Fragrant plants

White Fragrant Plants: the Houseplants for March

Growing and blooming aromatherapy in your home  

White Fragrant Plants are the Houseplants of the month for March. Chic and elegant with white flowers that are pure ‘haute florale’ but also have their wilder side. Let yourself be seduced by these perfume plants.


Jasmine is an elegant climber with attractive dark green leaves and beautifully scented white star-shaped flowers. The long vines can be trained around an arch, but it’s also fun to allow it some freedom and let it grow over a cupboard or around a window. It smoothly curls around anything, whether it’s a light cord, or a standing lamp. When buying, check that a couple of buds have already opened – that offers the greatest likelihood that Jasmine will flower profusely.


The name is derived from the Persian word ‘yasmin’, which means ‘gift from God’. In the symbolism of flowers Jasmine represents purity, simplicity, modesty and strength. The plant is the national flower of the Philippines and has an international reputation with many nicknames such as Maid of Orleans, Belle of India, and Duce di Toscane. The best-known link is with Damascus, where every house contained a Jasmine plant in more peaceful times. The scent of the flowers are said to be even stronger during a waning moon - how very fairytale-esque! According to research by the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, the scent of Jasmine is very calming and relaxing, which makes Jasmine an ideal plant for the bedroom.


This is one of the few houseplants with a beautiful scent, and if you give it the freedom, it will merrily meander towards you!stflorib2p12boog78t

Stephanotis's biggest attraction is its unusual flowers: cylindrical, pure white and a bit waxy, they grow in clusters and open in a star shape. Once open, they smell wonderful and coordinate beautifully with the shiny dark green leaves. The plant is usually trained around an arch or other shape, but in the wild it’s a flowering vine. That makes Stephanotis a houseplant that you can stand, hang, climb and meander.


In the Victorian language of flowers, Stephanotis is the symbol of marital happiness, hence the nickname ‘wedding flower’. In modern flower symbolism Stephanotis represents ‘good fortune’ and ‘the longing to travel’. The name is derived from Greek: ‘stephanos' means crown and 'otos' means ear: the pistils in the flowers look a bit like tiny ears. Stephanotis is one of the most luxuriantly fragrant flowers in the world, hence its nickname of 'Fleur Parfum'. 


Stephanotis is native to Madagascar, but some of the 15 or so species also grow in China, Japan and Cuba. In the wild the vines can reach a length of up to 5 metres. They stay somewhat shorter indoors, and you can decide for yourself what the houseplant will look like by training the tendrils along the form of your choice. However, allowing the vines to find their own way is also attractive. Stephanotis will then merrily wrap itself around a light fitting, across the windowsill or up a standing lamp.


Stylish diva that offers an inexhaustible display of flowers

The Gardenia has shiny dark green leaves with beautiful veins and fabulous voluptuous creamy white flowers. They’re shaped like a wild rose and have a wonderful fragrance that has a powerfully invigorating effect. If looked after properly, a Gardenia can give you over a hundred flowers as a thank you. The plant has an aristocratic air and evokes elegant parties and vintage chic. In the home it really is a flowering jewel; the flowers are so distinctive and continually fascinating. 


gajasmin2p13homeOn some Polynesian islands, the Gardenia is used to represent your relationship status. If the flower is worn behind the right ear, the person is available, whilst behind the left ear, it means they’re taken. In the West the flower used to be popular as a buttonhole, thanks to Edith Wharton who suggested in The Age of Innocence that upper-class New Yorkers wore the flower in that way. In the symbolism of flowers, the Gardenia represents romance and secret love. It’s a flower that speaks to the imagination: one of Paul Gauguin’s most famous paintings is 'Woman with a Gardenia'. It was also the favourite flower of jazz singer Billie Holiday, who usually wore one or more flowers in her hair. Psychiatrist Sigmund Freud was also partial to them. This timeless beauty is popular all over the world, and the Gardenia is even the national flower of Pakistan.  


In the wild, Gardenias grow well in Vietnam, southern China, Taiwan, Japan and India, where they are evergreen shrubs that can reach a height of 15 metres. There are 142 native species, and as far as we know the plant was first recorded in the 10th century by the Chinese painter Xu Xi. The Gardenia is named after the American doctor and botanist Alexander Garden, who discovered the plant in the 18th century. The Gardenia then rapidly became a serious status symbol, and has remained so ever since

Caring for JASMINE
  • Give your Jasmine a light spot that is not too sunny.
  • The flowering plant grows quickly and prefers slightly damp soil, but cannot cope with standing water.
  • Some plant food once a fortnight will help Jasmine to keep up its strength for flowering and growing.
  • Cut back after flowering, repot and leave to rest at room temperature.
Caring for Stephanotis  
  • Stephanotis prefers a light and unchanging position, but not in full sunlight or in a draught.
  • The plant needs enough water throughout flowering, so keep the soil damp, but avoid standing water. 
  • Don’t turn the plant once buds have appeared in order to prevent them from dropping off.
  • Give the plant some plant food once a month during flowering.
  • After flowering the plant will hibernate. Leave the wilting tendrils in place and give the plant less water. Prune Stephanotis back in early spring in order to encourage fresh flowering.
Caring for Gardenias  
  • Gardenias prefer a light position, but ideally out of direct sunlight.
  • The plant needs a lot of water. Keep the soil damp, but avoid standing water.
  • The green leaves like to be misted with a plant spray.
  • Exhausted flowers can be removed, and the plant will then carry on flowering.