Learn to identify, propagate, grow and use plants with fragrant foliage or flowers - grow them in a garden, or harvest for making crafts, extracting oils, etc.

Course Code: BHT229
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to identify, grow, and use different types of scented plants.

You will find out how to harvest and dry scented plants, and through practical assignments actually make a whole range of exciting herb crafts (e.g. pot pourri, soaps, candles). Learn also how to landscape a scented garden and expand your knowledge of dozens of Learn to identify, grow (propagation and culture), and use different types of scented plants.

Employment Opportunities:

  • Starting your own business with scented plants
  • Designing gardens with scented plants
  • Working for a company that specialises in scented plant products
  • Working in or running your own plant nursery
  • Farming plants for oil production.

Tips for Growing Scented Plants

There are many ways plants can be scented:

  • Consider what part of a plant is fragrant: scented flower, scented foliage, scented fruit, scented root, and so forth
  • Consider the type of scent: strong scent, subtle scent, sweet scent, foul scent
  • Consider how the fragrance might be used: edible herbs, plants for landscape use, for use in perfumes and cosmetics
  • Consider the intensity and whether the scent has a negative affect on some people: some fragrances cause an allergic reaction in a significant proportion of the population

Scented plants cover a wide range of species including: herbs, roses, climbers, shrubs and trees. Although most herbs are fairly hardy fast-growing plants, this is not the case for all scented plants. As is the case with most plants, their needs will vary according to the species.

For example, Lavenders are relatively tough, fast-growing, plants that will survive with minimal attention in most situations. However, care and attention to watering, feeding and pruning will give you far better results.

Given the broad group of plant families to which different scented plants can belong, it is not surprising that scented species could:

  • Be frost tender or frost tolerant
  • Prefer moist fertile soils or dry soils with minimal fertiliser
  • Tolerate windy exposed sites or thrive in a sheltered position
  • Be hardy or tender
  • Prefer hot conditions or prefer cool conditions
  • Be deciduous or evergreen
  • Be perennial, biennial, annual
  • Prefer acid soils or prefer alkaline soils or tolerate a wide pH range.

In order to have healthy, attractive scented plants it is essential to research and study the cultural requirements of each species.

It is important to understand all of the characteristics of a plant before choosing to grow it. Scented plants can be a major feature in a garden if chosen well; but if inappropriate choices are made they can be a significant problem for the resident, visitors or even neighbours.

This course will help build your knowledge of all sorts of scented plants and give you a better capacity to choose the best scented plant for any particular location.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • How Scented plants are used
    • Types of scented plants
    • Plant Naming System and pronouncing plant names
    • Scented Plant Families
    • Resources and Networking
    • Plant reviews
  2. Culture
    • Soils
    • Soil Composition, soil types, improving soils
    • Soil Mixes, potting media and component
    • Plant Nutrients and fertilisers
    • Plant Health -identifying and controlling problems
    • Weeds and weed control
    • Watering plants
    • Planting, staking, mulching, pruning, protection from wind, salt air, etc.
    • Plant reviews
    • Propagation
    • Methods of propagating this group of plants; creating a scented garden; growing in pots, inside, or in the open ground.
    • Plant reviews
  3. Crafts from Scented Plants and Herbs
    • Herbs for cooking
    • Howe to dry herbs
    • Pot pourri, scented candles, tussie mussies, sachets, etc.
    • Cosmetic uses -Hair rinses, baths, skin care
    • Candle Making
    • Exotic herb oils
    • Scented Plants in Pots
    • Lavender crafts
    • Rose Crafts
    • Plant reviews
  4. Harvesting and Processing
    • Harvesting hints
    • General rules for harvesting flowers
    • Storing harvested material
    • Freezing
    • Deterioration
    • Bud harvesting
    • Shelf life
    • Post harvest treatments
    • Chemical treatments
    • Harvesting and grading carnations
    • Harvesting and drying lavender
    • Harvesting Herbs
    • Harvesting leaves, roots, fruit, seed
    • Harvesting for medicinal use
    • Plant reviews
  5. Commonly Grown Varieties
    • Listing dozens of scented garden plants
    • Several plants are dealt with in detail, including: Carnations, Roses, Gardenias, Heliotropium, Murraya, Pelargonium and Daphne
    • Scented Flowers -Alstroemeria, Antihrrinum, Chrysanthemum, Freesia, Iris, Narcissus, Orchids, Matthiola,
    • Plant reviews
  6. Other Important Scented Plants
    • Lilium
    • Fragrant Australian natives
    • Boronias
    • Other Scented Plants for Temperate Areas
    • Plant reviews
  7. Commercial Applications
    • The Business of Scented Plants
    • The most commercially grown species
    • Herbal Teas
    • Production Plan
    • Making a scented plant operation
    • Standards
    • Farm Layout
    • Marketing your produce
    • How to sell
    • Creating a Scented Garden
    • Drawing a Plan
    • Garden Design
  8. Special Assignment
    • Students must complete a special assignment on one selected plant or group.


