Perfumed Plants for Winter Garden – If you are looking for a temporary plant to brighten your winter balcony or garden bed then think of stock with its interesting clove-like perfume and soft spires of flowers that can also be cut for indoor decoration. Probably the best approach to growing this annual species is to purchase punnets of seedlings from your local garden centre when they become available in early winter.
The delicate perfumes of daphne (Daphne odora), luculia (Luculia gratissima), wintersweet (Chimonanthuas praecox) are winter wonders to die for. They can all be temperamental plants that are best grown in large containers to give the excellent drainage they require to thrive. Trim each species in spring after they have finished flowering to keep them vigorous and bushy.
Daphne odora is a favourite winter flowering fragrant shrub. There are 50 different species of daphne throughout the world – some are deciduous and others are evergreen. Daphne species vary in habit – some are erect, while others are rounded or even spreading. The showy rounded heads of the small flowers open from mid-winter to late spring, depending on the species, and they can be in delicate shades of white, cream, yellow or pink. Daphne need little in the way of pruning, they are slow growing, and only require any damaged stems removed, or light shaping if required. Daphne do not like to be overwatered or under watered, and we find fertilising with a liquid seaweed solution and topdressing with well rotted compost and cow manure seems to be all that they need.
Luculia is a pretty pink flowering shrub that blooms in winter, and is hence deserving of garden space. Luculia is evergreen shrub of elliptical, deep-green and prominently veined leaves. In winter/early spring it produces gorgeously scented tubular, pale, pink flower heads to a height and spread of 2 metres. It likes moist, rich soil but, by the same token, needs good drainage. Luculia is a bit difficult to grow in garden in garden as it thrives in a very limited spectrum of day and night temperature (between 28 to 80°F). It also requires long exposure to indirect sunlight, higher level of moisture and well-drained soil.
Wintersweet is a deciduous shrub (or sometimes with persistent leaves), up to 3 m high and wide (up to 13 m tall in the wild), with rough, opposite, dark green leaves and small, solitary, highly scented, yellowish flowers borne on short stalks in winter and spring before the leaves appear. The rather insignificant, creamy-yellow, waxy flowers are borne on bare stems from about December to March, with the leaves appearing later. Owing to its sweetly fragrant flowers, wintersweet is one of the most popularly planted ornamentals in temperate China, and is widely cultivated in temperate areas elsewhere. The flowers are used as a folk medicine in China.