Fragrant White-Flowering Shrubs

Updated February 21, 2017

Many gardeners have memories of very specific garden fragrances from their childhood or young adult years, such as lilac perfume from the bush at the bus stop, the roses in Grandma's backyard or spicy lilies each Easter season in church. These scent memories guide garden design, prompting additions of fragrant flowering shrubs to complete garden creations and add another dimension to the garden experience. Gardeners who want fragrance with white flowers can choose from a variety of shrubs.

Rosa Soulieana

Rosa soulieana is a large, sturdy rose variety that grows up to 12 feet high and 12 feet wide. Its flowers start as yellow rosebuds and open into large single white rose blossoms all summer long. Rosa souliena's rich, fruity perfume is memorable and lasting in the summer and autumn garden. They make excellent hedges or spectacular display plants in hot climates and full-sun locations.

Clematis Recta

Clematis recta, commonly called bush clematis, is an interesting variety of clematis with a bushy growth habit rather than the usual climbing habit of most clematis. Plants grow up to 4 feet high and need to be staked or trained to a trellis in a sunny location unless there's room to let them sprawl. It has small oval leaves and multitudes of little starlike flowers that send out clouds of sweet fragrance up to 30 feet away.

Mock Oranges

Mock oranges are deciduous perennial shrubs, with some evergreen varieties. They grow up to 8 feet tall, with medium-sized pointed, oval leaves and four-petalled white flowers with yellow centres. Mock oranges bloom in late spring and are very fragrant, scented like orange blossoms and jasmine.

Japanese Honeysuckle

Japanese honeysuckle is an attractive perennial vining shrub that grows to 30 feet high. It is evergreen in southern climates. It can be an aggressive and invasive grower if not managed well. Japanese honeysuckle has small, white tubular flowers with a thick, sweet fragrance summer through the end of autumn.


Jasmine is a climbing shrub that grows up to 15 feet, with bright green leaves and clusters of white, night-blooming flowers. Jasmine flowers are lightly scented with a sweet and slightly spicy fragrance. Jasmine is evergreen in southern climates and is not cold-hardy in northern areas, and grows best in full sun with regular watering. Jasmine leaves and flowers are used in teas, perfumes, incense and essential oils.

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About the Author

Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.