21 White Perennial Flowers With Names And Pictures
Thinking of planting some white perennial flowers in your garden that will come back year after year? Adding some white to a brighter colored garden can offer a very nice color balance. However, finding the perfect selection of white perennials can be difficult with so many options available. In this article, we take a deeper look at some of our favorites!
White flowers are versatile, at times appearing chic and elegant, at others pure and rustic. It’s even better when they are perennial flowers, and will come back each gardening season. Sprinkling your beds with shades of rich cream, cool frost, and distinctive white perennial flowers creates much-needed contrast amongst the green foliage.
They are ideal companions for helping bright, vibrant flora take center stage, blending seamlessly into any color scheme and having plenty of potential as the sole hue in your plant design. While other brightly colored perennial flowers may have a bit more pop, adding white will help balance them out.
With virtually limitless options for bringing cool, calming whites into your garden design, it can be overwhelming to choose just a few varieties. To help you decide on the proper selection, we’ve gathered some of our favorite white perennial flowers. Let’s dig in!
Alexander’s White Candytuft
Scientific Name: Iberis sempervirens
Bursting into multi-flowered tufts in April and May, Alexander’s White Candytuft provides gorgeous, dense ground coverage. The four-petaled flowers grow together in clusters, with a charming yellow center creating a bright pop of color in the otherwise creamy white carpet. Their stems are semi-woody and low-growing, often forming new roots where they touch the ground.
This perennial shrub loves the sun and well-drained soil, as wet soil can lead to crown rot. They thrive in zones 3 to 8, remaining evergreen in areas with warmer winters and semi-evergreen in those with colder winters.
Alexander’s White Candytuft is quite attractive to butterflies but resists deers and rabbits. Expect plants that grow up to 12-inches tall, especially when planted in full sun.
Cape Jasmine Gardenia
Scientific Name: Gardenia jasminoides
With its large, showy petals and glossy green leaves, Cape Jasmine Gardenia is a breathtaking cut flower that can grow up to 4-inches across in the proper conditions. This flower is a southern icon and one of the first flowers registered through the US Plant Patent Office.
The rose-like double flowers produce an intense gardenia scent that lasts along with the blooms throughout the early spring and summer.
Its growing requirements make it well-suited for the steamy hot summers and warm winters in zones 7-9. These shrubs require acidic soil and full sun for the best flower harvest. They also do incredibly well as indoor shrubs.
Caribbean Spider Lily
Scientific Name: Hymenocallis caribaea
Despite its namesake, the Caribbean Spider Lily has a central daffodil-shaped cup with six long, spindly petals that emit a luxurious vanilla fragrance. That sweet smell draws in pollinators, including butterflies. They are incredibly tall, reaching heights up to 3-feet, with flowers appearing in the mid-late summer.
Due to its origins across the Caribbean Islands and Central America, the Spider Lily prefers full sun and boggy soil. It does well in zones 7-11, but those with colder winters should bring the bulbs indoors during the winter and replant during the next growing season.
Scientific Name: Hydrangea anomala petiolaris
Climbing Hydrangea is unique to the species as the only variety capable of climbing. The woody vines have holdfasts, making a trellis unnecessary. Gardeners often use them as house climbers because they average a height of 30-40′. This perennial tolerates shade well through zones 4-9.
These are slow-growers, taking up to 5 years to flower for the first time, but are certainly worth the wait thanks to the snowy white, lacy puffs they produce. The center of each cluster features small fertile flowers, with larger, more ornamental sterile flowers forming the outer ring.
Interestingly, the flowers require at least six weeks of temperatures below 65-degrees F before they will bud.
Cora Louise Itoh Peony
Scientific Name: Paeonia
Cora Louise Itoh Peony is absolutely striking, with huge white flowers, intensely yellow stamen, and exquisite stripes of Fushia striking out from the center. The relatively flat petals put this burst of color on display, making for a superb addition to a cut flower garden. They look fantastic when paired up with a black perennial like the petunia.
A mature bush is a vigorous producer with around 50 flowers per plant. You can expect your peonies to bloom in late spring to early summer, so long as they are rooted away from other plants.
They compete against other plants for resources but do well in most soil conditions, so long as it is well-drained. Cora Louise Itoh Peony is hardy in zones 5-9 and can live up to half a century with very little maintenance.
Scientific Name: Tiarella cordifolia
These North American native runners are popular as foliage, fillers, and border plants in zones 4-9. The Foamflower is evergreen in warmer climates, forming short spires of dramatically verdant leaves with rich burgundy centers.
The bottlebrush flowers, which appear throughout the spring and summer, are stunningly adorned in chocolatey-colored veins, providing showy contrast against the creamy white flower clusters. Be sure to plant in areas with plenty of shade and humus-rich soil that holds moisture well.
