Pictures of White Flowers

Picture of white flowers of oakleaf hydrangea bush.
David Beaulieu

White flowers provide a neutral color in mixed plantings. Neutral colors allow for transition between stronger hues. White flowers can also be used to soften the effect of loud color schemes or stand on their own in a monochromatic scheme (e.g., all-white gardens). Others use white flowers in moon gardens (or "moonlight gardens"). View these pictures of white flowers to consider some of the choices available.

Grown as often for their interesting foliage as for their blooms, oakleaf hydrangeas do, nonetheless, produce attractive white blossoms.

The scientific plant name of oakleaf hydrangeas is Hydrangea quercifolia, the species name being a reference to this bush's interesting leaf shape (quercifolia literally means "oakleaf" in Latin). But oakleaf hydrangeas also put out noteworthy white blossoms, which later dry out and remain on the bush for some time.

But what of the genus name, Hydrangea? Well, we're all familiar with the Greek root hydr- as a reference to water, as in "hydrate." Meanwhile, angeon comes from the Greek for "vessel." So in what sense is a hydrangea a water vessel? Well, most species require a lot of watering. Fortunately, oakleaf hydrangeas are an exception in this regard.

  • 01 of 18

    Mountain Laurel Shrubs

    Picture of Mountain Laurel Shrubs
    Flowers bloom in late spring to early summer. David Beaulieu

    Don't confuse mountain laurel bushes (natives of North America) with bay laurel trees (Laurus nobilis). In ancient Greece and ancient Rome, people used the leaves of bay laurel to make wreaths to be worn on the head like a crown (the victory laurel). It is still used as a symbol of victory in the Olympics. It is also the bay laurel that is used as a flavoring agent in cooking, often referred to as "bay leaf."

    Since it is a Mediterranean plant, it is not surprising that it is bay laurel, not mountain laurel, that is involved in the myth of Daphne and Apollo. In case you have forgotten your mythology, Daphne, fleeing the god, Apollo, was turned into a bay laurel tree by her father, the river god Peneius, lest Apollo overtake her. By the way, although Daphne gave her name to the shrub, daphne, that shrub merely bears an appearance similar to bay laurel.

    But for that matter, mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), despite its common name, is of an entirely different genus than bay laurel. Indeed, while the foliage of bay laurel trees is used as a culinary herb, mountain laurel is a poisonous plant!

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  • 02 of 18

    White Daffodil Flowers

    Picture of White Daffodil Flowers
    Flowers bloom in early spring. David Beaulieu

    Perhaps you're wondering, "What's the difference between 'daffodil' flowers and 'narcissus' flowers?" The answer is none, according to the American Daffodil Society (ADS), which states that the two are synonymous:

    "Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils, just as ilex is for hollies. Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus...."

    The same organization also explains how "jonquil" flowers differ from "daffodil" flowers, citing a general (not a hard-and-fast) rule that says that jonquils "have several yellow flowers, strong scent, and rounded foliage."

    Likewise, "Paperwhite" refers to a type of Narcissus. These plants, therefore, qualify as "daffodils"; they have white flowers.

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  • 03 of 18

    Star Magnolia Tree

    Picture of Star Magnolia Tree
    Flowers bloom in early spring. David Beaulieu

    Star magnolia trees (Magnolia stellata) are early bloomers (March-April) suitable for growing in zones 4-8. Shorter than saucer magnolia trees, star magnolia trees reach a height of 15'-20', with a similar spread.

    Because star magnolia trees are among the earliest flowers to greet us each spring, a special place in our hearts is reserved for them: they come to the rescue after the long winter, when our psyches most desperately crave floral color. It holds true for all of the earliest bloomers: whatever other fine qualities they may possess, plants such as star magnolia trees win us over most of all with their timeliness.

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  • 04 of 18

    Callery Pear Tree

    Picture of Callery Pear Tree.
    Popular Street Tree, Despite Susceptibility to Wind Damage Flowers bloom in spring. David Beaulieu

    Callery pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) are not suitable for areas subject to high winds. They are notorious for suffering broken branches in storms. However, they do hold up well against street pollution. That's the reason why they line the downtown streets of so many cities and large towns.

