12 Types of White Flowers with Pictures and Growing Guide

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by Max - last update on May 18, 2020, 2:31 am
Types of White Flower

White is the color of perfection, purity, and integrity. It also conveys cleanliness, minimalism, and simplicity.

If you want to add a touch of the characteristics above to your home or garden, or if you just love the color "white", our guide here will help you choose the most common types of plants with beautiful white flowers - all are included with detailed growing tips plus photos.

12 Types of White Flower

1. Baby’s Breath

Baby’s Breath

Scientific Name: Gypsophila paniculata

Mature Size: Up to 3 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Light: Full sun

Water: Low moisture needs

Soil: Alkaline, well-draining

Special Features: Delicate appearance

White Varieties: Gypsophila paniculata ‘Bristol Fairy’, Gypsophila paniculata ‘Festival Star’, Gypsophila paniculata ‘Perfekta’

This perennial plant belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family, which is the carnation family. It grows natively in eastern and central Europe and is cultivated for commercial use in Peru, where it makes up a large portion of their flower export trade. This plant has also been introduced to other areas around the world, for example, in North America, where in some regions, it is considered an invasive species.

Baby’s breath is a popular ornamental plant, though many people will be most familiar with it from its common use in florist arrangements. It is widely used as a filler in bouquets and wreaths to provide a soft and airy backdrop for other flowers. In the garden, it typically grows to three feet tall with a similar-sized spread. It features small, dainty, blue-green foliage and produces sprays of tiny white flowers that bloom from early summer through to fall.

The plant has a mounding habit and works well to fill gaps between fading bulb flowers and early summer bloomers. It is easy to grow and maintenance-free, preferring to be left alone once mature. It is tolerant of drought once established and grows best in slightly alkaline, dry soils.


2. Tulip

Tulip

Scientific Name: Tulipa sp.

Mature Size: Up to 3 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8

Light: Full sun

Water: Average water needs

Soil: Well-draining

Special Features:

White Varieties: Tulipa ‘Purissima’-Fosteriana Tulip, Tulipa ‘White Parrot’-Parrot Tulip, Tulipa ‘Inzell’-Triumph Tulip

Tulips are a flowering bulb that belongs to the Liliaceae family. There are thought to be around 75 native species, as well as hundreds more of cultivated hybrids, which are referred to as botanical tulips. All tulips can be categorized into fifteen different groups, which further still can be separated into three main categories; early flowering tulips, mid-season flowering tulips, and late-season flowering tulips. Tulips are one of the most popular and commonly used bulbs today and should be planted in late summer or early fall before rising out of the ground and blooming the following year.

Tulips are noted for their strong stems, which can hold the blooms several feet high with no support. The flowers themselves take various forms depending on the variety. Some have rigid cupped blooms, while others are ruffled and feather-like. They come in a huge variety of colors, but some of the most stunning tulips are white, with an elegant and classic look. They grow best in evenly moist soils that are well-draining and fertile.


3. Calla Lily

Calla Lily

Scientific Name: Zantedeschia sp.

Mature Size: Up to 2 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8-10

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

Special Features: Exceptional cut flowers

White Varieties: Zantedeschia ‘Captain Ventura’, Zantedeschia ‘Crystal Blush’, Zantedeschia ‘Crystal Clear’

These perennial plants belong to the Araceae family, rather than the lily family, and in fact, are not true lilies at all. They grow easily from rhizomes and can be kept indoors as houseplants or grown outside in containers, beds, or borders. These plants are native to South Africa, where they are accustomed to warm temperatures and plenty of light. They are very popular as cut flowers as they have a vase life of over two weeks and are commonly used in bouquets of religious ceremonies such as weddings, as they signify beauty and rebirth.

The flowers of the calla lily bloom from summer through to fall. They are trumpet-shaped, and come in various colors, though white varieties are the most popular. The blooms of this plant are not true flowers but are actually special types of leaves called a spathe. The spathe is surrounded by a yellow spadix, which is where the real flowers are. They are tiny and insignificant, usually yellow, and cover the entire spadix. The ‘flowers’ sit atop tall and sturdy leafless stems. The foliage of the plant sits at the base and is green and arrow-shaped.