  • Know the plant naming system and the uses of scented plants.
  • Understand the cultural requirements of a range of scented plants
  • Learn how prevention is always the best cure. Try to keep the environment friendly to the helpful insects, a healthy soil structure with added compost, and maintain suitable environmental conditions for the plant. If you don't have the right plant in the right place, they tend to struggle more. Follow these simple steps when selecting a site for a plant: Heat, cold, wind, rain, frost, shade, pollution and other environmental problems can have disastrous effects on plants.
  • All plants need water to grow, and to survive. The amount of water needed however, will vary from plant .
  • Learn how composting, planting, pruning and methods of propagation can be sued to grow healthy plants
  • Know how to make a range of products and uses for scented plants.
  • How to dry herbs, make potpourri, cosmetic products -lavender crafts and rose crafts.
  • Understand harvest and post harvest techniques. If you are to reap the benefits of quality produce, crops must be handled properly during harvest and post harvest. Learn about the various methods for harvesting herbs
  • Know a range of the most commonly grown scented plants. Many scented plants are also commonly known as herbs however there are many that are not herbs but still have a wonderful scent and should be considered for inclusion in a scented garden
    • Know a range of the less commonly grown scented plants fragrant Australian natives
  • Understand commercial applications of scented plants. Many species of scented plants are grown commercially for their: Cut flowers, Oils, Foliage, Roots,Tubers. Some producers set up to specifically supply commercial growers (i.e. producers of oil or bulk flowers) with tube-stock or grow scented plants for specialist retail nurseries.
  • Learn about operation options, faming options, market research, creating a scented garden

What You Will Do

  • List sources of information for identification and use of scented plants.
  • Collect a soil sample typical of your local area; name the soil and test the drainage of the soil.
  • Buy or make up a potting mix appropriate for growing herbs in.
  • Make up a propagating mix, appropriate for striking seed or cuttings in.
  • Visit a nursery or garden growing scented plants.
  • Obtain any materials which are needed for propagating scented plants by grafting, stem cuttings, root cuttings, aerial layering and seed.
  • Harvest and dry parts from at least three different herbs.
  • Make the following scented products: pot pourri, a cosmetic product, a herb vinegar, a herb salt and one other craft product.
  • Make a bottle of either herb oil.
  • Prepare hot and cold herb teas.
  • Prepare one edible product, using a part of a scented plant for flavouring.
  • Produce one sample of a scented oil, using fresh harvested material from a scented plant.
  • Visit a general nursery. Note what herb seeds, and herb plants are commonly available.
  • Research the cultural requirements of some (or all) of the following genera: Viola, Viburnum, Lonicera, Jasminum, Daphne and Gardenia. Find information on Magnolias, Lilac,Conifers, Scented Camellias, Citrus, Convallaria (Lily of the Valley), Lilium, Hyacinthus, Forsythia and Michelia.
  • Visit a scented garden.
  • Visit and analyse the business operations of at least two herb enterprises.
  • Design a garden featuring scented plants.
  • Compare the commercial potential of different types of herb enterprises.
  • Propagate a scented plant
  • Prepare plant review sheets for scented plants.

Use Fragrance Wisely

Fragrance is for many people, one of the most enchanting characteristics of a garden. For some people though, many fragrant plants can be overpowering and may even result in an allergic reaction. Scents whether a perfume you wear, or a plant in the garden, can be over used; but when used with sensitivity in an appropriate way, a smell can add a great deal to the environment we dwell in.
Some varieties of roses, herbs and cottage plants are not strongly scented, but many are. Too much strong perfume in an enclosed area will overpower your senses; but in a wind swept open garden, even strong scents may be lost.
Some release fragrance from the flowers, others from the foliage. Some plants will smell strongly at certain times of the year, irrespective of where you plant them, while other plants need to be brushed or crushed to release the fragrant oils, and as such must be planted between stepping stones or spilling over the edges of garden beds.

You should choose carefully when deciding what scented plants to grow. Too much scent or the wrong combination of fragrance can be overpowering, or not as pleasant as it otherwise might be. Consider the time of year when a plant releases its scent. Daphne and gardenia for instance, only smell when they are in flower. Other plants are most fragrant in warmer weather. If you want fragrance all year round, you should select and plant a sequence of varieties to do just that. If you wish to grow two varieties which produce different strong scents at the same time, plant them at opposite ends of the garden so their scents don't intermingle and conflict.

What do You Know about DAPHNE
Daphne includes a whole range of different scented plants. They belong to the plant family Thymelaeaceae, and come from Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. There are around 50 species.

Appearance: Evergreen, deciduous or semi-deciduous often medium sized to dwarf shrubs, fragrant four-lobed flowers which are tubular at the base.

Culture: Prefers fertile, freely draining but moist organic soil, in sun or part shade; but will grow on chalky soils. Lightly tip prune in early summer to keep growth bushy and maintain shape; Water moderately when growing Regular mulching with well-rotted compost or manures is beneficial. Daphne plants tend to be shallow rooted, and they may need to be staked to avoid damage from wind. Avoid cultivation around the roots. Regular pruning is unnecessary, for Daphne, as most are low-growing compact shrubs. The only cutting necessary is to remove clusters of flowers, for cut flowers.

