. This particular variety of cosmos bears a deep burgundy flower. It looks just like the typical garden cosmos, except for that striking rust-colored hue. But most importantly, chocolate cosmos contain vanillin, the compounds found in cocoa, and thus they emit a rich, distinctly cocoa-like aroma.

So, are you inspired to get out there and start playing with flowers that smell like candy? To try and grow your own candy flower garden? I know I am!

Don’t have time to plant a DIY flower garden? Then find an expert landscaper near you.

Sayward Rebhal writes for

Updated January 11, 2018.

Along with the delicate nature and visual beauty, the floral scent of flowers is one reason why we are in this “sweet” business. However, we absolutely appreciate arrangements of non-fragrant flowers every once in awhile. There are several reasons why you also might be looking for flowers without a strong smell.

  • The recipient might suffer from allergies and have a reaction with strong scented flowers. Some people are highly sensitive and can get headaches from the fragrance that some flowers produce.
  • In some circumstances, it is not permitted to send scented flowers to certain places, such as a nursing home or hospital. This is to ensure that other patients, residents or staff are not bothered by the scent, should they be sensitive to certain flowers.
  • For occasions that require you to wear or hold flowers for long periods of time (ie. prom, graduation, weddings), choosing an unscented flower will make the day more tolerable. Even the prettiest fragrances can get overwhelming after long periods of time.

Always be sure to check with the recipient and the building’s restrictions before sending highly scented flowers.
Or, to be on the safe side, choose an arrangement of unscented flowers if you’re not sure.

Luckily, flowers do not lose even the smallest amount of beauty if they do not produce a fragrance!

We have plenty of beautiful flowers to choose from at Brant Florist… the following are flowers without fragrance.

Asiatic Lilies

Asiatic lilies are a wonderful way to send your recipient a bouquet of colour, while being mindful about the scent.

This particular type of lily does not give off a strong fragrance, and they still bloom in all different types of colours. You can get this popular flower all year round, and it is a safe arrangement to send to any establishment.

“Sunny Days Ahead” Asiatic Lilies BouquetAsiatic Lilies – your colour choice, gift wrapped


This is a simple yet classic flower that has a very modest fragrance. This red amaryllis is simply beautiful, and does not come with an overwhelming scent.

Merry Amaryllis in red


Another flower that comes in an array of colours, the ranunculus is also a non-scented option. These smaller blossoms are often used in bridal bouquets as well as corsages and boutonnieres.

The humble fragrance of the ranunculus flower makes them tolerable to wear or carry around for long periods of time, such as with the corsage and bridal bouquets.

Ranunculus flowerRanunculus Bridal Bouquet

Calla Lilies

Calla Lilies are beautiful and elegant flowers. You can feel great about sending these flowers to any establishment or recipient. They are classic and sophisticated. Let their blooms do the talking, instead of their scent!

Beautiful White Calla Lillies

Other unscented flowers include gerbra daisies, tulips, iris, gladioli and some exotic flowers like birds of paradise.

We also make custom arrangements!

If you don’t see what you’re looking for on the website, give us a call at 905-634-2658 or send us an email for assistance. We can design a custom arrangement with or without scented flowers depending on your preference!

Ask us directly if you’re unsure about whether to send a scented flower or an unscented flower. Our team of experts will be happy to assist you in choosing the perfect flower for whatever occasion!
We look forward to designing the perfect flower arrangement for you or your recipient.


This heady, timeless, classic scent is evocative of traditional English country gardens. Find its essential oil extract everywhere from granny’s rosewater to Stella Mccartney’s signature fragrance range.


The lily really knows how to make a statement in the home. If its flamboyant petals weren’t enough to grab your attention, its intoxicating scent certainly will be. Wallflowers need not apply.


Few fragrances shout ‘spring’ quite like the fresh scent of the freesia. Light but with enough depth to tantalise your senses. A perfect seasonal scented gift.


The gardenia has a distinctive ‘white flower’ scent that has made it a consistently popular choice for perfumers. A bouquet of these pretty blooms in the home will bring the scent of the outdoors in.


This distinctive scent, widely known for its soothing and calming properties, is the perfect companion for a bedroom dressing table. Its long-lasting flowers also promise to linger night after night.

Yelena Strokin


If you love the smell of lavender but prefer something a little less herbal and a little more floral, look no further than the hyacinth – similar to lavender but slightly sweeter and widely available as a cut flower.


Similar to its white flower counterparts, jasmine and gardenia, tuberose is bursting with scent but it also has an elegant appearance that makes it the ideal flower for a minimalist home or chic city wedding.


Like cherry blossom and magnolia, the sight of lilac trees in bloom is one of the great joys of spring. But this pretty purple flower has also become increasingly popular in bouquets, thanks to its vintage aesthetic and soft, sweet smell.


A very sweet smelling, small white-pinkish flower that grows on long trailing bracts, jasmine is a great choice for a scented wedding bouquet at a country wedding.

Read more about the rose, peony, lily and freesia in our guides.

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