4. Common Snowdrop

Common Snowdrop

Scientific Name: Galanthus nivalis

Mature Size: Up to 10 inches tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

Special Features: Low maintenance

White Varieties: Galanthus nivalis ‘Magnet’, Galanthus nivalis ‘Snow White’s Gnome’, Galanthus nivalis ‘Anglesey Abbey’

These plants are perennial bulbs belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family. They are native to a large area in Europe which encompasses Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, and Switzerland, among others. It is also naturalized in many areas across the world, including the UK, Norway, Sweden, the eastern United States, and some Canadian provinces. This plant is well recognized as one of the first plants to bloom each year, heralding that spring is on its way.

The foliage emerges before the plant blooms in early winter. The flowers last until the end of spring, after which the plant gradually fades away before reappearing the following year. The small nodding flowers are elegant and dainty, resting upon stems, which are usually between eight and ten inches high. In ideal conditions, the plant will naturalize easily, and you will notice a larger patch of snowdrops appearing year on year.

These plants can sometimes be troublesome to grow from seed, as often the seeds will not take. However, once established, these plants thrive easily and do not need any regular care or maintenance besides watering. When mature, you can divide the snowdrops and replant elsewhere to create new patches of the plant. They enjoy moist soils in full sun or partially shaded positions.


5. Cape Jasmine

Cape Jasmine

Scientific Name: Gardenia jasminoides

Mature Size: Up to 8 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-11

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Acidic, well-draining

Special Features: Strongly scented flowers

White Varieties: Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’, Gardenia jasminoides ‘Coconut Magic’, Gardenia jasminoides ‘Miami Supreme’

This plant is an evergreen shrub in the Rubiaceae family. It is native to Asia and has been in cultivation in England since the mid-1700s. It is a medium-sized shrub which has a densely branched, rounded habit. The foliage is thick and leathery with a glossy finish, with ovate shaped leaves that are a deep shade of green. By contrast, the flowers of the cape jasmine are a velvety matt texture, which becomes waxy over time. They are a soft creamy white color and have a classical, romantic look to them.

The blooms can be single or double flowers, with the double-flowered varieties being the most popular among gardeners. The flowers are also large and showy, typically measuring between three and four inches across. They have a long blooming period, appearing in the middle of spring and lasting all through the summer. One of the most alluring things about the cape jasmine is its highly fragranced flowers; plant it along a walkway or near a seating area where the scent can be appreciated. This plant grows best in partial shade, ideally with full sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. It can tolerate a full sun position but in hot climates may experience damage from too much sun, which causes the flower buds to drop off before they have bloomed. Keep this plant in a well-drained soil that is consistently moist.


6. Bearded Iris

Bearded Iris

Scientific Name: Iris germanica

Mature Size: Up to 4 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Light: Full sun

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Rich, well-draining

Special Features: Showy blooms

White Varieties: Iris germanica ‘Celestial Flame’, Iris germanica ‘Immortality’, Iris germanica ‘Venita Faye’

These plants are perennials that grow from rhizomes. They are predominantly found growing in dry, cool, mountainous areas across North America, Europe, and Asia. Bearded irises are categorized into three groups; aril, dwarf, and tall. There are vast amounts of cultivars available, with reportedly over 30,000 cultivars available for just tall bearded irises alone. The flowers of the bearded iris are easily identifiable. They have heavily ruffled petals, with some drooping down to become the ‘beard.’ They are available in a wide range of colors and sizes, with something that will appeal to every gardener.

Most of these plants will bloom heavily in late spring through to summer, and some are capable of blooming for a second time in the fall. Their foliage is sword-shaped and continues to add interest to the landscape even once the flowers have faded. These plants grow vigorously, and form clumps over time as the rhizomes spread underground. They perform best in a full sun position and can tolerate partial shade but will produce fewer flowers in this instance.