Propagation: Cuttings -hormones are often used, but in many cases are probably not essential.

Health: Most are hardy; tend to be short-lived, young shoots may get infested with aphids, cucumber mosaic virus can cause leaf distortions and stunted growth, leaf spot notably at the leaf base and on stalks may cause defoliation. Yellowing leaves may indicate an iron deficiency. This can be rectified by applications or iron sulphate (foliar spraying usually gives good results) or iron chelates.

Uses: Rockery plant, shrubberies, container plant.

D. x burkwoodi (D. caucasica x D. cneorum): A partly evergreen, compact, hybrid Daphne to 1m tall, and with broad, tapering, round-ended leaves to 2.5cm long. Flowers are white flushed with light pink, appearing in dense terminal clusters (of 6-16 flowers), surrounded by foliage, all over the bush. The variety ‘Sommerset’ is the most common cultivar.

D. cneorum (Garland Flower): From the mountain areas of Central Europe; an evergreen, low-growing shrub to 30cm tall. Terminal clusters of fragrant pink, rose-red or white flowers in spring, and sometimes autumn, on low spreading branches with narrow leaves to 1-2.5cm long; an excellent rockery plant. Cultivars include:
D. c. ‘Albo-marginata’: Has variegated leaves.
D. c. ‘Eximia’: Has large dark-pink flowers.
D. c. ‘Major’: Has larger leaves.
D. c. var. pygmaea: Is a prostrate compact form with leaves to 1cm long.
D. c. var. pygmaea ‘Alba’: Has white flowers.
D. genkwa (syn D. fortunei): From China; a deciduous, small shrub to 1m tall, with narrow leaves to 5cm long. Lilac flowers appear in early spring on the previous year’s growth, before leaves appear. Partial shade is preferred. An acid soil is important.
D. laureola (Spurge Laurel): From Europe, West Asia; a hardy, poisonous, evergreen shrub to about 1m tall, with sparingly branched stems, with lance-shaped, glossy-green leaves to about 8 - 10cm long. The fragrant flowers are yellowish-green, in racemes, and appear in early spring on the previous year’s growth. The variety philippi is a low growing/semi-prostrate shrub to about 40cm tall, with obovate leaves to 5cm long, violet coloured flowers. D. laureola has been used as a rootstock for less hardy species. It will grow successfully on calcareous soils. The fruit is black, oval, and poisonous.
D. mezereum (Mezereon): From Europe, Western Asia; a deciduous, erect, rounded shrub to about 1.5m. Leaves are usually elliptic in shape, paler beneath, and up to about 8cm long and 1cm wide. Flowers are fragrant, lilac-purple, violet-red or white in colour, and appearing in clusters along the previous year’s growth, in early spring before the leaves appear. Fruit are scarlet-red or yellow, and fleshy. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Cultivars include:
D. m. ‘Alba’: Has white flowers and yellow fruit.
D. m. ‘Grandiflora’: Has larger flowers.
D. m. ‘Rubra’: Has reddish-purple flowers.
D. x neapolitana (syn D. finoniana): Considered by some authorities to be a variety of D. collina; an easy to grow evergreen, hybrid Daphne from 0.6-1m tall, with deep, green leaves (greyish beneath) to 3.5cm long, and tapering to the stalk. The fragrant, rose-pink flowers (up to 1cm across) appear in small clusters in spring to late spring.
D. odora (syn D. indica): Winter Daphne; a very popular evergreen small shrub to 1m, from China and Japan, that is widely grown for its fragrant flowers which appear in winter.  Flowers start as pink in the bud, opening to white. Leaves are elliptic or oblong in shape, up to about 10cm long and about 2-3 cm wide. There are several commonly cultivated varieties including:
D. o. ‘Alba’: Has pure white flowers.
D. o. ‘Marginata’: Has leaves with a thin cream margin.
D. o. ‘Rubra’: Has wine-red flowers.
D. o. ‘Variegata’: Has leaves bordered with yellow, and pale pink flowers. 


  • Amateur Gardeners and Herb Enthusiasts
  • Garden Designers
  • Herb Nurserymen
  • Herb Farmers
  • Horticulturists
  • Garden Managers
  • Horticulturists
  • Plant Breeders
  • Makers of perfumes and herb crafts
  • Anyone else who works with plants


Member of the International Herb Association since 1988

UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

Our principal John Mason is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture

Accredited ACS Global Partner

Member of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association since 1993

ACS is a silver sponsor of the AIH. The principal, John Mason, is a fellow. ACS certificate students are offered a free membership for this leading professional body.Provider.

Member of the Permaculture Association

Member of Study Gold Coast

College Member of Complementary Medicine Association assessed to teach a range of areas including Counselling, Nutrition, Natural Therapies.

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (UK)

Principal John Mason is a member of Parks and Leisure Australia since 1974 and a fellow since 1998

Recognised since 1999 by IARC

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves.
In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certif

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and edito

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has

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