Plants that Smell like Vanilla

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by DavidB52, Dec 26, 2020.

  1. DavidB52

    DavidB52 Active Member

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    I really like the smell of vanilla, but don't think an actual Vanilla plant can be grown outdoors in the Lower Mainland.

    Can anybody here recommend plants that smell like vanilla and can be grown here in the Lower Mainland?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Azara microphylla
     
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  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I realize this is not exactly what you’re looking for — it’s on the Okanagan side of Manning park

    Next time you’re up on a warm sunny day - sniff the PONDEROSA Pine tree BARK - the bark on the tree

    Vanilla!

    As kids years ago - we thought ponderosa bark bits and pieces were jigsaw puzzles

    If you see around the base of tree trunk - you know what I refer to

    Back to your topic - I cannot think of any vanilla scent so will keep my garden ears open to what fellow green thumbs suggest -

    Best of season to you
     
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  4. Louis A

    Louis A Member

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    Definitely give Azara a try. They had a nice selection a couple weeks back at Maple Leaf in North Van. Azara are winter flowering and smell of vanilla and chocolate. It’s absolutely incredible! Buy a 5gal if they have and it’s in your price point as they are a bit hardier with age in my experience.
     
  5. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Yes Maple Leaf garden centre

    No I am not associated in any way

    They have earned a good reputation over many years

    Worth a drive over the bridge
     
  6. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Sweet autumn clematis.
     
  7. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Do you have a Latin name for this suggestion — I would like to look it up

    Does it do well in coastal dry Vancouver summer?
     
  8. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The aromatics from the ponderosa pine are best on hot summer days with direct sunshine, while the Azara gives you that scent wafting in the air for a couple weeks in early spring... if you are considering timing.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    In a somewhat similar manner, the cone stalks of old Pinus radiata (Monterey Pine) and Pinus muricata (Bishop Pine) cones. Pull a many-years-old cone off the branch, and grate the resin-filled cone stem with sandpaper, you'll get a strong vanilla scent.
     
  11. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I was looking at another thread today and as a result looked up Clematis Montana « Elizabeth » and the major wholesale grower for decades now says blooms have scent of vanilla

    They’d be in flower now if you find one at the nursery store

    Clematis montana Elizabeth - Clearview Horticultural Products
     
  12. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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  13. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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  14. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    How about good old Heliotrope? Smells a bit vanilla-y to me, although also like baby powder. I think some folks called it "Cherry Pie" as that is what it smells like to them.
     
  15. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Two of my most-enjoyed fragrances remain indescribable by me: Sansevieria flowers and lamb's-ear (Stachys byzantina) leaves. Vanilla? Yes, and a dozen other scents as well, mingled in unique and wonderful ways.

    I also like the stench (I use the term fondly) of my smallest hoya's flowers. I can smell when the plant is in bloom before I see it is. Distinct (ha! perhaps variant spelling appropriate here---'distink') from the above 2 but equally indefinable. Interestingly, the flower heads it produces are a quarter the size of those of my biggest hoya...but pack ten times the fragrance power.

    In re Sansevieria, this:
    The flower scent is so unique that it is difficult to put into words.
    The chemical composition of the Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurenti
    [sic] flower fragrance include around 69 compounds, several esters, alcohol and aldehydes.

    Chemical Composition of the Fragrance of the Flower of ?Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurenti? by SPME / GC-MS: Perfume Applications

    Where is this perfume? Lead me to it!
     
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  16. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    @togata57 - i googled around but find no answer to which perfume brand name contains mother-in-law tongue!

    I can relate - I have « bain de soleil » locked in my sensorial mind bank - and if they still made the 1980s version, I could just go and buy some ...

    Back to plant scent - I like héliotrope too

    And I find the scent of the leaves of common PJM Rhododendron vaguely « Nabisco vanilla wafer » cookie scent ... I can’t pin down the exact scent but it’s distinct

    And speaking of strangely appealing - I love the close-up scent of lupin flowers — vaguely peppery. I have clear childhood memories of the scent so it appeals to me to this day.
     
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  17. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    I will cast the net of scent a bit wider: why o why bother with vanilla scent when you can plant honeysuckle? Notes of "swoon" tempered with "intoxication"! And every year I overwinter scraggly, unhappy brugmansias just to have those gigantic orange bells emit their transcendent scent on late summer evenings. Heaven must smell like brugmansias at sunset...
     
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  18. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    thumbnail (1).jpg thumbnail (2).jpg
    Aforementioned autumn clematis, in full bloom and heaven-scented.
    Pix taken this afternoon.
     
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  19. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    togata57 does the autumn clematis appeal to honey bees??
     
  20. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Spring-flowering Clematis montana can also be quite strongly vanilla-scented. Varies a lot from individual to individual, though; some are scentless, others strongly scented.
     
  21. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Yes, it does! Plus an array of other insects as well.
    Between the clematis and my flowering stonecrops the bees are busy indeed!
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2022
  22. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    i have been sniffing around the sweet pea flowers recently — I don’t know how to describe “sweet pea” floral scent — a bit peppery ?

    the other day (when it rained at coast) - there was definite “Petrachor” (a wonderful scent word) (EDIT: I didn’t spell it correctly — Petrichor - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2022

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