7. Stephanotis

Stephanotis

Scientific Name: Stephanotis floribunda

Mature Size: Up to 20 feet long

USDA Hardiness Zone: 10-12

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average water needs

Soil: Well-draining

Special Features: Long blooming period

This plant, also known as the Madagascar jasmine, is an evergreen climbing vine that is native to Madagascar. Despite its common name, it is not related to the true jasmine, but the scented flowers resemble the fragrance that jasmines produce, and the small flowers have a similar look. This plant is very frost tender and so can only be grown outside in climates which are mild all year round. They perform best when kept at around 70°F throughout summer and 55°F during winter. The plants have been known to tolerate winter temperatures as low as 40°F, but they can be temperamental to drastic drops in temperature, so it’s best to keep them in a fairly consistent environment. If your climate drops lower than 40°F in winter, you can move the plant to a greenhouse until temperatures rise again in spring, though ensure the plant still has plenty of sunlight. Outside of USDA zones 10 and upwards, this plant is popularly kept indoors as a houseplant, where it thrives in bright and humid sunrooms.

When grown outside, this vine can reach up to 20 feet long, though as a houseplant rarely grows longer than four feet. It has attractive, dark green, leathery foliage, which has a glossy texture. The trumpet-shaped flowers are white and waxy, opening up to measure up to two inches across. The flowers bloom for a long time, appearing in spring and lasting right through to fall. This plant likes its roots to be kept cool, so consider mulching the soil to achieve this, or shade the bottom of the plant with other smaller plants. Whether inside or outside, the stephanotis will need support for its climbing vines, whether that be stakes in a planter or a trellis along a fence.

Water the plant when the topsoil is dry to the touch and ensure the soil is well-draining to avoid root rot. The plant thrives in full sun but will appreciate some afternoon shade in the heat of summer to avoid scorching. This plant has received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.


8. Clematis

Clematis

Scientific Name: Clematis sp.

Mature Size: Up to 40 feet long

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-11

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture needs

Soil: Well-draining

Special Features: Large flowers

White Varieties: Clematis ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’, Clematis ‘Gillian Blades’, Clematis ‘Hyde Hall’

These plants are flowering, climbing vines, belonging to the Ranunculaceae family. They predominantly originate from Asia. There are over 250 species and cultivars of clematis, with most of them being vigorous growers with woody stems. Some, which are suitable for colder locations, are deciduous, while others can be evergreen. Depending on their variety, they have different blooming times, with some being early bloomers, and some are mid to late-season bloomers. Most varieties of clematis tend to have pink, purple, or white flowers, though many newer hybrids have developed a wider range of colors.

The flowers are rosette-shaped and vary in size from two to six inches across. Clematis are very easy to grow and are popular among gardeners for their versatility. They are able to grow in containers with support, along trellis or arbors, up fences and walls, or even around the trunks of trees and throughout other plants. Their vigorous growth means they work well to create a colorful privacy screen when grown along a trellis fence. Clematis enjoys full sun but can also do well in partial shade. They like to have cool roots, so it is a good idea to mulch their soil, cover it with pebbles, or shade their roots by planting low growing plants around their base. Deadheading flowers, once they are spent, will encourage more blooms.


9. Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Scientific Name: Rhododendron sp.

Mature Size: Up to 10 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-10

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average water needs

Soil: Rich, well-draining

Special Features: Showy flowers

White Varieties: Rhododendron ‘Fragrantissimum’, Rhododendron ‘Dora Amateis’, Rhododendron decorum-Great White Rhododendron

These are woody, flowering medium to large shrubs or small trees that can be deciduous or evergreen. They are predominantly found in Asia, as well as some mountainous regions of North America, but are actually native to a large portion of the globe, including Europe and Australia. There are over 1000 naturally occurring species of rhododendron, as well as over 28,000 hybrid cultivars, which belong to the Ericaceae family. They bloom at various points throughout the year, depending on the variety.

