The sweet scent of winter

For a week or two every winter, my basement is filled with a strong scent that is difficult for me to categorize and even harder to avoid. It's a sweet, flowery perfume that is almost too strong for me to bear.

It starts in the early evening, is gone by morning, and always takes me a few days to remember what "that smell" is when I walk into the room.


It's one of my Sanservieria, the small one I got from my friend Mike a few years back. I haven't really done much with it -- it's still in its too-small pot -- but if I water it and give it a taste of fertilizer at the right time, it rewards me with blooms in the middle of winter.

Actually, "reward" may be the wrong word, as I don't know if I really like the scent at all. It's so strong, this is sort of how I feel when I get close:

The unopened blooms have a pinkish-purple tint to them, which is quite nice:

A few of the blooms split open each night...

...and it is shocking how much scent this tiny thing can release.

To give you a sense of scale, each of the unopened blooms is about 3/4" (19mm) long.

It looks like I have another week or so of blooms left, then this scent is gone for another year...

Speaking of winter blooms, I just remembered that I never got my Amaryllis bulbs out of the garage!


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danger garden  – (February 3, 2014 at 10:33 AM)  

I know that smell! I rather like it, although depending on the size of room I'm sure it could become overwhelming.

Curbstone Valley Farm  – (February 3, 2014 at 1:30 PM)  

See, this is one of those occasions where scratch-n-sniff blogs would be perfect! I've never heard of Sanservieria, let alone grown one, so now I'm intrigued to know what one smells like. The flower structure, to me, is reminiscent of a our native soap plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum. I'll have to look out for a Sanservieria locally, I'm curious.

Alan  – (February 4, 2014 at 6:57 AM)  

Claire: it's a very common (because it's tough) houseplant. Only this one of my three plants ever blooms -- I can smell it clearly even though I have a cold right now!

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