15 of the Best Scented Geranium Varieties

I have a soft spot in my heart for the underdog, and scented geraniums (also called pelargoniums) are the underdog of the geranium world.

For the most part, they aren’t as showy as their cousins, the zonal or garden geraniums. But what they lack in pizzazz, they make up for in gloriously scented foliage and flowers.

That’s not to say they aren’t pretty. Though the blooms and leaves are a bit more petite and less dramatic, they’re still beautiful flowers to have in the garden. And oh yeah, did I forget to mention that you can eat them?

A close up vertical image of pink and white scented geraniums growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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Below are some of my favorite species and cultivars, and ones that you can often find at nurseries. There are lots more, though, so keep an eye out as you build your collection!

Here’s a quick preview of all of the varieties ahead:

Let’s take a closer look!

1. Angel’s Perfume Hybrid

Doesn’t this hybrid sound heavenly? ‘Angel’s Perfume’ has medium-sized dark red flowers edged in pale pink and white.

A close up horizontal image of Pelargonium 'Angel's Perfume' flowers growing in the garden.

The leaves and flowers have a distinct lemon scent, which makes sense since this is a hybrid of P. citrosum, a botanical name given to plants with an aroma reminiscent of the citron tree.

This variety stays petite, growing to just a foot tall and wide. It does best in Zone 10, or it may be grown as an annual in other zones.

2. Apple

As you might have surmised by the common name, this type has a lovely apple scent with just a hint of citrus, which lends a subtle sour note.

A close up vertical image of the delicate white flowers of Pelargonium odoratissimum pictured on a soft focus background.

P. odoratissimum (meaning “highly scented”) does best in partial shade, and in loamy soil with medium drainage.

It has white flowers that are smaller than those of some other species, and is hardy in Zones 9 through 12. It grows to about a foot tall and two feet wide.

There are a few lovely cultivars of P. odoratissimum to keep an eye out for, including ‘Big Apple,’ ‘Green Apple,’ and ‘Fringed Apple.’

3. Apricot

With P. scabrum ‘M. Ninon,’ also known as ‘Apricot,’ you can have the best of both geranium worlds.

A close up horizontal image of bright red Pelargonium flowers growing in a sunny garden.

It has large, vibrant blossoms and large leaves like a zonal geranium, but it also has a sweet, fruity scent. The blossoms have a light pink base with splashes of vibrant magenta.

This variety grows up to two feet tall and thrives in Zones 10 and 11.

4. Attar of Roses

This cultivar of P. capitatum has a heady rose fragrance that is so pronounced, it has been used commercially to replace more expensive rose oil in perfume and soaps.

A close up vertical image of light pink Pelargonium capitatum flowers growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

This is a good one to grow if you want to dry the leaves and pink blossoms for potpourri.

It’s a perennial in Zones 10 and 11, and grows to three feet tall and a foot wide.

5. Cedar

The cedar scented geranium (P. copthorne) has larger blossoms than many other scented species, and it produces a lot of them.

A close up horizontal image of pink scented geranium flowers pictured in bright sunshine.

The pink blooms have a maroon center on each petal, and both the flowers and the leaves have a subtle cedar scent.

Hardy in Zones 10 and 11, this plant grows to a large three feet tall and two feet wide when mature.

6. Cinnamon

P. x limoneum has bright pink flowers and petite leaves, both of which smell distinctly of cinnamon.

A close up vertical image of the vibrant pink scented geraniums growing in the summer garden.
Photo via Alamy.

This is one of my favorites for using in desserts. The candied flowers are phenomenal as cake toppers, since they retain that cinnamony scent.

Read more about making your own candied flowers at home on our sister site, Foodal.

Hardy in Zones 10 and 11, it grows two feet tall and wide, and prefers full sun.

7. Citronella

Also known as the citronella, mosquito, or citrus geranium, P. x citrosum shouldn’t be confused with grassy plants in the Cymbopogon genus.

A close up horizontal image of Pelargonium citrosum growing in the garden.

This popular species doesn’t have any mosquito-banishing properties, but it does have a similar lemony scent to citronella plants.

Growing three feet tall and a foot wide, this plant is hardy down to Zone 9 and has pretty, if petite, lavender flowers.

A close up square image of the foliage of a citronella scented geranium plant pictured on a soft focus background.

Scented Geranium Citronella

Burpee sells live plants if you decide you want to add one to your space (and honestly, who wouldn’t?).

8. Dr. Livingstone Hybrid

Don’t let this plant’s other name, skeleton rose, put you off.

This plant has unique leaves that really stand out in the garden. Instead of the typical large, round leaves, P. radens ‘Dr. Livingstone’ has deeply lobed, delicately cut leaves.

A close up horizontal image of Pelargonium 'Dr. Livingstone' growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo via Alamy.

At nurseries, you may sometimes see the name of this cultivar spelled without an “e.”

Once mature, this type stands a full three feet tall and two feet wide. It is hardy in Zones 8 to 11.

The scent is extremely strong, with a sweet, citrusy aroma that is something like a rose and a lemon combined. And the blossoms are small, with a lavender hue and deep purple spots.

9. Lady Plymouth

P. graveolens variegata ‘Lady Plymouth’ has large, deeply cut leaves that are sage green on the interior, and highlighted on the outside with a creamy outline.

A close up horizontal image of Pelargonium graveolens 'Lady Plymouth' growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

The leaves and light pink flowers smell like a pungent rose.

Hardy in Zones 8 to 11, this plant reaches three feet tall and two feet wide when mature. As with most geraniums with variegated foliage, it does best in a partially sunny area.

