In the 1800’s, bouquets of fresh, fragrant flowers had a useful function in the home and as fashion accessories; they were carried or placed about the home to cover up unpleasant smells.

In the 19th century, flowers carried a message to the recipient and the scents of flowers helped to create the memory associated with each bouquet.

Today, much of the history associated with flowers and their fragrances is lost, but scents are still used for creating mood and stirring memories.

While it may not be internationally known for it’s flowers Toronto has a fairly long growing season in comparison to the rest of Canada and fresh flowers are available for almost five months of the year. For the other seven months, on-line florists like will happily deliver freshly cut flowers right to your home for your use.

Florists place fragrant blooms near the entrance of their shops to entice passersby or draw customers further inside and you can use this to create a welcoming environment in your foyer for your visitors and family.

Folks with allergies may not like a heavily scented arrangement, so it’s prudent to use heavy fragrance only when sure. Familiarize yourself with different flower fragrances so that you can order a good selection of scents, from a hint of spring to a bounty of summer perfumes.

Flower Choice

Since some flowers are strongly scented and others have a more subtle perfume, the type you use depends on the effect you wish to achieve. A bouquet intended to permeate the room would require flowers known for their heavy scents, such as rubrum lily, stock, carnation varieties, phlox, peony, or lilacs.

In most cases, it’s best to use only one fragrant variety in an arrangement so that the fragrance is a welcome detail rather than an overwhelming feature. You don’t want fragrances to fight with each other, either.

Flower scents may be light to heavy and also offer a range of “flavors.”

Here are some of the commonly available varieties and descriptions of their particular scents:

  • Bouvardia: Slightly spicy scent. Light.
  • Carnations: (Usually white, and some fancy hybrids) Spicy, sometimes strong.
  • Daffodils: Sweet, light scent.
  • Freesia: Subtle spicy, pepper scent.
  • Genista: Sweet perfume scent, reminiscent of spring flowers. Strong.
  • Lilacs: Sweet, perfume scent. Slightly strong.
  • Peonies: Sweet, almost a rose fragrance. Light.
  • Phlox: Sweet, perfume scent. Light.
  • Roses: Few hybrid roses have a scent. Strong fragrance rose varieties include some lavender roses and some varieties of yellow. Peach roses may have a light spice scent and some reds can have a sweetened tea aroma. Check with your flower shop for specific varieties that may have fragrance.
  • Rubrum lilies: Pungent sweet scent.
  • Snapdragons: Sugary candy scent. Quite light.
  • Stephanotis: Tropical, gardenia-like scent.

Other Scent Sources

You don’t always have to rely on flowers to add fragrance to a design. Various scented gift products may do the trick. Try some of these:

  • Commercially produced sachets. Search your gift or florist shop for paper or fabric sachet packets. These are usually printed with attractive graphics and are filled with a scented material (usually potpourri or wax chips). Tuck them into wrapped bouquets or on a card caddie in an arrangement.
  • Potpourri. If you have access to potpourri, you could make your own sachets to include in your flowers. Just take a square of tulle, place potpourri in the center and tie it up with a ribbon. Tie the sachet to the handle of a basket or secure it on a wood pick. You can also add some scent to a dried or permanent flower arrangement by sprinkling potpourri in the bottom of the container around the foam.
  • Fragrance sprays. Floral fragrance sprays can be applied to fresh or permanent arrangements as well. Spray fragrance on a bow or on the foliage for lasting scent.
  • Candles. Use scented candles or votive candles in fresh designs.

Eliminating Unwanted Odors

There are unfortunately some flowers and foliage that may have undesirable odors. Limonium, for example, may have a fishy or ammonia smell. This is a good use for fragrance sprays.

Cinnamon or lemon scents are most effective at masking limonium’s nasty smell.

Beyond Pretty Flowers

By adding scents to your designs, you can go beyond the merely visual feast for the eyes and offer visitors a veritable banquet for the senses. Click here if you would like see some arrangements available from a Toronto florist.

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