Top 25 fragrant perennials for lahore

Today, I will share with you top 25 fragrant perennials for lahore. These plants can be grown in climates similar to Lahore that is subtropical semi arid climate. The list is in no particular order but i have included those plants whose fragrance i have personally experienced. Images not watermarked with my name or website are taken from internet mostly from Wikipedia.

25-Ixora Parviflora
Type: Shrub
Local name: Ixora
Flower months: Warm months
Winter dormancy: deciduous or evergreen depending on variety and plant age.

There are mainly two types of Ixora available. One is thailand varieties which come in various colors including white, pink, red and yellow and these are winter sensitive varieties. They are not fragrant. The botanic name is ixora chinensis. The other one is local desi variety which is in white colors. This one is very fragrant and attracts lot of wild life. It becomes a large tree. Botanic name is Ixora parviflora. Below picture is taken from a mature specimen blooming in Lawrence gardens lahore in front of the its main library. Note that ixora requires acidic soil and suffers from chlorosis (yellowing of leaves). So give it chelated iron and acidic soil.
Ixora Paniculata

24-Passiflora (Passion flower)
Type: climber
Local name: Ghari phool, Passion flower
Flower months: Warm months
Winter dormancy: Mostly evergreen, may shed some leaves in winter. The red one needs more protection in winter.

Passiflora is a climber with one of the most beautiful flowers in the world. It comes in many colors including various shades of blue, purple, white, pink, red etc. Some varieties are native to Pakistan. Not all varieties are fragrant. The most fragrant in my experience is called “Incense”, its other name is “Sensation”. Both of these are of same parentage but breeder is different. It flowers off and on from March to November in Lahore. It is a bit invasive and becomes woody. Below picture of Passiflora Incense is taken from my terrace garden.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-r_z-kd_LFIw/Uhxf66WuTfI/AAAAAAAAH6M/hrx9W2ax4S0/s800-Ic42/P1040293.JPG

23- Gardenia
Type: Shrub / Tree
Local name: Gardeniar
Flower months: Warm months
Winter dormancy: Mostly evergreen

Gardenia needs acidic soil and specific day/night temperature to flower. It is shallow rooted shrub and some varieties form tree. It grows well in semi shade in hot climates like Lahore. New varieties give flowers off and on whole summer while old varieties flower in spring (and sometimes in autumn) only. Flower shape varies from single to semi double to full double. Most common in gardenia jasminoides also called gardenia augusta. Latest trend in Gardenia is gardenias grafted onto rootstock of Gardenia thunbergia. Find below a picture of Gardenia Taitensis “Heaven’s scent” from my container garden.
gardenia plant

22-Quisqualis indica (Rangoon Creeper)
Type: Climber
Local name: Jhumka bail
Flower months: All year except winter months
Winter dormancy: Sheds leaves in winter

Probably the best climber for beginner. Flowers many times a year and fragrance is wonderful. It comes in single petal and a double petal version too. There is an imported shrub version with darker flowers but that is not as tough as the original one. Note that it is a wood vine and it gets too big so keep that in mind if planting in a small soil bed.rangoon creeper

21-Plumeria (Frangipani)
Type: shrub / tree
Local name: Gul-e-Cheen
Flower months: Summer / Fall
Winter dormancy: Sheds leaves in winter

There are many varieties and colors of plumeria rubra and not all of them are equally fragrant. Plumeria rubra and obtusa are mostly fragrant. Some are extremely fragrant some are not. The fragrance is unique to each variety. Most varieties can be grown in pot too. It is propagated easily by cutting. Many grafted varieties are available too. Some famous varieties include “Penang Peach” and “Singapore White”. It is a plant of tropics hence grown in Singapore and Thailand widely. It needs protection from direct sun in hot climates unless the plant is well established in soil bed. It is very drought tolerant plant.Plumeria

20-Cestrum Nocturnum
Type: shrub
Local name: Raat Ki Raani
Flower months: Summer / Fall
Winter dormancy: Evergreen in winter

It is a famous plant with very intense fragrance. The fragrance is produced in night only. Can be grown in pots too. There is a day version as well called the “Din Ka Raja” which cestrum diurnum which emits chocolate fragrance in day time.
night blooming jasmine

19-Jasmine Sambac
Type: shrub / climber
Local name: Motia
Flower months: Summer / Fall
Winter dormancy: Evergreen but dormant in winter

There are many varieties and colors of Jasmine sambac and some of the best include “maid of orleans”, “grand duke of tuscany”, “belle of india” etc. Almost all are fragrant. You can form it a climber or a shrub. It is a warm climate plant and does not like long periods of cold. It thrives in warm to hot weather. It also grows well in partial shade specially in afternoon in summer. It likes soil to be on the moist side but not wet. Good drainage is must. Give it a good pruning in winter and fertilize well in summer when it is growing actively. Also check tips to make your motia plant bloom more.