Flowers tend to be elaborate and frilly and gather on trusses to make heavy clusters of blooms. Many are fragrant and colorful, contrasting against leathery green, dark green foliage. Most varieties of rhododendron prefer a partially shaded position, ideally with sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. Some of these plants can tolerate full sun, but most need a somewhat sheltered position to protect them from strong winds. These plants are popularly used as privacy hedges or border shrubs, and can also be grown in containers. They need a well-draining soil, which is kept consistently moist.


10. Garden Phlox

Garden-Phlox

Scientific Name: Phlox paniculata

Mature Size: Up to 4 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average water needs

Soil: Well-draining

Special Features: Prolific bloomer

White Varieties: Phlox paniculata ‘David’, Phlox paniculata ‘Flame White Eye’, Phlox subulata ‘Snowflake’-Creeping Phlox

This perennial plant is native to eastern Canada and the central and eastern United States. It is a perennial with an upright growth habit, and it belongs to the Polemoniaceae family. The flowers of this plant are grouped in clusters called panicles, which is where it gets its scientific name of Phlox paniculata from. The flowers can be pink, red, purple, or white, and they bloom from summer right through to fall, creating a dramatic floral display. This plant has a vigorous growth habit and flowers abundantly. The blooms tend to be open-faced and have five points in a star shape.

The foliage of this plant is bright green and lance-shaped. Garden phlox is enormously popular with gardeners because of its never-failing ability to produce masses of striking flowers, and its long blooming period. The main drawback is that it is highly susceptible to powdery mildew, especially in hot, dry areas, and should always be given space around it to ensure good air circulation. This condition should be looked out for, and any affected stems will need to be pruned and disposed of. Garden phlox performs best in a full sun or lightly shaded position in a moist and well-draining soil.

Deadheading blooms will encourage further flowering but will prevent self-seeding. If you wish to grow your collection of this plant, allow the flowers to fade to seed, and they will disperse to the ground and self-sow to create new plants for the following year.


11. French Hydrangea

French Hydrangea

Scientific Name: Hydrangea macrophylla

Mature Size: Up to 6 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average water needs

Soil: Well-draining

Special Features: Tolerates any soil type

White Varieties: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Madame Emile Mouillere’, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Annabelle’, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lanarth White’

This deciduous shrub is native to Japan and belongs to the Hydrangeaceae family. These plants have large leaves that can measure up to six inches in length. They are usually serrated and dark green and will fade to orange and red before dropping in the fall. These shrubs are known to flower heavily, producing large clusters of flowers, which are a real feast for the eyes. They bloom in summer right through to fall. These shrubs can be used in a variety of ways, as specimen plants, as shrubs, borders, and hedges. They are long-lived plants that can be relied upon to bloom abundantly year on year.

One of the great things about this plant is that it will thrive in almost any soil type, including clay. It is an ideal plant to use if you struggle with failing plants in heavy or infertile soil. These plants prefer a partially shaded position, though they will tolerate full sun if they are kept in consistently moist soil.


12. Persian Buttercup

Persian Buttercup

Scientific Name: Ranunculus asiaticus

Mature Size: Up to 2 feet tall

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8-11

Light: Full sun

Water: Average water needs

Soil: Acidic, sandy, well-draining

Special Features:

White Varieties: Ranunculus asiaticus ‘Delano White’, Ranunculus asiaticus ‘Elegance White’, Ranunculus asiaticus ‘Tecolote White’

These plants are native to parts of Asia, Africa, and Greece. They grow from tuberous roots and can be kept as perennials in warm climates or annuals in cooler climates. They grow stunning semi-double or fully double flowers that have a luscious and romantic appeal. The blooms arrive in abundance and last for up to six weeks. They are popularly used in floral bouquets and make excellent cut flowers with a vase life of around one week. Their foliage is also very decorative, with finely cut dark green leaves.

12 Types of White Flowers with Pictures and Growing Guide

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