Houseplants not only soften an interior decor by inviting nature into the home, they also serve as natural air fresheners. Whether the flowers or the leaves of a plant are scented, the fragrance brings a touch of spring into your house in the winter. Fragrant houseplants also provide bright colour, interesting shapes and even cooking ingredients.
Planting spring bulbs in pots in the winter and growing them indoors forces them to bloom as if they had grown outdoors. Hyacinths come in shades of blue and pink, as well as white, yellow and coral. Their strong fragrance fills any room. In the daffodil family, paperwhites have a musky fragrance and the Grand Soleil D'Or cultivar has a sweeter scent. Tulips offer a wide range of colours, petal shapes and scents. The T. Batalini and T. Humilis varieties grow to only 6 inches tall and have strong fragrances.
The striking architectural shape of the orchid adds a modern touch to interior decor. The Dendrobium species of orchid, with more than 1,600 known varieties, produces scented blooms that last for many weeks. D. Loddigessi bears fragrant, peach-coloured blossoms and Wonder Nishii has long-blooming sugar-scented yellow flowers. The Oncidium orchid species, a hybrid, produces clusters of flowers on branched, arching stems. The Bobcat cultivar has scented blossoms of dark burgundy and Wildcat orchids are a fragrant blend of red, mahogany, yellow or white flowers.
Several types of geraniums grow successfully indoors, with scented geraniums providing fragrance to a home. Each leaf of a scented geranium has cells that release scent when touched. Fragrances range from orange and pineapple to chocolate and rose. Pelargonium x Fragrans is easy to grow and smells like nutmeg. The Mrs. Taylor cultivar is an old variety with red flowers and spicy lemon-scented leaves. Citrus-scented geraniums are often compact with small, finely cut leaves. Dry the leaves of these plants for use in potpourri.
Indoor herbs provide both fragrance and cooking ingredients to your home. Compact strains of rosemary, such as Blue Boy, will grow into dense bushes less that 18 inches high. Trailing varieties, including Lockwood, can be trained to grow along wire topiary shapes. Other fragrant culinary herbs include the many varieties of basil, lemon balm and lemon thyme, sage and chocolate and orange mint. Add these herbs to your recipes, make teas of them or include them in your favourite salads.