Plants with white flowers

White-flowered plants are a key component in many types of garden.

Advertisement

They are particularly useful in shady corners, where the blooms show up especially well, and their luminescent blooms are also the most visible at dusk. They will combine with other flowers of virtually any colour in beds, borders and containers, or you could create a white-themed flower border, inspired by Sissinghurst.

Many white-flowered plants are richly scented, which helps to attract nocturnal pollinators, like moths.

Find more plants with white flowers by taking a look at our handy Plant Finder.

Discover some of our favourite plants with white flowers, below.

White-flowered plants are numerous in both nature and in cultivation.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops have got to be one of the best known plants with white flowers. If dividing existing clumps, do so while they’re still ‘in the green’, which is just after they have finished flowering. Will provide early nectar for bees.

White snowdrops in a clump

Anemones

White-flowered anemones you could grow include Anemone nemorosa, Anemonella thalictroides and Anemone blanda ‘White Splendour’. All are woodland plants that enjoy a rich, moist but well-drained soil.

White anemone ‘Vestal’

Jasmine

There are several climbing jasmines you could grow for their white, fragranced flowers. The most reliable in the UK climate are star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides and common jasmine, Jasminum officinale.

White, common jasmine

Roses

No white garden is complete with a romantic, frothy white rose. Browse our plant database for beautiful white roses, including ‘Claire Austin’ (pictured), ‘Iceberg’, ‘Wedding Day’, ‘York Minster’, ‘Kiftsgate’, ‘Rambling Rector’ or the recent introduction, ‘William and Catherine’.

Double, white rose ‘Claire Austin’

Gaura

Gauras are beautiful and useful in equal measure. Their bushy, informal growth makes them perfect for filling gaps in beds, borders and containers. These perennials also have a long flowering season, usually from spring into autumn.

Palest pink-white gaura ‘Geyser White’

Cosmos

Cosmos are half-hardy annuals that are easy to grow from seed. Keep deadheading them as the blooms fade, to prolong flowering. For planting ideas, check out eight plants to grow with cosmos.

White flowers and frothy foliage of cosmos

Nicotiana

Looking for plants with evening scent? Nicotianas are renowned for their heady perfume, which is released from the trumpet shaped blooms. Discover how you can boost your borders with these half-hardy annuals.

Elongate trumpet-shaped, white nicotinia flowers

Pittosporum tobira

Also known as Japanese mock orange, Pittosporum tobira is an attractive evergreen shrub or small tree. The clusters of white flowers have a powerful fragrance and are very attractive to honeybees.

White Japanese mock orange flowers

Amelanchier lamarckii

Seeking a small tree? Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii) is a great choice. The pretty white blossom appears in spring, just as the leaves are opening. Snowy mespilus is also a good plant for clay soil.

White snowy mespilus flowers

Solomon’s seal

Gardening in shade? Solomon’s seal (polygonatum) is an instantly recognisable perennial, with white, pendulous flowers hanging from arching stems. Try growing alongside other shade-lovers like lamprocapnos, anemones and ferns.

Dangling, white Solomon’s seal flowers

Sarcococca

This evergreen shrub will provide year-round colour, with the bonus of deliciously fragranced flowers in winter and spring. Grow Sarcococca confusa in sun or shade, in a moist, well-drained soil.

Delicate, white sarcococca flowers hanging beneath the stem

Think about foliage

White-flowered plants combine especially well with plants with silver or grey foliage, so be sure to add some of these to your planting scheme.

White blooms of stephanotis

Houseplants with white flowers

  • Stephanotis floribunda – tropical evergreen climber with jasmine-scented flowers
  • Peace lily (spathiphyllum) – evergreen with lush green leaves and elegant white blooms
  • Jasminum polyanthum – grow this tender jasmine in a spot with bright, indirect light. Strongly scented
  • White-flowered dendrobium orchid – easy to grow, they require cooler temperatures and less humidity than phalaenopsis
  • White-flowered phalaenopsis orchid – also easy to grow, choose a warm, bright, humid spot for them, such as a kitchen or bathroom
  • Gardenia jasminoides – glossy, evergreen leaves with rose-like, richly scented flowers

Advertisement

  • Paperwhite narcissi – a tender, indoor daffodil with white, fragranced flowers in late winter and spring

White is a delicate, lovely color that is associated with purity, goodness, innocence, and perfection. White is also said to go with absolutely everything. This may be one of the reasons why white flowers are prized by gardeners, with their delicate blooms naturally making every other shade of flower appear brighter and more vivid next to the white hue.

White perennials also make great garden additions because many white perennials have rich, green foliage that lasts long after the flowers fade.

We’ve put together 10 of the most beautiful white flowering perennials that are sure to add an element of elegance to your garden this year.

