This Plant Could Be Stinking Up Your House

Typically, we think of plants and flowers as items that add freshness to our space, often filling a room or yard with lovely aromas as well as visual beauty. However, many plants can have particular issues you may want to consider when flexing your green thumb and cultivating your indoor plants or outdoor landscaping — and there's one in particular that you may want to avoid, purely due to the odor it can emit.

As Bob Vila explained, there's a plant called ornamental boxwood, which is very commonly used in landscaping. It's a green shrub, so you likely wouldn't assume it'll smell floral and fragrant, but you probably think it'll have the same herbaceous plant smell that other greenery has. This particular plant, though, actually has the potential to emit a bit of a cat urine odor to some, which may be reason enough to avoid it when debating between which shrubs to incorporate in your home or garden.

The particular type of boxwood to avoid is called English boxwood, as Gardening Know How suggested. The culprit actually isn't the leaves themselves, but rather the small flowers that pop up, typically around late spring. While you normally may welcome the sight of flowers and lean in to take a big whiff, you may regret doing so with English boxwood.

What you can do

Before you go ripping up all your English boxwood shrubs, take a moment to see whether or not the scent bothers you — while many note the cat urine odor, some aren't bothered by it. Another thing to consider is the climate where you live — as New Gen Boxwood explained, boxwood's odor can become stronger if it's in an environment with high humidity or a lot of direct sunlight. So, your climate and even the location of the boxwood shrubs may play a role in how smelly they seem to you.

Another thing to consider, if you really love the appearance of boxwood, is the exact type you're getting. While English boxwood gets a bad rap for its odious odors, there are other types of boxwood plants that will give you a similar appearance without the smell. As The Spruce reported, each has its pros and cons — some, such as Japanese boxwood, are quite drought tolerant and can be used for low hedges. Other varieties have variegated leaves or even leaves that get a different hue in the winter, while others are gravity-defying plants that can be perfect for doorways.

As per Kentucky Living, there's not a lot that can be done to neutralize or eliminate the odor that English boxwood emits, so it may be a question of simply replacing current shrubs you have if you can't stand the smell or avoiding that particular type of boxwood when doing your plant shopping.