Jasmine Sambac motia

18-Jasmine Spp.
Type: Climber
Local name: Chambeli
Flower months: Spring/ Summer/ Winter
Winter dormancy: Depends on variety

There are many varieties and colors of Jasmine climber. The national flower of Pakistan is Jasminmum officianale also called as Poet’s Jasmine. It is little different than Jasminum grandiflorum. There are at least 10 fragrant varieties of Jasmine climber which i know of, and at least 5 of them are easily available here at least in Lahore, Pakistan. Those which i tried and grow well here include Jasmine officinale (common chambeli), Jasminum grandiflorum, Jasminum Azoricum (Joohi), Jasmimum nitidium, Jasminum plyanthum (Winter pink jasmine). All of these are available locally with some effort.
Jasmine polyanthum

17-Citrus
Type: Tree / Shrub
Local name: Malta / Kinnu / Leemu
Flower months: Spring/ Summer
Winter dormancy: Mostly evergreen

Although citrus plant is grown mostly for fruit either eatable fruit or ornamental fruit, but the fragrance of some citrus varieties is so magnificent in terms of fragrant flowers that it is hard to resist these flowers. Almost all citrus bear fragrant flower which attract bess and butterflies but the most fragrant i came across is called “Tangri malta” and “Chinese naranji”.
Citrus flowers

16-Magnolia
Type: Tree / Shrub
Local name: Magnolia
Flower months: Spring/ Summer / Fall
Winter dormancy: Some are evergreen and some are deciduous in winter

Magnolias are mostly tree and some form small and medium shrubs. Generally speaking, magnolia does not like temperature extremes. It likes the temperature to be mild, neither too cold, nor too hot. But mostly it thrives in warm temperature. Magnolias are either deciduous (Stellata,soulangeana etc) or evergreen like grandiflora, alba, champaca, figo etc. In cold areas, champaca or grandiflora might shed leaves in winter but they are flower in warm months. Deciduous varieties give flowers in winter or spring before leaves emerge. Magnolias do not like direct strong sun so they are grown mostly in semi shade. They specially hate the afternoon sun in Lahore where summer temperature remains above 100 F for few months. They like grow even in bright shade as well but not in total shade. They are good container plants because they have shallow roots and they are slo growing so can be kept in pots for many many years. In my experience, evergreen varieties do very well in hot climates. I have been growing champaca, alba, figo successfully some some time now. I also got some deciduous ones like stellata and soulangeana recently and hope they will do well here too.

Magnolia Figo
Magnolia Figo

15- Aloysia virgata
Type: Shrub
Local name: White buddleia
Flower months: Summer / Fall
Winter dormancy: Evergreen

This is a bit uncommon plant here but still available at some nurseries. It is from verbena family so grows well in warm and hot climates. Aloysia virgata is a perennial and bears very fragrant flowers in almost whole year except winter months. The name depicts that the fragrance is of almond. The only drawback of this shrub is its shape, you have to train it else it will get ugly looking. Disease and pest free plant. You should also try its relative plant called “Sweet lemon verbena” which i am yet to find here.
Sweet almond verbena

14- Roses
Type: Shrub / Climber
Local name: Ghulab
Flower months: Whole year depending on plant characteristic
Winter dormancy: Evergreen

There are lot of varieties of roses which not only grow very well in our hot climate but also bear very fragrant flowers. Some of the flowers are so fragrant that they fill your whole garden with the fragrance. David Austin varieties are particularly famous for roses. Some of the best fragrant roses which i grew include “Sharifa Asma”, “princess alexandra kent”, “Fragrant Plum” etc. Although roses give flowers off and on whole Year in Lahore but they give two main flushes of flower that is in Spring and again in Fall. Roses are best grown in ground or as last resort in large containers. They will surely flower in small pot too but not for long. You should also read my post on Tips on growing roses. find below a picture of my Sharifa Asma plant flowering on my rooftop in a large container. This is a david austin rose.
Asma Sharifa Rose