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  • 05 of 18

    Autumn Clematis Vines

    Picture of Autumn Clematis Vines
    Flowers bloom in early fall. David Beaulieu

    Because they bloom later, sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) vines complement other varieties quite nicely.

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  • 06 of 18

    Confederate Jasmine

    Confederate jasmine vine flowering while climbing a wall.
    Lisa Kling/Getty images

    But this vine is a better choice than sweet autumn clematis because the latter is invasive. Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), also commonly called "star jasmine," is native to the American Southeast. It is grown largely for its fragrant flowers, which is the main reason why it is referred to commonly as a "jasmine," since it is actually a member of a completely different genus. Its leaves do, however, offer added value: they are shiny and dark-green. 

    The flowers grow in clusters and bloom in May in many parts of the Southeast. These vines are climbers: They climb by twining and will climb as much as 20 feet up a support. If you don't feel like providing them with an arbor, pergola, etc. to scale, you can still use them as ground covers.

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  • 07 of 18

    White Flowers, Spicy Aroma

    Picture of Koreanspice viburnum flower head.
    Korean Spice Viburnum Picture of Koreanspice viburnum flower head. David Beaulieu

    The white flower clusters of Korean spice viburnum, tinged with pink, have a spicy smell. The blossoms of Korean spice viburnums are among the landscape's most fragrant flowers.

    Beginners in landscaping may be confused by the name "Korean spice viburnum." So if you've avoided this shrub because of a lack of interest in Korean cuisine, it may be time to take a closer look at this versatile plant. The "spice" in its name has nothing to do with your taste buds and everything to do with another of your senses: smell.

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  • 08 of 18

    Bedding Plant, Ground Cover With White Flowers

    White alyssum picture. Sweet white alyssum is an annual.
    White Alyssum White alyssum picture. David Beaulieu

    Mixed with other bedding plants, a carpet of white alyssum can serve as a filler. Alternatively, planted by itself, this annual flower can function as a temporary ground cover. Note that white alyssum is distinct from the perennial, yellow alyssum. Annual alyssum flowers can also be purple or rose, as well as other colors.

    If you're the type of gardener who bothers only with the new and flashy (or who grows nothing but perennials), then white alyssum may not be for you. But if you strive to make your yard look like a million bucks during the summer, there's a place in your landscaping for annuals such as alyssum.

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  • 09 of 18

    Ground Cover With White Flowers

    Picture of snow in summer.
    Snow in Summer Picture of snow in summer. David Beaulieu

    The perennial, snow in summer (or "snow-in-summer") bears white flowers, as its name suggests. But snow in summer is about more than just the blooms. Its silvery foliage recommends it for use in combination with all sorts of other plants, and it has a velvety feel.

    Plants with silver foliage are not only attractive to admire in isolation but can provide an interesting backdrop for the flowers of other plants. The usefulness of snow in summer is not restricted, then, to its blooming period. Try snow in summer in a planting bed featuring the flowers of red salvia, for instance.

    Like white flowers, leaves of a silver color are also great choices for moon gardens, because they show up at night relatively well. Happily, snow in summer has both those attributes going for it. 

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  • 10 of 18

    Mock Orange: Aromatic White Flowers

    Mock orange picture. The flowers of mock orange bear a citrusy smell.
    Old-Time Favorite Shrub Mock orange picture. David Beaulieu

    The wonderfully aromatic shrub, mock orange, is rather unfortunately named for what it is not, rather than for what it is. Mock orange may not be a true orange, but this much is clear: there's no reason to overlook mock orange shrubs. Mock orange merits a place in your yard if you are at all sensitive to scent.

    Readers of Alice in Wonderland will be reminded of the Mock Turtle character in that book, a name based on a soup. In Britain, many years ago, green sea turtle soup was all the rage. But when the main ingredient for the real thing was lacking, another meat (veal, for instance) was substituted and a “mock” appended to the dish’s name to reveal the fraud — when folks were being honest about it, at least.

