Plan a White Garden for Summer Evenings.  

A white garden is a natural to plan for if you spend a lot of time on the patio, deck or terrace on your summer evenings grilling or entertaining.  Light-colored blooms really stand out in the evening light, and if you include scented things like gardenias, nicotiana and jasmine you can make magic in the summer evenings.  Use the famous White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle for inspiration when planning your garden.  You don't have to have the same climate as southern England.  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden  The trick is to use plants that are appropriate for your soil, rainfall and temperature conditions. There is a wide selection of annuals, bulbs, perennials, shrubs and trees to choose from.  Here are some great ideas.

The White Garden at Sissinghurst CastleThe White Garden at Sissinghurst near the end of May. The roses were just beginning to bloom, the big Rosa mulliganii on the arbor not in bloom yet, the featured plants at the time were white irises, dame’s rocket, alliums.

Annuals for a White Garden

Euphorbia x 'Diamond Frost'Euphorbia x 'Diamond Frost,' a great annual for containers and borders.

Brugmansia, angel’s trumpet.  These tropical plants have downward facing “trumpets”

Catharanthus roseus, annual vinca

Cleome hassleriana, spider flower, ‘White Queen’

Datura meteloides ‘Evening Fragrance’, also known as moonflower, night-blooming annual.  Beware, however, that this is a prolific self-seeder so seedpods should be picked off before ripening.  It is also poisonous, so should be kept away from children and pets.

Euphorbia x 'Diamond Frost,' hybrid euphorbia

Ipomoea alba, moonflower vine, fragrant annual vine similar to morning glories

Lobularia maritima, sweet alyssum

Mandevilla x, hybrid mandevilla vine, ‘Sun Parasol®

Mirabilis jalapa, four o’clocks, fragrant, opens in the evening

Nicotiana alata, flowering tobacco, fragrant

Nierembergia caerulea ‘Mont Blanc’

Zinnia marylandica, ‘Double Zahara White’

Bulbs for a White Garden

Sinningia tubifloraSinningia tubiflora

Agapanthus africanus ‘Albus,’ white lily-of-the-Nile

Allium cernuum, nodding onion, ‘Album’

Allium tuberosum, garlic chives

Crinum americanum, American spider lily

Eremurus himalaicus, foxtail lily.  Great for a vertical accent.

Eucomis autumnalis, pineapple lily

Gladiolus callianthus, Abyssinian gladiolus or peacock orchid

Gladiolus x hortulanus, hybrid gladiolus, ‘White Friendship.’  Plant every two weeks for a succession of bloom.

Hymenocallis maximiliani, Maximilian's spider lily

Hymenocallis narcissiflora, Peruvian daffodil

Lilium longiflorum, Easter lily.  Commonly forced into bloom for Easter, the normal bloom time is summer.

Lilium orientalis hybrid, ‘Casablanca,’ highly fragrant.  Indispensable.

Lilium philippinense, Philippine or benguet lily.  A very tall lily for back of the border.

Polianthes tuberosa, tuberose, opens at night, very fragrant

Sinningia tubiflora, fragrant white gloxinia

Zantedeschia aethiopica, white calla lily.

Zephyranthes alata, white rain lily

Perennials for a White Garden

Phlox paniculata 'David'Phlox paniculata 'David'

Astilbe x arendsii ‘Bridal Veil,’ ‘White Gloria,’ ‘Younique White’

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot White,’ ‘Dalmatian White’

Echinacea purpurea ‘Fragrant Angel,’ ‘Pow Wow White; ‘White Swan.’

Gaura lindheimeri, gaura, ‘Whirling Butterflies’

Hemerocallis ‘Gentle Shepherd,’ Heidi Eidelweiss,’ ‘Joan Senior,’ ‘Marque Moon,’ ‘Royal Frosting.’  While there are still no pure white daylilies, these are some of the closest to date.

Hibiscus coccineus, swamp hibiscus, ‘Albus’

Hosta plantaginea, plantain lily, ‘Aphrodite’

Leucanthemum x superbum, Shasta daisy

Liatris spicata, blazing star, ‘Floristan White’

Liriope muscari, lilyturf, ‘Monroe’s White’

Phlox paniculata ‘David.’  Pure white flowers, long bloom season and mildew-resistant.

Platydodon grandiflorus, balloon flower, ‘Fuji White’

Salvia nemorosa, meadow sage, Lyrical ‘White’

Stokesia laevis, Stoke’s aster, ‘Silver Moon,’ ‘White Star’

Veronica longifolia, long-leafed speedwell, ‘Icicle’

Veronica spicata, spiked speedwell, Magic Show® ‘White Wands’

Shrubs and Small Trees for a White Garden

Hydrangea paniculata 'Chantilly Lace'Hydrangea paniculata 'Chantilly Lace'

Abelia grandiflora, glossy abelia, ‘Little Richard,’ ‘Prostrata.’ ‘Rose Creek’

Buddleia davidii, butterfly bush, ‘White Bouquet,’ ‘White Profusion’

Clethra alnifolia, summersweet,

Cornus angustata ‘Empress of China’

Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty,’ ‘Veitchii’

Hibiscus syriacus, rose of Sharon, ‘Diana,’ ‘White Chiffon,’ ‘White Pillar’

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle.’ ‘Incrediball’

Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer® ‘Blushing Bride,’ ‘Madame. Emile Moulliere,’ ‘Soeur Thérèse,’ ‘Wedding Gown’

Hydrangea paniculatea ‘Bobo,’ ‘Chantilly Lace,’ ‘Little Lime,’ ‘Unique’

Lagerstroemia indica, crape myrtle, ‘Natchez,’ ‘Pixie White,’ ‘Sarah’s Favorite’

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’

Magnolia virginiana, sweetbay

Nerium oleander, oleander.  Nice as a patio pot plant above Zone 8.

Roses: ‘Flower Carpet White,’ ‘Iceberg,’ ‘Tranquillity’ ‘White Drift®,’ ‘Winchester Cathedral’

Stewartia ovata, mountain stewartia

Gray and Silver-Foliaged Plants for a White Garden

Having all white flowers can become a bit staid, so try adding foliage plants with silver or gray variegated leaves to break it up and keep it lively with clumps of lamb’s ears, dusty miller and artemisia.  It also doesn’t hurt to add a few plants with off-white, or pale-yellow flowers into the mix.  Give it a try and have fun with it!  A white garden is pure magic in the evening.

Anthyrium x hybrida ‘Ghost,’ silvery fern

Anthyrium niponicum, Japanese painted fern

Artemisia abrotanum, Southernwood, very aromatic

Artemisia absinthium, wormwood or absinthe

Artemisia x ‘Huntington Gardens’

Artemisia x ‘Powis Castle’

Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Alexander’s Great’ or ‘Jack Frost’

Buddleia ‘Silver Anniversary’

Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Longwood Blue’

Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Wilmot’s Ghost’

Helichrysum italicum, curry plant.  Borrowed from the herb garden, curry-scented.

Heuchera ‘Glitter,’ ‘Venus’

Jacobaea maritima, dusty miller or silver ragwort (formerly known as Senecio cineraria)

Lavandula angustifolia, lavender

Lychnis coronaria ‘Alba,’ rose campion

Pulmonaria ‘Trevi Fountain,’ lungwort

Salvia argentea, silver sage

Santolina chamaecyparissus, lavender cotton

Stachys byzantina, ‘Helene von Stein,’ lamb’s ear


Return to Home


Plant of the Month

Colchicum 'Waterlily'