13- ARTABOTRYS
Type: Shrub / Climber
Local name: Atro Batro
Flower months: Warm months
Winter dormancy: Evergreen

ARTABOTRYS has many varieties but there are two common varieties available here. One is the tree form which bears less flowers, flower late in the ago. The climber form is the real deal, it gives flower when young and bear lots of flowers. Flowers give fragrance only in evening and fragrance is emitted only only flower color turns yellow. When it is still green in start, it will bear no fragrance. Fragrance is very strong and fills the whole area. Remember, the climber one is not really a climber, it is shrub and spreads may feet around 5- 10 feet spread easily so plant it accordingly. It is not a container plant. It grows little slowly. Here is the picture of my ARTABOTRYS climber which i grew in a large pot for some time.
Ylang Ylang vine

12- Wisteria
Type: Climber
Local name: Wisteria
Flower months: Mostly Spring
Winter dormancy: Deciduous mostly

Wisteria is from Pea family, it is a legume so grows well in our hot climate. Being legume means it is natural nitrogen fixer so give it fertilizer which is low in nitrogen. There are two common varieties of wisteria, the chinese wisteria and japanese wisteria. Difference is mainly in their blooming time. Seed grown wisteria takes long time to flower so it is preferred to buy either grafted plant or the one prepared from layering. The blue one is most common and also most fragrant. Most but not all wisterias are fragrant. Many colors available but locally only few are available. Recently some vendors imported new varieties from abroad and sell locally at sky high prices. Wisteria needs ground and not a pot to establish. It is very fast growing vine and needs cruel pruning to flower. Here is the picture of a wisteria grown in lahore at one of our friend’s house:
Wisteria

11- Trachelospermum jasminoides
Type: Climber
Local name: Star Jasmine
Flower months: Spring
Winter dormancy: Evergreen

It is not a true jasmine, not from jasminum family but commonly called star jasmine due to its star shaped fragrant flowers. It comes in forms mostly. The normal green leaves and the variegated leaves variety. It flowers in spring and flowers are small and very fragrant. Plant it in soil bed to see its true beauty. The foliage is also very pretty even without flowers. Recently there are many cultivars produced including one with peppermint fragrance and one with mild pink flowers. Both are not available locally. It can be grown in partial shade too.
Star Jasmine

10- Stephanotis floribunda
Type: Climber
Local name: Stephanotis
Flower months: Summer /Fall
Winter dormancy: Evergreen in warm climates

Stephanotis is not a common vine. It appears in nurseries off and one and bit costly. Still, it grows good in warm climates and grows fairly well in Lahore too. It needs some humidity and moisture to perform well. It is also a bit slow to establish. It would need protection from afternoon sun in Lahore. A large specimen had been growing in Lawrence gardens Lahore (Seems the plant is gone now). Here is the picture i took some while ago.
Madagascar Jasmine

9- Brunfelsia grandiflora
Type: Shrub
Local name: Francisea
Flower months: Spring
Winter dormancy: Evergreen in warm climates

There are many fragrant varieties of Brunfelsia but most common is Brunfelsia grandiflora. It is called Francisea and also goes by the common name Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow due to colors of its flowers which change after a day. Its flowers are deliciously fragrant. It grows in container too but true potential can be found when planted in soil. It is mostly disease and pest free. It requires afternoon shade in summer until plant is well established. Here is a picture from one our friend’s garden in Sheikhupura.
Lady of the night

8- Buddleja
Type: Shrub
Local name: Buddlia
Flower months: Spring / Summer
Winter dormancy: Evergreen

There are two main varieties of buddleia. One is buddleia asiatica which blooms in winter /spring and emits honey fragrance. While other one is buddleia davidii which blooms in whole year off and on. There are may cultivars of buddleia davidii produced including some dwarf form. This plant needs care in monsoon because it is susceptible to root fungus and rotting. It also attracts some pests but generally manageable with little spray. Not all varieties are fragrant but the most cultivars of buddleia davidii are fragrant. This plant needs some care to grow well in Lahore. Many colors are available locally now. Here is the picture of dwarf blue form growing in my soil bed.
Buddleia blue dwarf