Festiva Maxima Peony
Scientific Name: Paeonia Lactiflora
A true showpiece, the Festiva Maxima Peony has gently curling petals freckled with a carmine blush along the frilly edges. They are a fleeting but reliable beauty, flowering for only a week throughout the late spring and early summer, even in poor weather.
Peonies are well-known for their foliage, which changes colors with the change of the seasons, carefree maintenance, and generations-long lifespan. Plant during the early fall in moist, well-drained soil, so the roots have time to take hold before the blooming season.
Scientific Name: Penstemon laevigatus ssp. digitalis
Pollinators and gardeners enjoy the bell-shaped Foxglove Beardtongue, a 1-inch flower blooming in May, June, and July. They range in color from white to blush pink, with a deep purple throat that attracts bees and hummingbirds.
Foxglove Beardtongue is native to the Mississippi Basin but can successfully take root throughout zones 3-8 in a vast range of conditions, including dry, moderate, and high soil moisture. While they prefer acidic soil, they tolerate alkaline well.
Scientific Name: Agapanthus africanus
Commonly known as the Lily of the Nile or African Lily, Galaxy White produces breathtaking bunches of milky white trumpets with a dark-colored stamen that stands out against the yellow throat. The sturdy, 3-4′ tall stalks make this plant ideal for borders, forming a natural wall topped with textural puffs of buds and blooms.
These flowers are hardy in zones 6-11 and demonstrate reliable overwintering if protected by a layer of mulch. They prefer partial shade, with at least 6 hours of direct sun per day and moderate moisture. Galaxy White reaches the peak of its beauty in the late spring to midsummer.
Honorine Jobert Japanese Anemone
Scientific Name: Anemone x hybrida
A late-season show-off, the Honorine Jobert Japanese Anemone features gently cupped white petals and a sage green eye surrounded by orangish-yellow stamen. Their common name, Windflower, comes from their tendency to sway in the slightest breeze, thanks to fragile, delicate stems. They provide delightful color to gardens from the late summer through the fall.
Slow-growing anemone creates their best blooms in zones 4-8, mainly when planted in full sun and normal, clay, or acidic soil. Keep them well-watered, as they are very moisture tolerant. If you experience frigid winters, cut back the blackened leaves and protect the roots for years of blooms.
Scientific Name: Astrantia major
Add variety to your white perennial flowers with a dash of pink-speckled ivory masterwort. The firework-shaped blooms, with its pincushion floret center surrounded by paper-thin flat petals, provide a touch of whimsy and charm. They are relatively short, maxing out at a height up to 2-feet in optimal soil conditions.
Plant in zones 4-9 with plenty of shade and rich, moist soil. They do not tolerate drought well and will die quickly if their bed is too dry. They also require biannual fertilization, depending on the amount of naturally-occurring organic content in your garden soil.
Scientific Name: Asclepias incarnata
Swamp Milkweed produces umbrels of summer-blooming flowers and long, narrow leaves. Once the buds open, they reveal humble constellations of white, flat-petaled blossoms. They are a Monarch butterfly favorite but can propagate independently due to their parachuted seeds that take flight in the fall.
This plant grows best in full sun and wet soil but can handle some shade. It lies dormant in the winter, so gardeners would be well-advised to prune away old growth before they awaken in the spring.
While it is quite lovely as a groundcover, Swamp Milkweed can quickly overtake areas, absorbing vital nutrients from other plants. A firm hand is necessary to keep it contained.
Misty Lace Goatsbeard
Scientific Name: Aruncus
Misty Lace Goatsbeard’s fern-like fronds and wispy white flora are a rustic textural component to your beds if you have a small garden. They have notably deep red stems for added visual interest. After blooming in the heat of summer and temperate fall, the blooms die off, leaving behind mounds of lush foliage.
Misty Lace Goatsbeard can grow beautifully in even hot, humid climates, so long as the plant is rooted in richly fertilized soil that retains water well. Gardeners in zones 3-7 will find it easy to grow.
Scientific Name: Pycnanthemum virginianum
Beautiful and practical in equal measures, Mountain Mint produces a fresh, aromatic leaf and white blossoms freckled in shades of lavender. The inflorescence consists of densely-packed groups of buds with staggered bloom times, a veritable cornucopia for fly-by pollinators.
Zones 3-7 offer an ideal growth environment, but home gardeners can help this aromatic perennial thrive with total sun exposure and plenty of water. Feel free to muddle a few leaves for a refreshing addition to juleps or iced tea.
Scientific Name: Achillea ptarmica
For a variation on classic yarrow, Peter Cottontail or “Sneezewort” is a long-blooming medium-sized bush with fluffy flower groups resembling bunny tails. They look similar to Baby’s Breath, right down to the cool white coloration.
