10 Recommended Shrubs With White Flowers

Shrubs With White Flowers

The Spruce

Shrubs with white flowers are great for brightening dark areas of the landscape, and many are known for their fragrant blooms. As a design element, shrubs with white flowers convey a sense of purity. They are often used as the foundation for moon gardens, designed to be enjoyed in the evening. Some white-flowering shrubs are valued primarily for the spring color they bestow to the garden, while others save a bit of their beauty for autumn when fall foliage becomes the star of the show.

Here are 10 great choices if you are considering shrubs with white flowers for your landscape.


As beautiful as they are, some of the white-flowering shrubs should only be planted with caution because they are toxic. From the list below, these include:

  • Japanese Andromeda – toxic to humans and pets
  • Azalea – toxic to humans and pets
  • Hydrangea – toxic to humans and pets
  • Snows of Kilimanjaro – toxic to humans and pets

  • 01 of 10

    Korean Spice Viburnum

    Korean spice viburnum shrub branches with small white flower clusters

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Korean spice viburnum is an example of a shrub that boasts early-spring flowers (April) as well as fall color. The buds are pink but then open to become clusters of white flowers. The bush is named for its fragrance, which contains a combination of sweetness and sharpness. If you prefer pure white flowers, grow doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum 'Mariesii') instead, Note though that it lacks the scent of Korean spice.

    If your soil does not have the acidity preferred by viburnums, a yearly feeding with an acid-enhanced fertilizer will improve its flowering.

    • Name: Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-7
    • Flower Color: Pinkish-white
    • Bloom Time: Spring
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, moist, acidic, well-draining
    • Mature Size: 4–6 ft. tall, 4–7 ft. wide
  • 02 of 10

    Common Lilac

    Common lilac shrub branch with tiny white flower racemes and buds

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    For a purely sweet smell, it is hard to beat the fragrance of the common lilac bush, which is available in whites as well as in the familiar lavender/purple. Because lilac is so ubiquitous, it might seem ordinary but the large, fragrant white panicles are nonetheless pure delight. And because of its vigorous growth, if you are seeking plants for a hedge that will screen out prying eyes during the summer season, the height of the common lilac is a decided benefit.

    More than most shrubs, lilacs need a well-drained location, as they may refuse to bloom if they have too much moisture.

    • Name: Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris var. alba)
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-7
    • Flower Color: White
    • Bloom Time: Spring
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline
    • Mature Size: 12-16 ft. tall, 8-12 ft. wide
  • 03 of 10

    Japanese Andromeda

    Japanese andromeda shrub branches with white bell-shaped flowers

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Andromeda shrub, also known as Japanese pieris, has a scent that is not for the faint of heart. Some people dislike the aroma, while others love it. So before you grow this bush, find one in bloom somewhere and see if it passes the smell test for you. Beyond the bell-shaped flowers, the benefits of growing Andromeda include evergreen foliage offering winter interest, leaves that offer an attractive red color (such as with the 'Mountain Fire' cultivar), and an early bloom period (March, in some cases).

    The shrub can tolerate partial shade but if it's too shady, flowering is reduced. In colder climates, Japanese andromeda can dry out due to cold winds in winter. You can protect the plant by wrapping burlap around them in late fall.

    • Name: Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
    • Flower Color: White
    • Bloom Time: Spring
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, slightly acidic
    • Mature Size: 9–12 ft. tall, 6–8 ft. wide
  • 04 of 10

    Mock Orange

    Mock orange shrub with small white blossoms and leaves closeup

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    If you enjoy experiencing fragrances in the garden but dislike strong smells, mock orange may be just right for you. Its aroma will not blow you away, but a refined nose can detect a hint of citrus in its blossoms. This is a rather big and fast-growing shrub, reaching 12 feet tall with a similar width. A popular hybrid, P. x virginalis, stays smaller (4 feet tall with a spread of 2 feet). Lovers of summertime privacy may prefer P. coronarius, but those who wish to keep yard maintenance to a minimum will favor the hybrid P. x virginalis.

    Mock orange can become overgrown fairly quickly, so rejuvenation pruning—hard pruning that cuts the bush back low to the ground—is a good idea every few years.

    • Name: Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius)
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
    • Flower Color: White
    • Bloom Time: Spring
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, loamy, acidic to neutral
    • Mature Size: 10–12 ft. tall and wide
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10


    Azalea shrub with small white flowers and buds closeup

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Azaleas can bloom in early spring or late spring, depending on the variety. Great white varieties include 'Northern Hi-Lights', 'Pleasant White', Delaware Valley White', 'Cascade White', 'Snow', and 'Blooom-a Thon' White—so-called because it blooms not only in April but also in the summer and fall. Azaleas are excellent in woodland settings; the foliage is unremarkable after the flowers have faded, although some varieties have pleasing fall colors.

    Unless your soil has the natural acidity preferred by azaleas, feed them with an acid-enhanced fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons, camellias, and azaleas.

