White flowers provide a brilliance and contrast all their own. Whether you want to give flower beds a more pristine look or make your backyard glow after dark, take a peek at these pure-white blooms.
Brugmansia spp., annual to Zone 10
This shrublike plant sports beautiful, sweetly scented blossoms that can reach 12 inches in length. The Betty Marshall variety’s ethereal trumpet-shaped blooms seem to glisten after dark. The pretty flower is very fragrant at night, but beware: All parts of it are poisonous.
Astilbe spp., Zones 4 to 9
Its fernlike appearance helps astilbe fit right into a shade garden—though its flower spikes, which grow from about 1 to 4 feet tall, can’t help but steal the spotlight. For a touch of glamour, try Bridal Veil. From afar, the flowers on this and some other astilbe varieties look like feathers.
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Iberis sempervirens, Zones 5 to 9
Like a late snowfall, candytuft brings fluffy white drifts to the spring scene, blooming until the early summer. It leaves pleasing evergreen foliage year-round.
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Cosmos bipinnatus, annual
This cheerful bloom adds a touch of whimsy to both formal and cottage-style gardens. Psyche White has jagged semi-double blossoms that give it a shabby-chic look that lasts all summer. The foliage resembles dill or fennel and makes an interesting contrast with broader leaves on nearby plants. Cosmos grows up to 5 feet tall.
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Lavandula spp., Zones 5 to 10
If you’re searching for an elegant bloom, look no further. Gardeners know that there’s never a dull moment with lavender’s pleasantly scented spires. The mounding gray-green plants tend to be taller than they are wide and look exquisite in borders. Lacy Frills, the first white variety from seed, is cold-tolerant to Zone 6.
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Paeonia spp., Zones 3 to 9
With hundreds of peony hybrids on the market, you have your pick of sizes and colors. Because it needs chilly weather to produce flowers, the peony grows best in areas that get cold winters. If undisturbed, this hardy and lush plant can survive for more than a century with little or no care. Bowl of Cream, a favorite white cultivar, features double blooms that make a big statement.
Phlox spp., Zones 3 to 9
For many, the scent of phlox goes hand in hand with summertime. Some varieties display clusters of flowers, while others are loose and carpetlike; most prefer full sun. Tiara has breathtaking double blooms and gorgeous all-white David is disease-resistant; both are upright garden phlox cultivars.
Leucanthemum x superbum, Zones 4 to 9
Although daisies date back thousands of years, the Shasta variety is just over 100 years old. It was named after Mount Shasta, one of California’s tallest peaks. The flowers bloom from early summer to autumn and plants range from 10 inches to 4 feet high. We like the tall Becky and dwarf Snowcap varieties.
Lobularia maritima, annual
Believe it or not, this beautiful, low-growing border plant is a member of the mustard family. Clusters of tiny flowers bloom for months in full sun to partial shade, but they do best in cool weather. After the heat of summer, cut back plants to encourage new growth and more blooms. For a white flower bed addition, try Carpet of Snow.
Yucca filamentosa, Zones 4 to 11
Columns of bell-shaped buttery-white flowers add a soft contrast to the spiky evergreen leaves of this drought-tolerant plant. Growing 3 to 12 feet tall when in bloom, yucca makes a stunning showpiece in any garden.
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