Yarrow is incredibly easy to grow in zones 3-8, where they have access to plenty of sun and well-drained soil. They have little need for added nutrients, flourishing well in poor-quality soil. Look for the first puffs to appear in the early summer, holding steady until late fall.
Scientific Name: Gardenia jasminoides
Without the iconic Shasta daisy, no compilation of white perennial flowers would be complete. It’s a timeless classic, with a sunny stamen cluster centered in a ring of petals the same color as freshly fallen snow. Shasta daisies have tremendous ornamental value, creating a charming aesthetic contrast paired with more dramatic flora.
In the warmer areas of zones 5-9, Shasta daisies can remain evergreen. Frost can be very dangerous, though, so wait to plant in locations with full sun and excellent drainage until the early spring. Avoid planting in the fall, or you’ll risk losing your daisies before their first bloom.
Scientific Name: Anemone sylvestris
Like their sister subspecies, the Honorine Jobert Japanese Anemone, Snowdrop Anemone feature slightly cupped alabaster petals with a canary yellow center. They are unique in that the undersides of the main body radiate a gorgeous blush from ombre’d purplish-green stem.
Indigenous to sylvan settings, Snowdrop Anemone love growing under shade trees, where they will eagerly self-spread in loose, sandy soil. They are extremely hardy in the cold, surviving easily through the winter until opening their wooly heads in the late spring or early summer across zones 3-8.
Snowflake Creeping Phlox
Scientific Name: Phlox subulata
For evergreen gardens needing more winter texture, the Snowflake Creeping Phlox has a lot to offer. In the mid-to-late spring, you’ll be delighted with the mats of starry flowers that make for excellent ground cover. The loose clusters also look incredible as cascades over trellises or garden walls.
Once the flowers drop in the early summer, the needle-like leaves maintain their healthy, emerald green coloring that adds some brightness to the grey winter days to come. This flower needs access to full sun but can successfully keep roots in zones 3-8.
Scientific Name: Trachelospermum jasminoides
Named for its star-shaped arrangement of five petals, the Star Jasmine is an experience for the senses. It’s the most popular jasmine variety. The flowers are exceptionally fragrant, beckoning bees to feast in late spring and early summer. It can grow vertically up to 6-feet per year after its first growing season.
Maintain a loamy, medium-moisture soil and access to plenty of sunshine. Above its optimal growing zone, it will grow in containers and tolerate transfer well once the weather is survivable. Be aware that you should only fertilize after their first year when they have plenty of time to establish themselves.
White Prosperity Gladiolus
Scientific Name: Gladiolus x hortulanus
The popular “Sword Flower” is a bold, brilliantly white option with layers of ruffled leaves that stand out against the sharper leaves and spike-like stem. They are elegant and erect, a popular flower for summer weddings or simply bringing a little elegance to a home-grown bouquet. They reach towering heights of up to 5-feet, with the taller plants producing significantly larger blossoms.
You can achieve optimal growth in humusy, well-drained soil so long as the clay content is low. Be aware that gladiolus requires significantly more water during flowering, lasting around two weeks. You can stagger your planting biweekly after the last frost through the end of May to prolong their beauty, with fresh florets opening as the older ones die.
Great White Trillium
Scientific Name: Trillium grandiflorum
The herbaceous Great White Trillium is a wildflower native to eastern United States woodlands, but home gardeners can quickly implement them into their home flora mix. They are sometimes referred to as Trinity Flowers because their leaves, petals, and seedpods grow in threes.
Interestingly, you may also hear them referred to as Wake Robin because they tend to flower just as robins return to their forest homes.
Of the more than 40 trillium species, the Great White Trillium stands out for its color-shifting capabilities. As the height of flowering season wanes, the petals transform from their spectacular, snowy white to salmon pink, adding a burst of color to celebrate the arrival of summer.
Because they are most comfortable spreading across the forest floor in zones 3-9, ensure that your home garden can provide full shade and rich, organic compost for the most extensive blooms. Keep pruning to a minimum, as damaging or plucking the leaves removes vital nutrients for successful overwintering.
If you have issues with deer in your area, you may want to avoid the Great White Trillium. They are one of their favorite snacks!
Despite their lack of pigmentation, white perennial flowers produce proud and showy displays that any gardener can feel proud of. During the day, they serve as a neutral backdrop for other flowers to shine. But, in the evening, they emerge as a dazzling display that continues to glow long after the sunsets.
From the charming Peter Cottontail to the lavish Festiva Maxima Peony, white flowers are distinctive in their simplicity and graceful in their rustic charm. With planting season inching closer, now is the perfect time to find the ideal snowy white flower for your garden design.