Trillium

Also known as a wood lily, these graceful white flowers are one of the most well-known and beloved spring wildflowers around. While they are native to rich woodland areas and often grow deep within heavy forests, they make the perfect addition to a variety of gardens. Trillium is known for stout blooms that delicately perch atop almost naked green stems. They require full to partial shade and they bloom best when they are grown in semi-moist soil in zones 4-8.

Lamium

With green or golden foliage and dainty white flowers, these low-maintenance perennials have a lovely fragrance and attract a variety of small birds. They prefer shaded gardens or containers in zones 4-8 and their flowers have long-lasting blooms that make it a desirable ground cover in shaded corners.

Lilyturf

Also called lilirope, these Asian natives have stalk-like flowers that bloom through fall in areas that offer moderate sun with partial shade. They typically grow from 12-18” and have slowly-expanding clumps of tube-like flowers that grow atop evergreen-colored foliage in zones 5-10.

Saxifraga

These yellow-white rosette blooms grow up to a foot in height during the summer months and burst upward from deep, silver-evergreen foliage that is often found in rocky areas. They prefer zones 5-8 and will not do well in humid or exceptionally hot climates.

Vinca

Commonly known as periwinkle or creeping myrtle, these whitish-blue flowers are commonly grown as ground cover for their enchanting evergreen foliage that will stay rich and lush all year long. They prefer zones 4-9, with some varieties of vinca growing best in zones 7-9.

Yarrow

These delicate white blooms grow in sprigs atop thin stems and are excellent additions to flower beds and herb gardens. Yarrow is often grown for its uses as a medicinal herb, aiding in the treatment of muscle cramps and minor wounds. It also has been used as a facial wash or astringent. Yarrow grows naturally in prairies and meadows and will thrive in zones 3-9.

Erysimum (Wallflower)

These easy-to-grow flowers are prized for their blooms that last from mid-spring to early fall and make a perfect border edge for any garden, looking especially dazzling cascading overtop a rock border. Wallflower prefers very sunny spots and gardeners appreciate its ability to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. These lovely white flowers grow best in zones 6-9.

Masterwort

These sparkling, star-like flowers are ivory white and flush with varying shades of pink, wafting a sweet scent from their blossoms. Their pinkish-white petals are both stunningly beautiful and very unique in color and shape. They grow from 1-2’ and will thrive in growing zones 4-9.

Meadowsweet

Commonly called Queen-of-the-meadow, these whitish-yellow flowers show in a rosette peppered with small, lace-like blooms that have a very delicate fragrance that has often been compared to an almond-like smell. Meadowsweet has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, including aiding in the treatment of colds, upset stomach, heartburn, ulcers, and stiff joints. Meadowsweet has even been used as an herbal painkiller for common pains and aches. The dense, clusters of meadowsweet can blossom up to 3’ in height and grows best in zones 3-9.

Candytuft

This European native is a stunning garden beauty that is well-named for its pure-white petals that look almost candy-like in appearance. Candytuft prefers a sunny location and grows well in gravelly soil, making it the perfect addition to a rock garden. The blooms burst to a height of over a foot, yet once the flowers are gone the foliage will remain through late summer and will often re-bloom in early fall. Candytuft is a favorite of butterflies and should be grown in zones 3-8. This plant makes an excellent ground cover and the foliage actually benefits from snow covering its roots during the winter season.

1K Shares

Top 10 essential plants for the white garden.

It goes without saying, white gardens are simply stunning. Crisp white flowers against the foliage is something that can be quite eye catching. You can make a very attractive display using plants with white flowers. White is clean, modern and simple. It’s everything a garden needs to be. I have compiled in this post, my favorite white flowering plants that are completely essential for creating that stunning white garden you have always dreamed of.

Gypsophila, sometimes known as baby’s breath

Absolutely stunning. Flowers are widely used in bridal bouquets. Featuring very small dainty flowers, Gypsophila is a must have for the classic white garden. Perennial varieties grow to about 1m high and becomes smothered in beautiful white blooms for long periods. The annual variety is small and great as a ground cover or filler in the border.

Gardenia, highly fragrant and silky blooms

Gardenia’s have to be one of my favorite all time plants. Most of all, it is highly fragrant. Gardenias will start to bloom from spring through to summer. Some varieties will bloom almost all year. They can be difficult to look after however. They are therefore they worth the extra effort required just to get the fantastically scented blooms.

Shasta daisy, an all time cottage garden classic!

Everybody knows the Shasta daisy and it’s no surprise it’s made itself on to my list of essential plants for the white garden. Due to the fact these plants continuously flower from mid spring throughout summer. Heavy bloomer and also a perennial. What’s not to love about this all time classic?

