Heaven scent: a fragrant plant native to Mexico

Enjoy this sweet-smelling plant

Credit: David Tarrant

The sweet-smelling Bouvardia longiflora

On a recent hike after the summer rains I came across this beautiful plant. In fact, earlier in the day the air was rich with its perfume so my nose detected it long before I actually saw it!

It is Bouvardia longiflora, well named as it has very long tubes. This delightful little shrub is native to Mexico, and on looking it up in the A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, I see it can be grown as a cool greenhouse plant, which can be happily moved outside to a semi-shady spot on the patio for the summer months.

Forming a small spreading well-branched shrub, it may be pruned back in the greenhouse in late winter/early spring to keep it at a manageable size.

It prefers a good soil-based potting mix with some well-rotted leaf compost added (about one third of the total amount). During the summer months feed monthly with an organic liquid fertilizer to promote continual flowering.

While this one may not be easy to find, it is worth seeking it out as the incredible evening perfume is a wonderful addition to a patio or small greenhouse.