Nicotiana alata

Prized for its fragrance, nicotiana is a welcome addition to any summer garden
Julie Chai

Plant nicotiana where you can enjoy its scent: along paths, near seating areas, or outside.

Newer varieties can be nearly scentless, so be sure to choose carefully. (And all parts of the plant are poisonous, so keep it away from kids and pets.)

What you need to know:
The wild species reaches 2-4 feet tall and a foot wide, and is topped with fragrant, white flowers in the evening. Newer strains come in other shades like red, purple, lime, and pink and may bloom both day and night. Fragrance strength varies for these, though 3-foot-tall 'Grandiflora' is a sure thing for summer scent.

Plant this annual in spring or summer in full sun, and give regular water.

Grow alongside silvery or variegated foliage plants that show up in the moonlight like helichrysum, lamb's ears, artemisia 'Powis Castle', lamium, and hosta.