It may be time to switch your scented candles for an eco-friendly alternative in the shape of a fragrant houseplant, many of which boast an array of hidden health benefits.
Many scented candles and air fresheners can contain a variety of toxins, so swapping them for scented houseplants – including lavender and mint – is a natural, eco-friendly way to add a zing of freshness to your home.
On top of this, these plants help to prevent dry skin, improve our moods, lower the effect of air pollution and help to encourage a good night’s sleep. As you can see, there are a number of reasons to invest in fragrant houseplants, so we’ve included a few of our favourites below…
Gardenia is an ingredient found in an array of prevalent perfumes. It boasts a strong sweet smell that promises to keep households smelling fresh for many months.
With creamy white flowers and leathery dark green leaves, gardenia is not always straightforward to grow, but its fragrance certainly rewards the additional effort that is needed. It’s native to tropical and subtropical parts of Africa, Australasia, and southern Asia, so it’s used to direct sunlight and a lot of water.
To ensure your plant stays healthy, it’s wise to expose gardenia to bouts of regular bright light and to water it once every week – for best-growing conditions, the soil should be consistently damp but never soggy.
With its unique soothing and calming fragrance, lavender is a popular option when it comes to scented houseplants. It’s celebrated for its purple flower tips and strong scent. To ensure this plant thrives indoors, place it on a window sill so that it is exposed to high levels of sunlight.
When growing lavender inside, opt for the smaller varieties too, as these are easier to grow in pots. English lavender is a great option as it offers a stronger scent than French lavender. The soil you use should be well aerated to encourage lots of airflows.
To help with this, place an inch of limestone gravel in the base of the pot and basic potting mix on top. You should water only when dry to the touch. A top tip when it comes to enjoying your lavender plant is to cut a handful of sprigs and bind them together using string or a ribbon.
Allow them to dry out thoroughly by hanging them upside down for around three to four weeks. Once dry, fashion your own lavender sachets to scent drawers.
Citrus plants boast a slightly sweeter smell, comprising hints of grapefruit, lemon, and orange. These plants can necessitate a higher level of care, which makes them a popular option for those who are keen gardeners. When growing citrus plants indoors, it’s important to allow them at least eight hours of sunlight per day.
They also require watering once every week. Citrus plants also enjoy humidity. A quick, hassle-free way to ensure they get this is to place the plant pot over a layer of small pebbles or gravel. When you water the plant, the gravel will collect the drained water, providing the plant with airflow and humidity.
With popular fragrances including strawberry, apple, and lemon, scented geranium is a little like a natural air fragrance. There is an abundance of species to choose from, all boasting their own unique fragrances, meaning there is something to suit every taste.
As members of the pelargonium genus, scented geranium feature textured leaves and brightly coloured flowers, making them a real feast for the senses.
One of the best alternatives to an air freshener is the mint plant. Two of the most prevalent scents include spearmint and peppermint, which both boast delicate scents. It’s important to ensure this greenery is cared for correctly in order for it to thrive, which can mean a significant amount of plant maintenance – including watering three to four times per week.
Scented pelargoniums boast extremely fragrant leaves and come in a wide range of different colours. Although often grown in the garden, they make perfect house plants. To create a natural air freshener in any room in the household, simply remove a few of the leaves from the plant and place them in a bowl of water.
That way you could enjoy an apple, lemon, orange, rose, and balsam scents, as well eucalyptus and peppermint throughout your home, depending on the variant you pick.
Pansy Orchid Miltonia
These orchids offer sweet, scented blooms that last for an impressive six weeks. They require a humid environment in order to flourish, at temperatures of no less than 15°C (c. 59F). To encourage growth, water every week by sitting the plant’s pot in a tray of water for up to 15 minutes, allowing it to drain thoroughly before placing it back in its home.
The blooms of the Stephanotis floribunda emit a jasmine-like scent, which lasts for up to several weeks. The rich, evergreen leaves make this twining climber a popular option for those wishing to fill a larger area in the home. It can also be trained to grow up a bamboo frame or obelisk.
This species necessitates a humid environment at a temperature of around 15°C (c. 59F).
Chinese Jasmine is a popular household plant and another climber. It’s a good option for larger, well-lit bathrooms and conservatories. It has extremely perfumed cloud-like blooms which make a sweet-smelling natural air freshener. For best results, train it to grow up bamboo or indoor trellis.
This is a popular option for any time of the year if you long to fill rooms with a gorgeous fragrance. These plants come from the daffodil family and look a little similar, yet are more delicate in style.
They don’t require compost and can be planted in gravel instead, provided that you choose a container without drainage holes. For best results, nestle the bulbs in and pack them tightly together ensuring the top of each bulb sits slightly above the pot’s rim.
Finish by adding additional gravel and water, stopping below the base of the bulb. It’s important to place the container in a dry, cool, and dark location for about eight weeks.
Once the buds appear, move your paper-white Narcissi to a sunnier location as this will encourage the bulbs to bloom.
Sources: countryliving.com, gardenersworld.com, rhs.org.uk