Gardening with Free-Range Chickens For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

Planting fragrant plants in your garden and landscape is pleasing. The ability to smell is an important sense, and it contributes to a desirable garden ambience. The smell sense is very powerful and can evoke strong childhood memories or a favorite place.

When raising chickens in a chicken garden, make sure your chickens are managed well to keep odors away. Well-managed chickens have their manure removed every day and composted, the compost bin turned regularly, and a flock size that fits the parameters of your chicken coop and free-ranging square footage.

However, even well-managed chickens may smell from time to time, from unusual weather, strong winds, or after a drenching rain. Even wet spilled feed mingled with wet manure droppings can occasionally happen and create a strong sour smell. One way you can hedge potential odors is by planting fragrant plants in your garden near your chicken coop and other high-traffic areas.

Suggestions for plants used for fragrance

Fragrant plants come in many forms, such as trees, shrubs, roses, vines, perennials, herbs, bulbs, and annuals. Here are suggestions for placing fragrant plants for the optimum benefit in your chicken garden:

  • Plan for sequential fragrant blooms throughout your growing seasons.

  • Optimize your paths and stepping stones with fragrant ground covers that release their scents when stepped upon.

  • Position fragrant plants under house windows and surrounding patios.

  • Locate fragrant plants near a garden bench or resting area in your garden.

  • Just like pathways, arbors and trellises create a soothing experience for anyone near them when they include fragrant plants.

  • Scent is always strongest downwind, or the direction the wind is blowing, so know your prevailing winds when strategically planting your fragrant plants.

Plant examples for fragrance

Inhale deeply and enjoy the fragrances of the following plants:

  • Citrus: Citrus. Evergreen trees and shrubs. Zones vary by species. All varieties are fragrant. Four-season interest with foliage, flowers, and decorative fruit. Many citrus trees have thorns. (It is important to not feed citrus to chickens.)

  • Lilac: Syringa selections. Deciduous shrubs. Zones vary by species. Many pluses, including beautiful flowers, fragrance, and foliage.

  • Mock Orange: Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile. Deciduous shrub. Zones 4–7. A beautiful arching shrub that reaches 10 feet in maturity. Bowl-shaped white fragrant flowers bloom in summer time. It can be mildly toxic to chickens.

  • Myrtle: Myrtus communis. Evergreen shrub. Zones 8–11. This rounded shrub makes a good informal hedge or screen. Mildly toxic to chickens, it has sharp spines. Very aromatic white flowers that bloom in summer, followed by a bluish black berry. This berry can be dried and used as a spice for culinary use. Studies show chickens don’t eat it.

  • Star magnolia: Magnolia stellata. Deciduous shrubs. Zones 5–9. Easy to grow with beautiful white starburst flowers that perfume the air. It can be trained into a small tree.

  • Viburnum: Viburnum burkwoodii. Semi-evergreen plants. Zones 5–8. Many pluses. Fragrant, showy flowers. Good for windbreak and privacy screening.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Bonnie Jo Manion has been featured in national garden magazines with her gardens, organic practices, chickens, and designs. Follow Bonnie at Rob Ludlow is the owner of, a top source on chicken raising, and the coauthor of Raising Chickens For Dummies.

This article can be found in the category: