Few sights are lovelier than an all-white perennial flower garden in the moonlight. When choosing plants for a bed of white flowers —or just selecting a few to contrast with more colorful neighbors—gardeners have countless choices. Some white perennials, including baby’s breath and Queen Anne’s lace, grow only in that hue. Others are variations of a parent plant, as with the white hardy cyclamen, a flower not as well known as its pink counterpart.
Queen Anne ’s Lace
Queen Anne’s lace, often dismissed as a weed living in “waste spaces,” offers a lovely, filigreed silhouette in any garden. Technically a biennial, the wildflower self-seeds freely enough to ensure a yearly presence. Give it full sun, but don’t waste time and money fertilizing your Queen Anne’s lace patch; the flowers do just fine in poor soil.
Like Queen Anne’s lace, common yarrow sometimes gets passed over in favor of more pedigreed plants. But this useful herb, sometimes used to treat greasy skin and minor wounds, looks just as handsome in a perennial garden as the yellow version more commonly used in gardens. It features flat disks of tiny white blossoms, and works well in the back of a flower bed.
The cream-colored plumes of goat’s beard top this five-foot plant, making it a striking back-border plant. Plant it where it can get some shade and moist soil.
This low-growing herb thrives in sunny spots. The apple-scented leaves release their fragrance when walked upon, making chamomile a centuries-old favorite for walkways and herbal lawns. Resembling tiny daisies, chamomile flowers sport white petals with yellow centers.
Another white-flowering ground cover, candytuft prefers sunny sites. In an all white garden, try this creeping plant at the base of other white-flowering perennials, including white hydrangea or rose bushes. An early spring bloomer, candytuft bears clusters of small, bright white blossoms set strikingly against dark green foliage.
Use rockcress as you might candytuft or chamomile—perhaps even in combination with these other two white-flowering ground covers—by planting it where it can spread and receive full sun. White rockcress grows handsomely in rock gardens, or in front of taller plants. It does best in dry soil.
Plant white varieties of hardy cyclamen in shady spots—at the base of bushes or trees, along a foundation or in a shade garden. The 6-inch-tall plants bloom in the fall.
Other White Flowers
Additional white perennials to consider in your garden include the white versions of bleeding hearts and foxgloves, both shade lovers with cascading bell-like flowers; any of the white roses; bloodroot, a ground cover bursting with delicate flowers in the spring; baby’s breath, which grows to about 2 feet and bears small, delicate blossoms; boltonia, featuring daisy-like flowers growing in masses amid mist-like foliage; feverfew, another daisy lookalike; and the daisies themselves, a group that includes the common daisy, the white gerbera daisy and the Shasta daisy.