Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mignonette
Reseda odorata

Family: Resedaceae
Genus: Reseda (res-EE-duh) (Info)
Species: odorata (oh-dor-AY-tuh) (Info)

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Weezingreens
Thumbnail #1 of Reseda odorata by Weezingreens

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3 positives
4 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral smileclick On Feb 27, 2015, smileclick from Sydney
Australia wrote:

It appears some seed suppliers are selling Reseda alba seed in a Reseda odorata packet. That could explain why no one is smelling anything in this blog - see

Neutral sladeofsky On Jan 12, 2015, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I don't know this with any certainty, but I suspect that the disappointment expressed here may have more to do with weather and climate than the plant itself. Many essential oils are quite volatile and prone to evaporation in heat and direct light. So, it may be that the scent is evaporating too quickly in the heat. I've noticed that some of my fragrant roses and lilacs lose their scent in the heat. To combat that, you may try growing it in cool spots and bright shade. Also, try selective breeding through collecting seeds from only the most fragrant flowers. You may even go so far as removing flowers that are scentless so as to weed out those genes in favor of greater scent. If you have luck in this, please share some seeds with me. Also, message me if you have any suggestions of other fragrant flowers that are more reliably fragrant as I too have found that goal sadly elusive. Some flowering tobaccos are nicely fragrant.

Neutral lilyovalley On Feb 20, 2013, lilyovalley from Carmel, IN wrote:

I had known about this plant and its famous fragrance, so was really happy to see some for sale last spring. It grew well in a 6-inch pot on my front porch (the blooms reminded me somewhat of tiarella flowers); and I waited ... and waited for the scent to reveal itself. Nothing! Very disappointed.

A year later, I was lucky to have won a fresh pack of reseda 'Machet' and I will plant them with hope in my heart -- and my nose twitching .

Positive pwdoodle On Apr 8, 2011, pwdoodle from Ilkeston
United Kingdom wrote:

My Grandmother used to sow seeds of Mignonette, Stock and Night-scented Stock mixed together to provide perfume during the day and in the evening.

Neutral paracelsus On Dec 28, 2008, paracelsus from Elmira, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have grown this plant also and was disappointed that it had no scent. Then I found out that certain flowers cannot be smelled by a minority of people. This is one of them. It's just genetics. OTOH, such as we can perceive the rich, anise scent of white oleander, which is unscented for most people.

Negative Ishtar64 On Jun 20, 2006, Ishtar64 from Cedartown, GA wrote:

No luck for me with this plant. The few times when seeds germinated the plants were completely scentless. The reddish, tiny flowers do have a certain appeal, but it was the famous scent I wanted. I've been told that a lot of the seed offered in the trade produces scentless plants.

Negative solidago_caesia On Aug 26, 2005, solidago_caesia from Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

I'm deeply disappointed in this plant. I grew some because I had read that mignonette odor was supposed to be so wonderful and strong. My plants smelled weakly of grape kool-aid. They otherwise looked pretty healthy.

Positive ceeadsalaskazone3 On Feb 11, 2003, ceeadsalaskazone3 from Seward, AK wrote:

Sowing: Indoors- Sow sparingly, just pressing into soil surface (seeds require light for germination); once seeds emerge, grow cool. Outdoors- Sow in situ late April to mid-May (May to mid-June here in Seward). Don't delay sowing for too long, because seed may not germinate in warm summer conditions. (We don't have to worry about that here in Seward, Alaska.) Keep moist, and thin as seedlings appear to at least 6" apart (one plant will bloom nicely in a 5-6" pot). Good for sun or part shade, but bear in mind that mignonette is not drought tolerant, preferring a rich, heavy, alkaline soil, cool moist conditions, and regular watering and fertilizing to produce the best, most fragrant spikes.
Common Mignonette): Somewhat sprawling HHA, 16-18" high at maturity, with tender green foliage and stems and vaguely burr-like, greenish-white flowers sometimes tinged reddish. Nobody grows mignonette for show; it's the fragrance cottage gardeners have prized since the 18th Century. Great for tucking here and there in window boxes and borders among unscented annuals or perennials. (In Western gardens since 1752).

Positive lupinelover On Jan 29, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Mignonette is one of the most fragrant flowers, even if they are fairly insignificant. They do not transplant well, so it is best to direct-seed them where they are to grow. Plant them from early through late spring -- they flower in 2-3 months.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Santa Ana, California
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Troy, New York
Bucyrus, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Austin, Texas
Harlingen, Texas (2 reports)
Laredo, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Kalama, Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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