Accessible Gardening

Gardening for all abilities.

Top 5 Sensory Plants for a Serenity Garden

Are you thinking of designing a sensory garden? Here are our favorite five plants that will help you create a sanctuary of peace.

Sensory gardens can be enchanting spaces that tantalize our senses and transport us to a realm of tranquility and delight. Amidst the bustle of modern living, they can also offer a sanctuary to explore scents, textures, colors, and sounds. But if you’re thinking of creating your own sensory garden, how do you pick the plants?!

I created this article to help you choose the best five plants to grace the landscape of your sensory garden. From the soothing touch of velvety leaves to the intoxicating aroma of blossoms, this selection could be destined to be the stars of your own sensory garden! Each of these plants has earned its place not only for its captivating allure but also for its harmonious contributions to a sensory garden. So, let’s take a look at the best choices for your next sanctuary of peace.

What Defines a Sensory Plant?

A sensory plant is a type of plant that is chosen for its ability to engage and stimulate one or more of the human senses. We’re talking, of course, about sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. For example:

  • Sight: Sensory plants that appeal to the sense of sight often have vibrant flowers, unique foliage patterns, or colorful fruits. They are chosen for their visual impact and ability to create a visually pleasing landscape.

  • Smell: Plants that appeal to the sense of smell are known for their delightful and often fragrant scents. Their flowers, leaves, or even bark also emit aromatic compounds that can evoke feelings of calm, relaxation, or excitement.

  • Touch: Sensory plants that engage the sense of touch have interesting textures and surfaces. They may have soft, velvety leaves, rough bark, or intriguing seed pods that invite tactile exploration.

  • Taste: Some sensory plants are chosen for their edible qualities, appealing to the sense of taste. These may include herbs, fruits, or other edible plants that offer a range of flavors, from sweet to savory, and contribute to a culinary experience within the garden.

  • Sound: While not all plants create audible sounds, some sensory gardens incorporate plants that rustle in the wind, produce soothing sounds when leaves brush against each other, or attract wildlife whose calls add to the auditory dimension of the garden

What are the Top 5 Sensory Plants?

When creating a sensory garden, you should always try to arrange and combine different plants to create a harmonious symphony of sensations. The overall goal is to form a space that fosters relaxation, mindfulness, and a deep connection with nature. So, without further ado, here are our favorites!

Pick #1: Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula spp) is known for its enchanting fragrance, which is calming and soothing. Its aromatic purple blooms also offer a visually pleasing display.

In the gentle embrace of a sensory garden, lavender stands as a true star, captivating visitors with its mesmerizing allure. Amidst its graceful, silvery-green foliage, lavender blossoms emerge, delicate yet radiant in their purple hues, inviting contemplation and wonder.

This sensory gem, a beacon of tranquillity, beckons all who enter the garden to partake in its beauty. Amidst the bustle of life, lavender is a gentle reminder of the importance of stillness, of taking a moment to breathe and find solace in the simplicity of nature’s gifts.

The main senses engaged by lavender are smell and sight

Best sensory plants: Lavender
With an enchanting fragrance and beautiful color, lavender is an excellent choice for a sensory garden.

Pick #2: Lamb's Ear

Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina) has soft, velvety leaves that invite tactile exploration. Their silvery foliage adds an interesting texture to the garden.

Amidst the vibrant tapestry of a sensory garden, Lamb’s Ear stands as a tender guardian of tactile exploration. Its soft, velvety leaves invite gentle caresses, a sensory indulgence that captivates both young and old alike.

Nestled amongst other sensory plants, Lamb’s Ear is a humble yet enchanting presence, its silvery-green leaves harmoniously blending with the garden’s rich palette. In the golden embrace of the sun, the leaves shimmer like precious jewels, inviting admiration and intrigue.

The main senses engaged by lamb’s ear are touch and sight

Best sensory plants: Lamb's Ears.
Lamb's ears are soft, velvety, and can add an interesting texture to your sensory garden.

Pick #3: Mint

Mint (Mentha spp.) releases a refreshing and invigorating scent when crushed. Its lush green leaves and rapid growth make it a versatile addition to the garden.

Mint emerges as an enchanting conductor of olfactory delight. With each step, the air becomes infused with its refreshing aroma, a symphony of coolness that invigorates the senses. As fingers pluck a leaf from its abundant foliage, the scent intensifies, offering a lively invitation to savor its essence.

In the company of mMint, the sensory garden becomes a refreshing haven, a refuge from the mundane. Its presence carries a sense of renewal, beckoning visitors to immerse themselves in the simple joys of nature.

The main senses engaged by mint are smell and taste

Best sensory plants: Mint.
Mint offers both a scent and can be tasted, too!

Pick #4: Sunflowers

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are a visual delight with their large, radiant blooms that follow the sun’s path throughout the day. They also provide an opportunity for birdwatching as birds feast on their seeds.

Sunflowers stand tall and proud, basking in the spotlight of visual enchantment. Their radiant blooms, like golden crowns, nod gracefully to the heavens, capturing the essence of joy and warmth in their vibrant hues.

In the company of sunflowers, the sensory garden becomes a jubilant celebration of life’s exuberance. Their towering stature embraces visitors, beckoning them to find inspiration in the world of nature’s wonders. In the realm of sight and sound, sunflowers shine as a testament to the sheer beauty and wonder that awaits those who choose to immerse themselves in the enchanting world of sensory gardens.

The main senses engaged by sunflowers are sight and sound.

Best sensory plants: Sunflowers.
Sunflowers have large, radiant blooms that can also attract birds to your sensory garden.

Pick #5: Chocolate Cosmos

The chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) lives up to its name, emitting a rich, chocolate-like fragrance. Its deep burgundy flowers are visually striking as well.

Like a rich delicacy, its deep, velvety blooms exude a scent reminiscent of delectable chocolate, an indulgence that lingers in the air, tantalizing the senses. n the company of Chocolate Cosmos, the sensory garden takes on an air of sophistication, a nod to the mysteries of nature’s artistry.

Chocolate Cosmos is a captivating soloist, enticing visitors to delve into the realm of senses and savor the complexity of the natural world. In the twilight of the day, as its blooms unfurl and release their sweet essence.

The main senses engaged by sunflowers are smell and sight.

Best sensory plants: Cosmos.
Cosmos come in many colors. Some also emit a distinctive and delicious fragrance.

Tools & Planters for a Sensory Garden

Final Thoughts About Sensory Gardens and Accessibility

These five plants we’ve covered exemplify the essence of a sensory garden by engaging multiple senses. However, the best choices for your sensory garden will ultimately depend on your climate, the specific sensory experiences you want to create, and the preferences of those who will enjoy the garden.
So, don’t be scared to experiment and add plants that hold personal significance to you or that resonate with your visitors’ preferences. And have fun!