Sweet Woodruff Plants – A Growing Guide

Grow , Grow Guide Apr 27, 2018 No Comments

Sweet Woodruff Plants

Sweet Woodruff plant

Herbaceous Perennial Flower, Herb, Ground Cover

Botanical name: Galium odoratum
Family Classification: Rubiaceae Family

(Also known as Bedstraw, Sweet-scented bedstraw)

A delicate, scented woodland ground cover with tiny white blooms and unique umbrella-like foliage. Grows and spreads easily on moist, shady sites, providing perfect cover for bulbs.

Flowers and leaves of the sweet woodruff plant have that beautifully soft sweet scent of newly mown hay.

Part shade, Full shade
Bloom time
Late spring, Early summer, Mid-summer
0.5 to 1 feet
Special uses
Naturalistic garden

Sweet woodruff in bloom

How To Plant Your Sweet Woodruff Plants

Propagate by seed, cuttings, division or separation. Sow the seeds in the spring (note that if your are saving the sweet woodruff seeds for the next year, then the current years crop of seed would be fully ripe in July/August, the percentage of seeds to germinate can be increased by exposing the seeds to the cold.

In order to make the most of your sweet woodruff plants into the summer months, keep the soil moist as this will prolong their growth. In hot/dry weather these plants can go dormant or die back, however do not despair as this will rebound with vigour in in the fall.

When looking for something to act as a carpet for your bulbs sweet woodruff plants make an excellent choice. you will want to divide your sweet woodruff plants in spring or fall. When you are dividing small clumps, make sure to keep the roots moist.

Site Characteristics

Note that full sun may cause plants to go dormant in summer and scorch foliage therefore shade is benefical.  Sweet woodruff plants enjoy rich soil kept moist but ensure that the soil is not soggy.

These plants can tolerate a  wide range of pH from 4.3 to 8.3, however they do prefer slightly acidic soil.

SunlightPart shade/Full shade
Soil conditionspH 4.3 – 8.3
Hardiness zones5 to 8

Plant Traits

Spreads indefinitely by creeping roots and self-seeding forming a low mat. The leaves are arranged in a pattern similar to  umbrella whorls around the stem.

Height0.5 to 1 feet
Spread0.75 to 1.5 feet
Bloom timeLate spring
Early summer
Flower color
Foliage colorMedium green
Foliage textureMedium
ShapeLow and trailing
    Spreading mass

Special Considerations

Flowers and leaves of this plant have that beautifully soft sweet scent of newly mown hay. Under optimum conditions sweet woodruff plants can spread rapidly by slender creeping rhizomes and self -seeding, but they do allow other plants to come up through the foliage.

Special characteristicsDeer resistant
Fragrant Aggressive
Not native to North America
Native to Europe
Special usesNaturalistic garden


  • No serious problems.


No serious problems, though occasional:

  • Leaf spot
  • Rust
  • Mildew