unkept bush with white cone shaped flowers
What the sweet almond bush lacks in shape and foliage, is more than made up in aroma

While many of our landscape plants are visually appealing with colorful foliage and flowers, there is another dimension to explore – aroma.  One of the best plants to help with this is the sweet almond bush.  This somewhat new but very popular flowering shrub is finding a home in many local landscapes.  Most notable for its sweet almond fragrance, the sweet almond bush may be a new plant that you would like to explore.

One of six named the 2008 Florida Plants of the Year by the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, sweet almond has gained in popularity each time it is smelled.  A Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ approved plant, the sweet almond bush is somewhat non-descript in appearance growing upwards to twelve-feet tall in a relatively short period of time.  The long branches sport oval evergreen, gray-green leaves arranged opposite of each other on the stems.  The spikes of white flowers emerge from spring through fall and are the star of this somewhat lanky shrub.  This shrub can be pruned to shape which will keep the branches in-bounds and increase the number of flowers – flowers emerge from new growth.  Sweet almond is highly drought-tolerant once established and prefers full sun for best flowering.  Well-drained soil is essential to prevent root rots from setting in.

Sweet almond can be used in a number of landscape settings including rock gardens, as a single specimen and/or in containers.  In addition to the heavenly scent, sweet almond is a pollinator attractor drawing bees and butterflies in season.  New plants can be propagated using softwood to semi-hardwood cuttings.  Otherwise, check at local garden centers which do on occasion carry this pleasantly odiferous specimen.

Again, buy sweet almond for its scent and not its looks!  Find a specimen – often found at public gardens including our own at the Demonstration Garden located on Harborview Road in Port Charlotte and take a whiff – it is the deal-sealer!  For more information on all types of flowering plants that can be used in our local landscapes, you can also call the Master Gardener Volunteer Helpdesk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer.  Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or ralph.mitchell@charlottecountyfl.gov.

The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design (2010) The University of Florida Extension Services, IFAS.
Missouri Botanical Garden – Aloysia virgata.  (2022) https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=292740 .
Weatherby, P. (2022) My sweet almond bush is getting out of control.  For the Times-Union : Florida Times-Union.
Florida Bee Gardens – Sweet Almond Bush – FFL https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/bees/plants/Details/21 .
Spengler, T. (2020) What Is A Sweet Almond Bush – Learn About Sweet Almond Bush Care.  https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/sweet-almond-bush/sweet-almond-bush-care.htm
Six Plants Named Florida Plants of the Year (2007).   2022 Great American Media Services & Greenhouse Product News.
Sweet Almond Bush (2022) Friends of the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens, Inc.
Central Texas Gardener (2022) Almond verbena – Aloysia virgata. https://www.centraltexasgardener.org/resource/almond-verbena/

by Ralph Mitchell

Posted: June 10, 2022

Source: UF/IFAS Alert – https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/

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