10. Lime

Some scented geraniums have just a whisper of scent that you really have to concentrate to detect. But not P. x nervosum ‘Lime.’

Just the smallest whiff and you’ll know where this plant got its name. It has a strong, sweet citrus aroma that smells like lime zest.

It grows two feet tall and is hardy in Zones 10 and 11, but don’t let its tenderness discourage you if you live in a colder area. This plant stays compact and lends itself nicely to container growing indoors in a sunny window.

The pinkish-white flowers are insignificant. Buy this one for the highly fragrant leaves.

11. Mrs. Taylor Hybrid

There aren’t many red-flowered scented geraniums out there, but P. x ‘Mrs. Taylor’ is one of the few. With brilliant red blossoms and frilly, curled leaves, it makes a beautiful ornamental in Zones 8 to 11.

A close up horizontal image of the red flowers of Pelargonium 'Mrs Taylor' growing in a rock garden.
Photo via Alamy.

Plant it somewhere you can brush up against the leaves to get a whiff of its musky, woodsy scent. In full sun, the plant grows to two feet tall – 30 inches when in bloom – and 18 inches wide.

12. Nutmeg Hybrid

This hybrid (P. x fragrans) smells uh-may-zing! You’ll sometimes see it called ‘Cody,’ ‘Logee,’ and ‘Old Spice.’

A close up horizontal image of scented geraniums pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo via Alamy.

It has a subtle nutmeg scent to the leaves and flowers, with blooms that are small and white with a purple center.

This one grows to two feet tall when in bloom, and a foot and a half wide.

13. Peppermint

P. tomentosum, also known as the peppermint or mint geranium, is intensely aromatic. You wouldn’t be the first person to sniff it and find yourself convinced that you’ve stepped on a mint plant somewhere.

A close up horizontal image of a white and pink Pelargonium flower pictured on a soft focus background.

It has a low growing habit at about 18 inches tall and three feet wide, so it works well as a ground cover, and the large leaves make a pretty garden accent.

The white and raspberry colored flowers are fairly petite, but each plant has a lot of them.

‘Islington Peppermint’ and ‘Chocolate Peppermint’ are two cultivars worth searching out, though they can be hard to find.

14. Prince Rupert

Variegated ‘Prince Rupert’ is a cultivar of lemon geranium (P. crispum). It has variegated leaves that are bright medium green with a pale cream outline, and a strong lemon scent.

A close up horizontal image of a pink 'Prince Rupert' flower with foliage in soft focus in the background.
Photo via Alamy.

The pale pink blossoms are perfect tossed in salads, or candied to add to desserts for a sweet hint of lemon.

This guy does best in partial shade in Zones 10 and 11. The plant stays compact, growing to about 18 inches tall and wide.

15. Strawberry Hybrid

Good old ‘Countess of Scarborough,’ or ‘Lady Scarborough,’ as this hybrid P. x scarboroviae is also known, has a sweet, fruity scent that reminds me of a Strawberry Shortcake doll I had when I was a kid.

A close up horizontal image of bright red scented geranium flowers with deep red centers growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo via Alamy.

It has been around for at least 200 years and was first introduced in England prior to 1820.

The flowers are medium in size and pale pink, with a dark pink splash of color on half of the petals. The plant reaches about two feet tall and a foot wide.

It’s hardy in Zones 9 to 12 and has a somewhat trailing habit, making it ideal for rock gardens or planting along walls.

There’s a Virtually Endless Variety of Pelargoniums

As you can tell, pretty much whatever your favorite scent is, there’s going to be a pelargonium that will fit the bill. When you’re not giving your nose a treat, these plants are a feast for the eyes, as well.

A close up horizontal image of pink and white scented geraniums (Pelargonium) growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

With species that have deeply-lobed or colorful foliage, or those that have blossoms to rival a garden geranium, these flowers have so much to offer.

If you want to know more about growing these beauts, read our scented geranium guide.

And of course, we want to know which scented geranium you end up bringing home. Be sure to come back and tell us in the comments section below!

Then, if you want to round out your garden with a few more floral options, check out these guides next:

Photo of author
Kristine Lofgren is a writer, photographer, reader, and gardening lover from outside Portland, Oregon. She was raised in the Utah desert, and made her way to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs in 2018. Her passion is focused these days on growing ornamental edibles, and foraging for food in the urban and suburban landscape.

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Ghasem (@guest_16560)
2 years ago

Hi Kristine,
Do you sell the seeds of these Geranium varieties?

marilyn (@guest_25949)
1 year ago

Hi Kristine, They are beautiful, and smell gorgeous. I’ve just bought a Citronella one. How often do you feed them? Cheers and Thank you, Marilyn

marilyn (@guest_26087)
1 year ago

Hi Kristine, I have about 9 different scented leaf pelargoniums, while sorting out my green house I came across one that had lost it’s name tag! It has very small (big as thumb nail) leaves that are the shape of Prince of Orange , with a cream edge. It has a very faint smell of lavender or cinnamon, I guess I’ll have to wait until it flowers or please could you help? Cheers and Thankyou, Marilyn.

Wendy (@guest_29645)
10 months ago

Hello, you have some lovely photos of my favorite flowers, but you are doing your readers a disservice by saying the flowers have a scent on, what are commonly known as, scented-leaved geraniums. It is only the leaves that are scented, as “they have glands at the base of their leaf hairs where the scented oil is formed. Crushing the leaves—or in some cases merely touching them—releases the oil and the scent.” If you think you are smelling a fragrance from the flowers, just know it is the leaves you are actually smelling. So, when you posted my absolute favorite,… Read more »