    • Name: Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9 depending on the variety
    • Flower Color: White
    • Bloom Time: Spring
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained, acidic
    • Mature Size: 4-6 ft. tall, 3-4 ft. wide
  • 06 of 10

    Dwarf Deutzia

    Dwarf deutzia shrub with tiny white bell-shaped flowers

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    What makes dwarf deutzia so special is that, despite being a shrub, it can function as a ground cover. This is because it stays so short and is wider than it is tall. The flowers may be small, but they are double and numerous—this is a late-spring bloomer, with small but fragrant bell-shaped flowers. The foliage on the dwarf variety turns an attractive burgundy in fall. Individual branches are fairly short-lived, so this shrub needs regular pruning.

    • Name: Dwarf deutzia (Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko')
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-8
    • Flower Color: White
    • Bloom time: Spring
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, pH adaptable, tolerates clay soil
    • Mature Size: 2 ft. tall, 5 ft. spread
  • 07 of 10


    White rose flower and buds on shrub branch closeup

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Roses have a reputation for being finicky, but there are some types—such as shrub roses—that are quite easy to grow, and no fragrance garden is complete without rose bushes. Of the countless choices for white roses, consider 'Iceberg' with double white flowers. This Floribunda rose is best grown in zones 5 to 9, growing to 3 feet tall with a spread of 4 feet. 'Polar Express' is another excellent white rose with long-lasting ivory blooms and dark-green glossy foliage. It grows in zones 5 to 9 to a height of about 4 feet. 'Winchester Cathedral' is a white rose with a bushy growth habit and a long bloom time. It is suitable for zones 4 to 11, growing to about 4 feet.

    Like most plants with large flowers, roses are heavy feeders. Use a slow-release granular fertilizer formulated for roses.

    • Name: Rose (Rosa spp.)
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-12 depending on the variety
    • Flower Color: White
    • Bloom Time: Spring, summer, fall
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained, loamy
    • Mature Size: 3-6 ft. tall, 3-4 ft. wide
  • 08 of 10


    Spirea shrub with small white flower clusters surrounded by leaves

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Like roses, to which they are related, shrubs in the Spirea genus also bloom in early summer. Although some of the more popular kinds of spirea now have pink blossoms, the traditional favorite with white flowers is the Vanhoutte (or "bridal wreath") spirea (Spiraea × vanhouttei). Vanhoutte spirea is a large spirea that grows 5 to 8 feet tall and 7 to 10 feet wide. It blooms in April or May. 'Snowmound' and 'Snow Storm' are cultivars with white flowers.

    Spirea has fairly good tolerance for drought conditions once mature, but while young it is important to keep the plants well-watered. Mulching the soil will help keep it moist.

    • Name: Spirea (Spirea spp.)
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
    • Flower Color: White
    • Bloom Time: Spring, summer
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained, neutral pH
    • Mature Size: 2-8 ft. tall. 2-10 ft. wide
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10


    Hydrangea shrub with white and light yellow flower clusters

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Hydrangea is another early-summer bloomer, and there are excellent white versions available in all four of the main types: H. arborescens (smooth hydrangeas), H. macrophylla (bigleaf hydrangeas), H. paniculata (panicle hydrangeas), and H. quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangeas). A wonderful choice for admirers of white flowers is the Incrediball hydrangea. The huge flower clusters will last right through fall, although the color changes to brown (sometimes with pink mixed in). Another very popular white variety is 'Annabelle', a smooth hydrangea that grows to 5 feet.

    The ideal location for most hydrangeas will provide sun in the morning, shade in the heat of the afternoon.

    • Name: Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.)
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9, depending on the variety
    • Flower Color: White, sometimes transitioning to purple-pink
    • Bloom Time: Summer
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained, pH adaptable
    • Mature Size: 4-12 ft. tall, 4-6 ft. wide
  • 10 of 10

    Snows of Kilimanjaro

    Snows of Kilimanjaro shrub with tiny white petals on branches

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    This tropical shrub with a rounded shape is a member of the Euphorbia genus and, as such, related to the poinsettia (E. pulcherrima). Snows of Kilimanjaro is also called "little Christmas flower" because it blooms in fall and winter.

    As with the poinsettias, flowering comes into bloom as the days shorten. When the fragrant white flowers emerge, the bush reminds you of a giant snowball. To promote that look, give the plant a severe pruning back in early spring, then another in early summer. Make sure to wear gloves when you prune it to protect your hands from the milky sap.

    • Name: Snows of Kilimanjaro (Euphorbia leucocephala)
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-13
    • Flower Color: White
    • Bloom Time: Fall, winter
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained, pH adaptable
    • Mature Size: 6-10 ft. tall, 4-6 ft. wide

Learn More


Unless you are designing a moon garden that is to be enjoyed primarily in the evening, an all-white garden can be glaring to look at. It's a better strategy to mix in white flowers and shrubs to help "cool" a garden with bright, hot colors. And remember that many white flowers have subtle hints of other colors—a hint of buttery yellow or a touch of lavender or pink.

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Guide to Poisonous Plants. Colorado State University.

  2. Guide to Poisonous Plants. Colorado State University.

  3. Hydrangea. North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension.

  4. Hydrangea. ASPCA.

  5. Know Your Plants. Connecticut Poison Control Center.

  6. Euphorbia. ASPCA.