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20 Pure White Flowers for Your Garden: Names, Pictures, and Growing Tips | Almanac.com

20 Pure White Flowers for Your Garden

20 white flowers for the garden
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Discover wonderful white flower names—with pictures!

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All white is the most common monochromatic color-themed garden, and instead of being boring, it gives a sophisticated air to the landscape. Check out our list of 20 wonderful white flowers to incorporate into your garden!

How to Use White Flowers in the Garden

An all-white garden – sometimes called a moon garden - has the added advantage of glowing at night when all the other colors in the garden have turned to shades of gray. 

Single-color themes are great for beginning gardeners as they lessen the confusion of having too many colors to choose from. White is pure and refined… and it feels formal, restful, and safe. Includes plants of varying heights with different foliage types and textures, and blossoms of assorted shapes and sizes to keep it from being monotonous. Try throwing in some plants with variegated foliage to echo the white in the flowers. 

Not into the monochromatic look? Use white to tone down hot colors and mediate between clashing hues. It offers a good transition between blocks of color and helps us avoid visual chaos in the garden. It reflects light and gives the eye a rest from all the other colors. 

Pure White Flowers for Your Garden

Most plants have a white blossoming form, which gives us lots to choose from:

Bulbs That Produce White Flowers

1.    Snowdrops 

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) bloom so early in the year that they often have to push up through a crust of snow to emerge. Their inch-long, nodding, white pendant blossoms can be single or double-flowered. ‘Flore Pleno’ has double flowers and naturalizes well. ‘Sam Arnott’ has large, fragrant, single blossoms.  They are not bothered by rabbits, deer, or rodents.

•    4-8 inches tall
•    Sun to part shade
•    Zones 3-7
•    Blooms Feb-March

snowdrop flowers
Snowdrops are one of the first flowers to bloom in my garden.

2.    ‘Thalia’ Daffodil

This all-white Triandrus daffodil bears 2-5 fragrant blossoms per stem. Deadhead the spent blooms but let the foliage continue to grow until it yellows.

•    12-14 inches tall
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Zones 3-8
•    Blooms March-April

White Triandrus daffodils (Narcissus) Thalia bloom in a garden in April
White Triandrus daffodils (Narcissus) Thalia bloom in the spring.
Photo: Sergey V Kalyakin

3. Alliums

The ‘White Giant’ (Allium stipitatum) is a great addition to your garden. ‘White Giant’ is the largest white globe-shaped allium, bearing blossoms that are 6-8 inches across. They add a striking exclamation point to your landscape.

•    3-4 feet tall
•    Full sun
•    Zones 5-8
•    Blossoms May-June

Allium stipitatum White Giants is a beautiful allium.
Photo: Nrj negi

Annual White Flowers

Annuals bring long-lasting color to your garden. Make sure that you deadhead the fading blossoms to prolong the show. The following annuals should bloom from spring to fall:

4.    Sweet Alyssum 

Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is a fast-growing, early bloomer commonly used as an edging plant or in window boxes. Bees and other pollinators are drawn to its honey scent. 

•    8-12 inches tall
•    Sun to part shade
•    Blooms spring to frost
•    Transplant or direct seed

Sweet alyssum is a favorite front-of-the-border plant and an excellent “spiller” for hanging baskets.

5.    Cosmos 

A popular annual, Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) are often seen in shades of pink and purple, but its white forms are especially showy. ‘Afternoon White’ is single-flowered with sturdy straight stems for cutting, ‘Double Click Snow Puff’ has pure white, large, fluffy, double blossoms, and ‘Cupcake White’ has fluted petals that look like paper cupcake liners.

•    3-4 feet tall
•    Full sun
•    Blooms summer to early fall
•    Transplant or direct seed

White cosmos flowers bloom in a field of white flowers on a sunny day.
Photo: Rakjang_0206

6.   ‘White Swan’ Marigolds

The Marigold ‘White Swan’ is not your grandma’s marigold! This one is creamy white and has a pleasant, sweet fragrance instead of that pungent marigold smell. The double blossoms are 2-3 inches across, and the more you cut, the more flowers each plant produces. It has been a popular wedding flower for us.

