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

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.

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 light and make the garden come alive.

They 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. These beautiful flowers also coordinate well with virtually any other colour plant in the garden.

White cosmos flower.

White cosmos flower.

Planting White Flowers

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 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.

Good in Shade and Sun

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.

White Flowers for Every Season and Plant Variety

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.

White and yellow lily.

White and yellow lily.

What Does "Alba" Mean?

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."

White pansy

White pansy

List of Plants With White Flowers

Perennials for the ShadePerennials for the SunAnnuals BulbsShrubs & Trees

White Bleeding Heart









Snowball bush





Pear Tree





Apple Tree



Baby's Breath


Mock Orange







White Swan Echinacea














White daisy.

White daisy.

The White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle, UK

White lilies

White lilies

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.

Want to Plant a White Garden?

White peony flower

White peony flower


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Kathy Sima


Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 01, 2013:

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. :)

Claudia Porter on January 31, 2013:

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 on January 30, 2013:

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!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 30, 2013:

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.