Iceberg right ahead! Iceberg rose that is

It isn’t surprising this one has made it to my list. I think every garden should have a rose plant in it somewhere. These look marvelous in the standard rose form. Plant standard iceberg roses in a line with a small hedge in front and under plant with dwarf white agapanthus for the perfect formal white garden.

White agapanthus

As mentioned above, dwarf white agapanthus go exceptionally well under planted with standard iceberg roses. Agapanthus is incredibly tough, hard to kill and a reliable bloomer too. Looks spectacular planted on mass too. Low maintenance and the newer varieties are not fertile so they won’t become invasive like some of the older cultivars do.

White lavender

Perfect for that sunny location. Lavender thrives on heat and free draining soils. When you hear the word lavender you would most likely imagine the traditional purple flower but this one is the white version. Lavenders are generally easy to look after, check out my guide to growing lavender plants for some information on how to grow them for yourself.

White Salvia covered in many blooms

Salvia are generally easy to care for, they are a reliable bloomer and have very attractive spear shaped flowers. Furthermore they are also perennial too so you will have gorgeous white flowers year after year.

An old favorite, the hydrangea

Often referred to as old fashioned, hydrangeas have consequently made a comeback. They are featured in many modern garden designs and really do become the star of the show when they come into full flower. How can you not like hydrangea’s? Planted en masse I can guarantee these will provide a spectacular display. Dwarf cultivars are also available which are perfect for a pot on the patio.

Dhalia, the perfect cut flower

Dahlia is a much loved plant across the planet. Flowers continuously throughout summer, perennial and perhaps the best part about this plant is that it makes a perfect cut flower. Remember to lift tubers in the autumn to avoid rotting in the winter months. Replant in the spring and they will soon grow once soil temperatures rise again.

Carpet of snow, it really does look like snow

In conclusion, my last noteworthy plant for the 10 essential plants for the white garden is Alyssum. Readily available and extremely easy to grow. This bedding plant really does live up to it’s name of carpet of snow. Plant on mass and it will therefore look like snow has fallen in the middle of summer. It will die off in the winter but often self seeds. It’s the sort of plant that once you’ve had it, you will never get rid of it due to thousands of tiny seeds produced by the plant.

I hope you enjoyed my article about white gardens. What have you done in your garden? Have you got a white garden or are you thinking of creating one? Let me know in the comments below.

Get your free copy of my E-Book – The White Garden

20 amazing plants in my E-Book for your white garden. Just enter your name and email in the boxes below to get your unique link to access my E-Book!

A white garden need not be wan and pale. Thomas Broom, horticultural manager of Petersham Nurseries in London, shows us that in editing color, your garden will have a stronger sense of shape and texture. It might smell more interesting too.

Here are 10 ideas–and his favorite flowers for a white garden:

Photography by Kendra Wilson, unless otherwise noted.

Keep It Small

Above: Silver foliage of Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmot’s Ghost’ haunts Vita Sackville-West’s world-famous white garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent.

“A white garden should be relatively small,” suggests Tom Broom. “It is a narrow exercise; often enclosed.” The calm of a white garden offers respite, an escape from the rest of the garden, or the world.

Masonry Matters

Above: Lilium regale ‘Album’, on the other side of the wall at Sissinghurst, holds its own against brick (where smaller flowers would struggle to compete).

It is important to think about masonry, the immediate surroundings of the proposed white garden, advises Tom. A dark backdrop works best; yew is also useful here.

Before she designed her white garden, Vita Sackville-West already had made a purple border. Intrigued by the possibilities that a monochromatic garden would offer, she focused on a garden that glowed under the moon and would be filled with evening scent. See: Trend Alert: 5 Night-Scented Bloomers.

Add Other Colors

Above: Verbascum chaixii ‘Album’ and Oxeye daisy at dusk.

White gardens are rarely just white. “You don’t want a freshly laundered garden,” says Tom. Other colors will insist on being included, like yellow in a daisy or lupin. For those who tend to steer clear of certain colors, a white garden is the perfect opportunity in which to go against the grain, knowing that the predominant color of white will keep the others in their place.

Recently viewed bulb varieties

By Naomi Jones

White flowers are essential for adding highlights in any garden or mixed border, they also help to bring out the rich colours of surrounding plants. But in recent years the idea of an entirely white garden has become increasingly popular. Not only are white flowers individually beautiful, but when planted ‘en-masse’ they create a very fresh and relaxing feel.

The key to a fabulous white garden or border is to plant a wide range of white-flowering varieties in contrasting shapes, growing habits and heights. As with any planting scheme, it’s important to make sure you have a gradient of heights, ranging from low-growing varieties at the front followed by medium and tall varieties behind. You can also fill hanging baskets or choose white-flowering climbers to provide interest against blank walls and fences.