7- Polianthes tuberosa
Type: Bulb
Local name: Tube Rose
Flower months: Late Summer
Winter dormancy: dormant in winter

Tuberose is probably the most fragrant bulbous plant. The single white flowers are too fragrant and fragrance is very sweet too. It thrives in warm climate. It is a permanent plant in warm climates like mine and if after flowering, it can be kept in soil in winter. In spring, it re-sprouts it leaves. It gives lots of offsets which can separated and planted. Although there is a double form available to but that is not as fragrant as the single one. Recently pink color double form called “Pink Sapphire” is also developed but mine is yet to flower so not sure how fragrant that is. It is very famous as a cut flower and grows well in pots too. Very carefree plant and highly recommended for beginners.
Tuberose

6- Datura / Brugmansia
Type: Shrub / Tree
Local name: Brugmansia / Dature
Flower months: Summer
Winter dormancy: Depends on variety but mostly dormant in winter months

Datura and brugmansia are from same family and the difference is that brugmansia flowers are hanging downwards while datura flowers are erect. White datura is naturalized in Lahore and other warm climates. There are many colors of dature including purple, yellow, blue in double and even triple forms. Similarly brugmansia also comes in many colors in including yellow, pink etc. In Lahore, brugmansia is difficult to grow as compared to datura. It attracts lot of pests specially mealy bug in Lahore. It also suffers from fungus diseases related to roots in monsoon. Its yellow form is very common and grows very well specially in Islamabad. It can be grown in container too. Most daturas and brugmansia are fragrant.
Note that both datura and brugmansia and highly toxic plants so think well before planting.
Brugmansia

5- Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
Type: Shrub / Tree
Local name: Har Singhar
Flower months: Summer
Winter dormancy: Young plants shed leaves in winter

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is a common plant in warm climates and also known by the name “Night blooming jasmine” because its flowers open at night and usually fall by the morning. It grows very well in Lahore and similar climates. Below is a picture i took from a large specimen in Jillani Park Lahore.
Night jasmine

4- Alstonia
Type: Tree
Local name: Alstonia
Flower months: Winter
Winter dormancy: Evergreen

Alstonia is a tree but its flowers are so fragrant that one tree is enough to have its surrounding area filled with fragrance. It is now a common sight in Lahore to see this tree. Flowers itself are not beautiful but fragrance is astonishing. Flowers also attract lots of bees and butterflies. Here is a picture i took in Bahria town few years back.
Alstonia

3- Phaseolus caracalla
Type: Climber
Local name: Snail Vine
Flower months: Late Summer
Winter dormancy: Evergreen but might shed some leaves in cold areas

Again another plant from the pea family. Phaseolus caracalla is also not a common plant in lahore. But it is so easy growing and flowers are only fragrant but wonderfully beautiful and unique too. The name snail vine comes from the shape of flowers like a snail. It is easily propagated by cuttings. It is easy to grow from seed too, and gives flowers first year after seed sowing. Seed is not available locally but can be purchased from international vendors. Not that there is a blue color variety of this plant too but that is not fragrant. Here is a picture from my garden a while ago.
Snail Vine

2- Hedychium Coronarium
Type: Bulbous plant
Local name: Hedychium
Flower months: Late Summer
Winter dormancy: dormant in winter

Hedychium is also also called butterfly ginger. It is from ginger family and its rhizomes smell of ginger too. It is easily propagated by rhizomes which gives offsets easily. It is not a common plant in Lahore but easily available in other cities including Islamabad. There are few plants grown in Jillani Park Lahore but it is not a common plant to see. It likes very moist soil and may grow in soils which are constantly moist. It comes in many colors including white, pink and others. White color variety is called white butterfly ginger. Here is a picture i took few years back in Jillani Park Lahore.
White butterfly ginger

1- Murraya paniculata
Type: Shrub / Tree
Local name: Marwa
Flower months: Warm months
Winter dormancy: Evergreen

Murraya is king of fragrant flowers. It grows in semi shade too. There are two common forms available. One is called the local or desi marwa which is a tree form and bears large flowers. The other is chinese form which is a bit dwarf and bears flowers early though flowers are bit smaller than the tree form. You will see flowers on this plant whole year off and on. It attracts lots of bees and butterflies. It has probably the sweetest and strongest fragrance of all the fragrant plants in the world. It is a good container plant too. Highly recommended for beginners. It is also grown from seed. Here is a picture from my terrace garden.
Murraya paniculata

There are many other fragrant plants which could not be covered in this post. Some of them are Beaumontia grandiflora (Climber), Crinum lily (Bulb), Moon flower vine (Climber), Evening Primrose (Shrub), Lawsonia (Mehndi plant), Ifafa lily (bulb), Cassia nodosa(Tree), Bushman’s poison (Shrub), Echinacea white Swan, Mirabilis (gul-e-abbas) etc but the list will keep growing and i will write another exclusive post on fragrant plants very soon. Keep following.