•     3 feet tall and wide
•    Full sun
•    Summer bloomer
•    Transplant 

This creamy white marigold will quickly become a star in your garden!
Photo: Sudarat Paneechart

7.    Orlaya 

‘White Finch’ produces 3-4 inch wide, flat clusters of tiny blossoms resembling lace. Easy to grow, Orlaya makes a great filler flower for mid-border or in a bouquet and also produces interesting star-shaped seed pods.

•    2-2 ½ feet tall
•    Full sun
•    Blooms in summer
•    Direct seed

Orlaya is a beautiful filler flower!
Photo: SRT101

8.    Nicotiana

The Flowering Tobacco ‘Only the Lonely’ (Nicotiana sylvestris) is perfect for your moon garden. Its long tubular flowers are borne in clusters at the top of the plant. They open at night, releasing a lovely sweet fragrance meant to attract pollinating moths, and then close up in the sun.

•    3-6 feet tall
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Blooms July to frost
•    Transplant or direct seed

Nicotiana sylvestris ‘Summer Snow’, has white flowers and large green leaves.
Photo: Ritvars

Vines with White Flowers

9.     Moonflower 

Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) is another fragrant night bloomer for your moon garden. An annual vine, it has 3-6 inches wide, shiny white trumpets that open at night.

•    8-15 feet tall
•    Full sun
•    Blooms summer to fall
•    Transplant or direct seed

Moonflower glows at night but often opens on cloudy days, too.

10.    Clematis

Sweet Autumn Clematis is a fast-growing perennial vine that can grow up to 30 feet in one season, so plant it where it will have some support. It can be trained to grow up a trellis, over a pergola, threaded through taller trees, or, like mine, to cover a shed. Bees love its late blooming, white, star-shaped blossoms.

•    15-30 feet
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Zones 4-9
•    Blooms August – Sept.

We cut this clematis back to about 3 feet high each spring, and it easily climbs over the top of the shed by late summer.

Perennials with White Flowers

11.    Astilbe 

This popular flower comes in a wide range of colors. We love white astilbe—the feathery plumes will lighten up a moist, shady location.

•    Tall
•    Part sun to shade
•    Zones 3-9
•    Blooms late spring into summer

big beautiful white Astilbe Arendsii rock and roll shrub with other blooming plants near the gray wooden fence in the garden. Floral wallpaper
A big beautiful white Astilbe Arendsii rock and roll shrub.
Photo: Helen Pitt

12.     Bloodroot 

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is one of the first flowers to bloom in my garden each spring. A native ephemeral, there are single flowers and a double form called ‘Multiplex.’ Make sure to plant them where you can watch for the leaf-wrapped buds to emerge. The pure white flowers only last a few days, but they are a sure sign of spring.

•    4-8 inches tall
•    Morning sun to shade
•    Zones 3-9
•    Blooms early spring

We have a patch of bloodroot by the back stairs where we can check its progress every day. Don’t want to miss it!

13.    ‘Autumn Snow’ Candytuft

Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) is a spring bloomer that will blossom again in late summer if cut back after flowering. For a reliable rebloomer, plant ‘Autumn Snow’.

•    12-16 inches tall and wide
•    Full to part sun
•    Zones 3-9
•    Spring bloomers

Our candytuft stays green all winter, then blossoms in spring and again later in the summer.

14.    Phlox 

Phylox are native to the eastern US and are commonly seen in a range of pinks and purples, but there are some stately whites as well. If powdery mildew is a problem in your garden, look for a resistant variety such as ‘David.’ 

•    2-4 feet tall
•    Full sun to light shade
•    Zones 4-8
•    Bloom July-Sept.

