Color Commentary: Using White Flowers in the Garden

Color Commentary: Using White Flowers in the Garden

Discover how to use white flowers as a garden design feature. 
Probably the first person to ever see the potential of an all white garden was the great English garden designer, Vita Sackville West.

In the 1930s, she designed a glorious white flower border at her home at Sissinghurst Castle, in Kent. That border, which still blooms today, remains the perfect example of how white flowering plants, used together or mixed with other flowers, is just as beautiful as a garden exploding with other colors. 

I’ve also come to love white-flowering plants. They provide a cool contrast to brighter flowers and are especially useful planted along the edge of a path or walkway. Here, these beauties are bright enough to light the way, even after the sun goes down.

White flowers come in a variety of shades that vary from pale cream to snow white. Mixed together they will create a serene and cloud-like experience in sun or shade.

Some of our favorite white-flowering annuals include: campanula (in photo, left), geranium, sweet alyssum, Sunpatiens impatiens, zinnia, euphorbia, angelonia, calibrachoa, cosmos, osteospermum, petunia, cleome, verbena, lobelia, annual dianthus, begonia and calla lily (in photo above).

Top picks for perennials with white flowers include: snow-in-summer, astilbe, phlox, lily of the valley, Japanese anemone, aster, chrysanthemum, hyssop, bleeding heart, yarrow, lily, veronica, perennial dianthus, baptisia, coneflower, butterfly bush, hardy hibiscus, and candytuft.

White flowers are also natural companions for plants with blue, pink, or yellow blooms. For best effect, interplant large clumps or drifts of white flowers between broader bands of colored bloomers. Or, mix generous amounts of white flowers in all your containers.

Written by Doug Jimerson