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  • 11 of 18

    White Flowers, Variegated Leaves

    Picture of daphne with its white flowers. Buds on daphne start out pink but produce white flowers.
    Daphne Shrubs Picture of daphne with its white flowers. David Beaulieu

    White to light pink in color, the tubular flowers of daphne shrubs unfurl in clusters. Daphne shrubs generally bloom in May, but we value 'Carol Mackie' daphne shrubs just as much for their variegated leaves as for their blossoms. The flower buds, which are pink, are just as attractive as the flowers.

    Speaking of the laurels, daphne bears some resemblance to them. This resemblance accounts for the name: in Greek mythology, Daphne was magically changed into a bay laurel to aid her in her escape from Apollo.

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  • 12 of 18

    White Flowers, Sweet Aroma

    Photo of white lilacs. The flowers of lilacs are commonly white, purple, or lavender.
    White Lilacs Photo of white lilacs. David Beaulieu

    Purple, lavender, and white common lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) are all commonly seen in the landscape. There is also a Japanese lilac that blooms in white. In zone 5, lilacs close out the spring season and usher in the summer. Complement your lilacs by growing other shrubs that bloom earlier in spring — deadhead lilacs after they have bloomed.

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  • 13 of 18

    Queen Anne's Lace Flower

    Picture of Queen Anne's Lace Flower
    Flowers bloom in summer. David Beaulieu

    Queen Anne's lace is a wildflower related to the carrot.

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  • 14 of 18

    White Allium Flowers

    Picture of white allium flowers.
    A Garlic Relative Used Ornamentally Flowers bloom in late spring. David Beaulieu

    You don't need rich soil to grow alliums, nor are they eaten by rodent or deer pests. The ornamental flowering alliums, although relatives of plain old garlic, are much more impressive bloomers. Nor are you restricted to white blooms. "Globemaster" allium, for instance, bears striking purple blossoms. This giant, grown in hardiness zones 4-9, stands 35"-40" tall and flowers in late spring. As its name suggests, the blossoms are globe-shaped; and they're huge, measuring several inches across. The flower heads are actually composed of numerous star-shaped florets (up to 1,000 of them).

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  • 15 of 18

    White Cleome Flowers

    Picture of white cleome flowers.
    Also Called "Cat's Whiskers," "Spider Plants" Flowers bloom in summer. David Beaulieu

    White cleome flowers (Cleome hassleriana) are nicknamed "spider plants" and "cat's whiskers." At 3 to 6 feet, cleome flowers are tall enough to be planted in the back row of a planting bed. Although an annual, it reseeds readily. Cleome flowers also come in the colors, pink and purple. Some cleome flowers are bi-colored.

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  • 16 of 18


    Candytuft picture. A perennial flower, candytuft is a brilliant white color.
    Perennial With Brilliant White Blossom Candytuft picture. Candytuft has a bright white-colored flower. David Beaulieu

    There are "white" flowers, and then there are "brilliant-white" blossoms. Candytuft falls into the latter category. A perennial plant, candytuft's bright white blossom glistens like few others in the garden.

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  • 17 of 18

    Sweet Woodruff

    Picture of sweet woodruff. As this picture of sweet woodruff shows is a groundcover.
    Groundcover With White Flowers Picture of sweet woodruff. As this picture of sweet woodruff shows, the groundcover can grow under trees. David Beaulieu

    This sweet woodruff thrives under a Kwanzan cherry tree. Its ability to grow under trees makes sweet woodruff a valuable groundcover, as many plants do not grow at all well under trees.

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  • 18 of 18

    Dwarf Deutzia

    Dwarf deutzia.
    David Beaulieu

    Dwarf deutzia (Deutzia gracilis Nikko) is a short shrub (2 feet) and is therefore often treated as a ground cover rather than as a typical shrub. It spreads out to a width of 5 feet at maturity. While its white flowers are not big, they do occur in clusters, thereby forming a nice, bright display.