White ‘David’ phlox is the only phlox I have that does not get attacked by powdery mildew.

15.    Peonies 

There are many to choose from, but many newer varieties lack fragrance. Try an old-fashioned, sweetly scented white Peony such as ‘Festiva Maxima,’ which has small streaks of red at the heart of some petals, or pure white ‘Duchesse de Nemours.’ Both are heirlooms from the 1850s but still easy to find at garden centers. 

•    3-4 feet tall and wide
•    Full sun
•    Zones 3-8
•    Blossom from late spring into summer

The delicious scent of ‘Duchesse de Nemours’ peony draws me into the garden each morning when she is in bloom.

16.  Beardtongue 

Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) ‘Husker Red’ has red foliage and spikes of white trumpet-shaped flowers. A native, it supports early pollinators and hummingbirds.

•    2-3 feet tall
•    Full sun
•    Zones 3-9
•    Blooms May-June

This penstemon is not ‘Husker’s Red’ but has green foliage instead and blooms prolifically. Both have the same shiny white trumpets.

17.    Bugbane

Also known as black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), Bugbane is a resilient native that attracts a multitude of pollinators. Native Americans referred to it as the candle of the woods for its tall white flower spikes. Varieties such as ‘Brunette’ or ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ have attractive maroon foliage. 

•    4-7 feet tall
•    Part shade to full shade
•    Zones 4-9
•    Midsummer blooms

Actaea racemosa has a luscious aroma. To me, it smells like grape Kool-Aid! Bees love it, too!

Shrubs with White Flowers

18.     Summersweet 

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) has long-lasting fragrant blossoms that draw in loads of tiny native bees. Plant at least one of these shrubs close to your home so you can throw open the windows and enjoy their sweet scent inside and out.

•    4-8 feet tall and wide
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Zones 3-9
•    Bloom July-Sept.

Summersweet is one of the most fragrant shrubs we grow. Just outside the kitchen window, its aroma wafts inside and perfumes the whole house.

19.    Viburnums 

This is a huge plant family, so there are hundreds of varieties to choose from, both native and non-native. After their snowy white flowers fade, many varieties offer berries for the birds. A few favorites of mine are Korean spice (V. carlesii), which blooms in the spring and has delicious smelling blossoms; native American cranberry (V. trilobum), which bears large edible red berries in the fall; doublefile (V. plicatum tomentosum) ‘Mariesii’ which has white lace-cap blossoms all along the horizontal branches; and native arrowwood (V. dentatum) ‘Blue Muffin’ whose blue berries persist on the plant until birds come for them in late winter. All have colorful fall foliage. 

•    Heights vary depending on variety
•    Full sun to part sun
•    Zones 4-9
•    Blossom in spring to early summer

Check to make sure viburnum leaf beetle is not a problem in your area. If it is, choose a species that is not one of its favorites, such as Doublefile (above) or Korean Spice. 

20. Common Ninebark

Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) has a wide range of leaf colors, but all have white flowers that are loved by native bees. ‘Summer Wine’ is purple, ‘Amber Jubilee’ has orange spring leaves that turn purple in fall, ‘Diablo’ is deep burgundy, and ‘Dart’s Gold is bright yellow. The exfoliating bark adds winter interest, making these four-season plants. 

•    3-10 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety
•    Sun to part shade
•    Zones 3-8
•    Spring blooms

Maroon red leaved and white flowers of Physocarpus opulifolius in May
Maroon red leaves and white flowers of Physocarpus opulifolius in the spring.
Photo: APugach

There are many, many more exquisite white blossoming plants, too many to name. By picking the ones that are right for your growing conditions, you are bound to be successful! 

Check out our 20 Sunny Yellow Flowers for Your Garden and our 20 True Blue Flowers for Your Garden!

What is your favorite white flower to grow in your garden?

About The Author

Robin Sweetser

Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. Read More from Robin Sweetser

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