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16 Responses

  1. Aliya8710 says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you could help me, I used to live in Karachi and Islamabad when I was young (I now live in the UK) and I remember buying necklaces made of the sweetest smelling white flower. The smell is beautiful, and very fragrant. The flower is obviously quite common, and I also remember it growing in out garden.
    I was wondering whether you knew what flower this is likely to be? I recognise it as Jasmine from your photos and descriptions but I’m not sure what type?
    Thanks you in advance

  2. The flower you are referring to is Jasmine sambac called motia in urdu, necklaces very common of it.
    There is another jasmine called Jasminum officinale (chambeli) whose necklaces were common in gone days. And thanks for visiting/commenting on my blog.

  3. Autumn Belle says:

    These are all my fave flowers for fragrance. I am very attracted to the white ixora as I did’nt know there are scented ixoras. Now, I’m planting more scented flowers to my garden too.

  4. soniafarooq says:

    Im so glad to finally see a blog which covers gardening tips directly relevant to our climate and city!!you have such a nice blog-ill definitely be following it!ive recently started gardening myself and get soo confused when i end up at nurseries here in lahore, so im going on a trial and error basis right now. your blog will surely help.

  5. Anonymous says:

    hi

    im looking for a pernnial creeper for my 35ft high wall (abt 50 ft wide) preferrably with sweet smelling flowers and one which needs little support on the wall since its quite high.

    il appreciate ur advice. also pls let me know if u know any decent gardner looking for a job in lahore.

    thanks!

  6. Anonymous says:

    where can buy flowering wisteria. mine has not bloomed after 10 years.
    and flowering hydrengea

  7. Tashfeen says:

    Today i purchased Jhumka vine i want to know about this vine because i am new person on all these botanic things. please tell can i grow my jhumka vine in water tub which is made of plastic or it is necessary to grow into mud pot.what do u suggest.and today i visited lots of necessaries and they don’t know the name except few and they have no catalog where i may suggest after seeing the pic of any flower creeper or tree.

  8. Tashfeen, it is a very common vine in lahore. Fragrant flower year round. Keep pruning it. I would suggest a 14 inches clay pot minimum. Don’t grow in water tub as this vine needs depth rather than width. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  9. Pervez Khan says:

    I just discovered this site. THANKS. I bought this piece of land in zone 4 of islamabad. The lay of the land is very interesting. Some plain,50 % flat, steep hillside , a saddle and a deep depression. The flora is diverse within this little 20 kanals because of the varying microclimates. I planted some flowering bushes and CHeer but due to my absence abroad and a careless absetee Mali not many survived. I do NOT want o grow an orchard but a self sustaining garden .
    Wouls you like to suggest plants, vines, bushes, fruit trees and grasses that I might plant.
    The only blooming WESTERIA , that I have seen in Pakistan is in Abbotabad. Do you think it will bloom in Islamabab?
    thanks for a great site.
    pervezak52@gmail.com.

  10. Sameer Lateef says:

    You missed # 24 😛

  11. Shahid Razzaq says:

    Need your experienced advise. Am planning flower beds and need a list of perinnials that will survive in Lahore. Would be a great help. JazakAllah
    Shahid Razzaq

  12. ABDULLAH says:

    I love marva and jasmine.

  13. A Haseeb says:

    Very nice blog. Very informative. Problem is that most of nurseries don’t keep or know them. Anyway very informative.

    • khabbab says:

      Well, some items are rare and available at nurseries off and on and you have to visit regularly to catch these but most of the stuff is there, they do not know the names of course, but you can show the picture of flower to them and they will understand.

  14. Farid says:

    I am so excited to try few of these plants. I intend to shift to Lahore in 2 months and was wondering about some advice on plants. And hence I stumbled upon this site. Will share my experiences and will definitely seek advice.

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