Most herbs, both culinary and medicinal have leaves containing aromatic oils. Many other ornamental garden plants have foliage with their own distinctive fragrance, some pleasant others not so. They all have a place in the garden, especially close to the home where the leaves can be touched, stroked or trampled to enhance their aromatic properties.  

These are just some off the most commonly grown fragrant foliage plants suitable for KwaZulu-Natal gardens.

Annuals and perennials (low growing)

Key: (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (I) = indigenous (F) = fruit (S) = seed (C) = climber (B) = bulb

Achillea millefolium (yarrow) (D)
Agastache rugosa (Korean mint) (E)
Allium sativum (garlic) (D) (B)
Allium schoenoprasum (chives) (D)
Anethum graveolens (dill) (E)
Artemisia dracunculus (French tarragon) (E)
Calendula officinalis (pot marigold) (E)
Coriandrum sativum (coriander or cilantro) (E)
Cymbopogon citratus (lemon grass) (E)
Diplotaxis erucoides (wild rocket) (E)
Eruca sativa (salad rocket or aragula) (E)
Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) (E)
Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) (E)
Mentha aquatica (garden mint) (E)
Mentha requienii (Corsican mint or mini-mint) (E) – Note: most mentha or mints have aromatic foliage
Monarda didyma (bergamot or Oswego tea) (D)
Nepeta cataria (catnip) (E)
Nepeta mussini (catmint) (E)
Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil) (E) – Note: all basil types have aromatic foliage
Origanum vulgare (oregano) (E)
Pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) (E) (I)
Pelargonium scabrum (citronella) (E) – Note: most pelargoniums have fragrant foliage
Petroselinum crispum (parsley) (E)
Plectranthus neochilus (smelly spurflower or lobster flower) (E) (I)
Stevia rebaudiana (sugar plant) (D)
Tagetes erecta (marigold) (E)
Tanacetum vulgare (tansy) (E)
Tropaeolum majus (nasturtium) (E)
Thymus citriodorus (lemon thyme) (E)
Thymus vulgaris (common thyme) (E)

Shrubs and climbers (medium to tall growing)

Key: (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (I) = indigenous (F) = fruit (S) = seed (C) = climber (B) = bulb

Agathosma ciliaris (buchu) (E) (I) – Note: all agathosma type have aromatic foliage
Aloysia triphylla (lemon scented verbena) (D)
Artemesia ‘Powis Castle’ (southernwood) (E)
Callistemon citrinus ‘Endeavour’ (Australian bottlebrush) (E) – Note: most bottlebrushes have aromatic foliage
Caryopteris clandonensis (blue spiraea) (D)
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana all cultivars (Lawson’s cypress) (E)
Cistus purpureus (rock rose) (E)
Coleonema pulchra (confetti bush) (E) (I)
Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Gold Crest’ (Monterey cypress) (E)
Escallonia ‘Pink Princess’ (escallonia) (E)
Helichrysum italicum (curry bush) (E) – Note: most helichrysum types have aromatic foliage
Juniperus chinensis ‘Variegata’ (Chinese juniper) (E)
Laurus nobilis (bay leaf or sweet bay) (E)
Lavandula dentata subsp candicans (grey toothed lavender) (E)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Margaret Roberts’ (lavender) (E)
Lavandula stoechas all cultivars and hybrids (French lavender) (E)
Leonotis leonurus (wild dagga) (E) (I)
Leptospermum scoparium (tea bush) (E)
Murraya koenigii (curry leaf tree) (E)
Myrtus communis (myrtle) (E)
Plectranthus argentatus (silver spurflower) (E)
Plectranthus ecklonii (large spurflower) (D) (I)
Prostanthera latifolia (Australian mint bush)
Rosmarinus officinalis all cultivars and selections (rosemary) (E)
Ruta graveolons (rue) (E)
Salvia africana-lutea (African sage) (E) (I)
Salvia clevelandii (Cleveland sage) (E)
Salvia gregii Hybrids (autumn sage) – (E)
Salvia leucantha (Mexican sage) (ED)
Salvia officinalis all cultivars and selections (sage) (E)
Salvia rutilans (pineapple sage) (E) – Note: most salvia types have aromatic foliage
Santolina chamaecyparissus (lavender cotton) (E)
Tetradenia riparia (iboza) (D) (I)
Thryptomene calycina (miniature tea bush) (E)
Thuja occidentalis all cultivars (arborvitae or tree of life) (E)

Trees (tall growing)

Key: (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (I) = indigenous (F) = fruit (S) = seed (C) = climber (B) = bulb

Citrus limoni (lemon tree) (E) – Note: most citrus have aromatic foliage
Clausena anisata(horsewood) (E) (I)
Commiphora harveyi (red-stem corkwood) (D) (I)
Cupressus sempervirens ‘Stricta’ (pencil cypress) (E)
Eucalyptus cinerea (penny gum) (E)
Heteropyxis natalensis (Natal lavender tree) (D) (I)
Heteromorpha trifoliata (parsley tree) (E) (I)
Laurus nobilis (sweet bay) (E)
Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) (E)
Pinus all species (pine tree) (E)
Pittosporum viridiflorum (lemonwood) (E) (I)
Tarchonanthus camphoratus (camphorbush) (E) (I)
Thuja plicata (western red cedar) (E)

Key: (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (I) = indigenous (F) = fruit (S) = seed (C) = climber (B) = bulb

Whilst every care and caution has been taken in compiling these lists in terms of correctness and accuracy, Blackwood’s, nor any of their employees can be held liable or responsible if any of the recommendations are found to be incorrect in any way whatsoever. They are merely a guide to help gardeners and staff in finding solutions to gardening problems. All plants listed may not be available for sale at times. They do however all grow in the greater KwaZulu-Natal area and are to be found growing successfully in local gardens.