Plants With White Flowers: Perennials, Annuals, Bulbs, and Shrubs

Updated on January 16, 2018
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Kathy is an avid gardener who loves to grow perennials and vegetables in her zone 5 Ontario gardens.

White flowers can really brighten up a garden.
White flowers can really brighten up a garden. | Source

White Flowers in the Garden

The colour white symbolizes many things, including purity, innocence, love, elegance and simplicity to name a few. White flowers in the garden bring a sense of serenity and classical elegance.

They can do wonders to brighten up a shady area of the garden and create a calm and fresh feeling to any garden. White flowers can also add interest to the garden in the evening, as they reflect the moonlight and other lights and make the garden come alive.

White flowers look stunning on their own, planted with deep green foliage plants. You can plant a mass planting of one variety, or mix it up with a variety of white flowering plants of contrasting shapes, sizes and textures. White flowers also coordinate well with virtually any other colours of plants in the garden.


White cosmos flower.
White cosmos flower. | Source

Planning an all-white garden is more difficult than it looks, as many flowers described as "white" are often actually more yellow or cream in colour than a pure white. Nevertheless, when done correctly, an all-white garden can be a sight to behold, bringing a sense of peacefulness, tranquility and classical elegance to the area.

In shady areas of the garden, white flowers add brightness and light where other colours of flowers might appear to be washed out. On hot sunny days, they provide a sense of coolness to a yard.

White flowers in shady yards go well with foliage plants such as hostas and ivy, as well as plants with silver or maroon leaves.


Annabelle Hydrangea
Annabelle Hydrangea | Source


White and yellow lily
White and yellow lily | Source

There is a wide variety of plants with white flowers available, from bulbs and annuals to perennials, shrubs and trees. It is possible in most areas to plant an all-white garden that flowers from spring until fall, by using a variety of different plants.

Some of the most widely known plants with white flowers include roses,daisies, lilacs and tulips, but it's worth investigating the many other varieties available to find the best plants for your gardening zone and conditions.


Daisy | Source

Below you will find a list of plants that have white flowering varieties. This is not an exhaustive list, but does give you a good starting point for choosing white flowers for your garden.

If you're looking for white flowers in garden catalogues or websites, you will often find the white varieties of plants listed under "Alba," derived from the Latin word for "white."

Note: Some of the plants listed as perennials for the sun will perform well with some shade, and will look less washed out away from the glare of the midday sun.

List of Plants with White Flowers

Perennials for the Shade
Perennials for the Sun
Shrubs & Trees
White Bleeding Heart
Snowball bush
Pear Tree
Apple Tree
Baby's Breath
Mock Orange
White Swan Echinacea
White pansy
White pansy | Source

The White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle, UK

White lilies
White lilies | Source
White peony flower
White peony flower | Source

Want to Plant a White Garden?

The Color Garden (White : Single Color Plantings for Dramatic Landscapes)
The Color Garden (White : Single Color Plantings for Dramatic Landscapes)

I found this book to be incredibly helpful in choosing plants for my white garden.



Would you ever grow an all-white garden?

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White flowers are not boring!

Whether you're contemplating an all-white garden or are just looking for some new ideas for white flowers for your existing garden, you're sure to find some beautiful flowers to meet your needs.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Kathy Sima


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      • savingkathy profile image

        Kathy Sima 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Thanks Bill! It's really cold here right now, so I'm trying to keep warm thinking about gardening. Hopefully it will be an early spring again this year.

        RTalloni - you just made me realize I forgot to include carnations. I will have to fix that - I love the smell of them too. Thanks for your great comments!

        Glimmer Twin Fan- I don't know that I could ever have an all-white garden, but I definitely agree they are lovely to visit. They definitely hav a unique feel to them. I appreciate the comments, as always. :)

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

        Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

        While white flowers are not my favorites, I have been to a couple of all white flower gardens are they are absolutely lovely! I especially love the silver plants included. It is amazing what a cool feeling an all white flower garden has!

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

        White flowers are my favorite! They are gorgeous stand alone blooms whether large or small. When my old fashioned white carnations bloom they are a wonder, and it is hard to believe such fragrance comes from tiny white flowers. White flowers are beautiful with other colors, both highlighting the others as well as creating a focal point for themselves because of their contrast. Enjoyed learning more about having a white flower garden and seeing the video--thanks!

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

        I can't look at a daisy without thinking of that movie "You've Got Mail." Nice collection here, Kathy. You have me thinking of spring.