Top 10 Plants for a Sensory Experience

From the enticing scent of lemon verbena to the smooth texture of a pansy petal, there are so many possibilities for sensory exploration in your garden. The Therapeutic Horticulture team at the Missouri Botanical Garden has compiled their top ten plants for a sensory experience. Click on the scientific names below to learn how to grow and care for these plants, whether in your own garden or even in a container.

Lemon verbena

Aloysia triphylla
· Scented leaves
· Textured leaves

Photo via PlantFinder

Scented geranium

Pelargonium sp.
· Hundreds of varieties
· Scented leaves
· Textured leaves

Photo by Tom Incrocci. Scented-leaved geranium, Pelagonium ‘Pink Capitatum’

Globe amaranth

Gomphrena globosa
· Bright colored flower
· Textured flower head

Photo by Tom Incrocci. Globe amaranth, Gomphorena golbosa ‘Ping Pong Purple’

Ruby grass

Melinus nerviglumis
· Soft-textured flower head
· Attractive foliage
· Attractive flower

Photo by Tom Incrocci. Ruby grass, Milinus nerviglumis ‘Savannah’


Echinacea sp.
· Attractive flowers
· Textured leaves, seed head, stem
· Attracts butterflies and bees

Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong


Lavandula angustifolia
· Scented leaves, flower buds, stems
· Textured foliage

Photo via Plantfinder


Celosia argentea
· Visually attractive, bright colors
· All varieties have interesting texture

Photo by Tom Incrocci. Feather celosia, Celosia argentea (Plumosa Group) ‘New Look Red’


Salvia rosmarinus
· Entire plant is scented
· Savory taste for cooking

Photo by Tom Incrocci. Rosemary, Salvia rosmarinus ‘Hill Hardy’


Viola x wittrockiana
· Textured petals
· Scented
· Outstanding colors

Photo by Cassidy Moody


Thymus x citriodorus, Thymus pseudolanuginosus
· Textured leaves, stem
· Scented

Photo via PlantFinder

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