When designing any border or planting scheme, remember to repeat key varieties in bold clumps throoughout. This will create a sense of structure and uniformity and will guide your eye through the garden and hold the scheme together as well as creating a bit of separation between the varieties so that each can be appreciated.

It’s not all about flowers – foliage plants are also important in a white garden, and a few fresh-green gaps can be white helps to hold it all together. There are all kinds of shrubs and trees which have leaves that are variegated with cream or white and it’s great to include a few in your scheme to add a contrasting structure. You’ll also need a certain amount of solid greenery to make the white flowers stand out. Silver-leaved or lime-green foliage plants also look fantastic in a white garden.

10 Great Plants to Create a White Summer Garden

Here are some of my favourite plants for a white garden:

Dahlia ‘My Love’

This striking cactus dahlia produces large spiky-looking flowers that will add a structural shape to a white border. Fairly tall growing, they’re ideal for the middle or towards the back of a border and the stems provide a lush green backdrop for low-growing white flowers planted in front.

  • Thrives in full sun
  • Excellent as cut flowers
  • Attracts bees and butterflies

Buy Dahlia My Love →

Peony ‘White Charm’

The large, pure white ruffled flowers of ‘White Charm’ will look fabulous in the border, flowering from early summer onwards. Growing to a height of around 1m, it’s ideal for planting in the middle of a mixed flower border, or among lush, green shrubs.

  • Thrives in full sun and partial shade
  • Excellent as cut flowers
  • Ideal for borders

Buy Peony White Charm →

Gladiolus ‘Murmansk’

The upright flower spikes of this gladiolus will look wonderful repeated in groups running through the middle of a border. They have a bold structure that will stand out among softer-looking plants, and large crisp white flowers which open from fresh green buds.

  • Thrives in full sun or partial shade
  • Excellent as cut flowers
  • Ideal for borders

Buy Gladiolus Murmansk →

Lily ‘Bright Diamond’

No white garden is complete without striking groups of crisp white lilies, providing intense fragrance and striking, structural blooms. Plant a few evenly-spaced groups of them in the middle of the border or in large patio containers. Lilies flower repeatedly throughout summer, deadhead them regularly or pick them to display indoors.

  • Thrives in full sun or partial shade
  • Excellent as cut flowers
  • Highly fragrant

Buy Lily Bright Diamond →

Calla Lily ‘Albomaculata’

Calla lilies are wonderful for growing in modern, contemporary or white gardens, with very distinct simple flowers. This particular variety also has dappled foliage which adds further interest and extends the season of interest. Growing to a height of around 30cm, they’re perfect for narrow borders, containers or the front of a large border. They’ll grow in sun or shade, so they’re useful if you have a small or enclosed space.

  • Thrives in full sun or partial shade
  • Suitable for borders or containers
  • Attracts bees

Buy Calla Lily Albomaculata →

Nerine bowdenii ‘Alba’

Extend the season of white flowers right into autumn with fancy white nerines. Producing extravagant clusters of white trumpet flowers on elegant tall stems from late summer onwards, they’ll add a fresh lift just when it’s most needed.

  • Thrives in full sun or partial shade
  • Suitable for borders and containers
  • Late-season interest

Buy Nerine bowdenii Alba →

Begonia ‘Pendula White’

Extend your white planting scheme onto the patio or balcony with this wonderful trailing begonia. With beautiful pendulous flowers and compact habit, it’s ideal for growing in pots or hanging baskets.

  • Thrives in full sun or partial shade
  • Ideal for containers
  • Flowers all summer long

Buy Begonia Pendula White →

Lily of the Valley

This shade-loving plant has elegant, nodding flowers on upright slender stems which emerge in spring. Forming a dense mat of attractive green foliage, this spreading plant makes a beautiful and highly fragrant ground cover, ideal for the front of the border or a shady corner.

  • Thrives in full or partial shade
  • Excellent as cut flowers
  • Highly fragrant

Buy Lily of the Valley →

Gypsophila ‘Bristol Fairy’

Forming a cloud of dainty white flowers that last throughout summer, this classic cottage-garden variety is perfect for any mixed border (especially a white one!). They also last exceptionally well as cut flowers too, so you can bring the white theme into your home.

  • Thrives in full sun
  • Excellent as cut flowers
  • Ideal for borders

Buy Gypsophila →

Strawberry ‘Pineberry’

Add something unusual to your white garden with these delicious white strawberries. With a naturally spreading habit the fruits also look wonderful trailing from pots or hanging baskets – they have a wonderful sweet flavour too!

  • Thrives in full sun
  • Produces edible fruit
  • Suitable for borders and containers

Buy Strawberry Pineberry →

“10 Great Plants for a White Summer Garden”
is a guest blog written by:

Naomi Jones
Author of Garden Nomey blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *