GARDENS BY THE BAY
WHITE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS - 2
Christopher Lloyd, in his book COLOR FOR ADVENTUROUS GARDENERS says this about the colour white in the garden: "Cold, staring and assertive, it draws your eye but makes you wish it hadn't."
And Patrick Lima, in his book THE ART OF PERENNIAL GARDENING: CREATIVE WAYS WITH HARDY FLOWERS, also cautions that "white is not always the unifying colour you might imagine".
Heed the advice of the experts and exercise care in the use of white flowers, so you don't create effects you would prefer to avoid. Many of the partnership ideas below come from various gardening experts. Use them to assist in choosing appropriate companions.
* Watch for the animated hummingbird and butterfly with the plants that attract them. *
The deer icon indicates plants that deer are not usually attracted to.
The best time and method to propagate plants can be found on our image-intensive PROPAGATION page.
To help your plants grow their best, check out our FERTILIZATION page.
To create your own plant partnerships based on tried and true color theory, check out our GARDEN COLOR page.
To see if a particular plant is on this page press Ctrl+F, type in the name, then click the Find button.
I can't find much information about this perennial so I welcome input from anyone who can tell me more about this plant with aster-like blooms. It was supposed to have white flowers but when my plant finally bloomed this year the colour was a lovely light lavender shade. And it didn't start to bloom until into the month of October.
Kalimeris mongolica 'Hortensis': Double Japanese Aster
synonym: Asteromoea mongolica
use as: a filler in the garden
nice with: nearly everything (long bloom time)
Follow the link below for more information and ideas.
Kalimeris with variegated foliage
A mat-forming semi-evergreen perennial for partial shade, Dead Nettle usually has variegated foliage and flowers in a variety of colours, including white.
Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy'
Follow the links below for partnership ideas and helpful information about this lovely plant with the terrible-sounding common name.
Lamiums in shade
Lamiums with silver foliage
Lamiums with variegated foliage
Edelweiss is a spring-flowering perennial with silvery, woolly foliage and wonderful white flowers.
Leontopodium alpinum: Edelweiss, woolly white flowers
where: gravel gardens, well-drained rock garden
If you have a sunny location and rich, well-drained soil Gayfeather will provide you with lush mid-summer bloom. In addition to the many forms with spikes of purple or purple-pink flowers, there are choices in white as seen below.
Liatris spicata: white forms
Liatris spicata 'Floristan White'
Liatris of other colours and the perennials that make suitable partners are also featured at the links below.
various Liatris forms
The Lily is one of the most loved perennials for sunny sites. If the colour white is what you are looking for, make your choice from the forms outlined below. An unnamed lily cultivar forms the border around this page and is in the image at the top of the page.
Lilium candidum: pure white Trumpet Madonna Lily
where to use: "Moon" Gardens
Lilium martagon: ivory
with: Gypsophila paniculata, Monarda didyma (red), Delphinium (blue)
Lilium martagon album: white form of Lilium martagon
with: Rosemary, Lavandula
Lilium 'Apollo': white Hybrid Asiatic Lily
where: patio planters, perennial borders
with: dwarf Rhododendron
Lilium: an unnamed white cultivar
Find a wealth of Lilies at the links below. Use the recommended companions or choose some of your own. You're sure to love the result.
this lily is stark white, a colour that may be difficult to blend in with other white flowers
above: echoing the white stripe in the centre of Ornamental Grass foliage
A clump-forming perennial, Statice blooms in late summer in a cloud of colour, usually purple shades, but is also available in white.
Limonium latifolium: Sea Lavender, Statice
not a synonym for: Goniolinum tataricum which is German Statice or Dumosa
where: borders, seaside gardens
with: Iris, Phlox, Echinacea purpurea, Lilium, Liriope spicata, Helenium, Platycodon, Achillea, Aster,
If you need more information about this genus, visit the link below.
Gaura lindheimeri, Tanacetum vulgare
with: Ornamental Grasses
behind: Salvia argentia
beside: Allium tuberosum
to lighten: Phlox paniculata, Lilium, Echinacea purpurea, Helenium, Platycodon, Iris
in front of: Sedum spectabile 'Stardust'
not beside: small-flowered Michaelmas Daisies, Chrysanthemum parthenium (they dilute its effectiveness)
Perennial Flax is an upright perennial with fine-textured foliage and open flowers on slender stems. They sway in the lightest breeze and spent flowers drop to the ground, only to be replaced by new blooms. Usually available in blue, there is also a white form.
Linum perenne 'White Diamond': compact, white Flax
with: Linum perenne 'Sapphire'
Other colours of Flax are available. Check out the following links to see whether any of the choices would fit into your garden design. They are all lovely.
An excellent groundcover choice for late summer bloom, Lilyturf grows in sun or shade, under trees or along a path. Purple is the usual colour although white is available as well.
Liriope muscari 'Monroe White': reseeds
where: as groundcover in shade
with: Liriope muscari 'Majestic'
If you are having trouble with a shady spot in your garden, consider the Lilyturf as a possible solution. Check out the link below for information and companions.
Liriope for shade
Liriope with variegated foliage
Honesty is a biennial which produces blooms, followed by coin-shaped seedheads, hence the other common name, Money Plant. The outer skin of these papery pods can be removed and the pods used in dried arrangments.
Lunaria annua: Money Plant, Honesty
formerly: Lunaria biennis
where: shady sites
with: Kerria japonica, Forsythia, Loddon Lilium, Tulipa (white or bright red), Galtonia candicans
Learn more about this self-seeding biennial by following the link below.
Money Plant with silver foliage
If you find the scarlet flowers of many Campion forms difficult to place in the garden, there are several choices in white to make plant partnership choices somewhat easier. Correct pronunciation of this genus is LICK-niss.
Lychnis: Campion, white forms
with: Lavandula, Nepeta, Lilium (white or pale pink)
Lychnis coronaria 'Alba': white-flowered Rose Campion
generally with: pastel or white border schemes
Lychnis coronaria 'Angel Blush': mostly white with delicate pink markings
Campion colours are varied. For more choices and potential partners, visit our links below.
this is a lovely change from the usual magenta-coloured form of this perennial
Lychnis with silver foliage
Available in several yellow forms, Loosestrife can also provide white in the garden with the form below.
Lysimachia clethroides: Gooseneck Loosestrife, 3', July-September
The Loosestrife forms at the links below will add interest to your gardens. Partner them as recommended for extra effect.
Loosestrife for shade
Loosestrife with variegated foliage
where: in sun to part shade, perennial borders, woodlands, waterside
sideplant with: spring bulbs, esp. Narcissus
with: Monarda, Heliopsis
with: Iris sibirica, Ligularia dentata or Ligularia stenocephala, Filipendula, Hosta, ferns
fall colour combination with: Bergenia & Platycodon
In well-drained soil, with full sun to light shade, the Mallow can be used to provide a valuable taller accent in the garden. Somewhat like a small hibiscus flower, the rose, pink or white blooms combine well with other mid-summer bloomers.
Malva moschata 'Alba': white Musk Mallow, 24-36", July-Sept. bloom
If you want more Malva in your beds, see what effects you might create with the suggestions at the link below.
with: Phlox paniculata, Achillea, Liatris, Artemisia, Eryngium, Antique Roses, wildflowers
with: Mums (now called Dendranthema)
Bee Balm, or Bergamot, prefers moist well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Keep them well-watered and they will reward you with masses of bloom in a variety of colours including white.
Monarda didyma 'Snow Queen': white
with: Hemerocallis 'Cherry Cheeks' (a raspberry-pink)
Bee Balms and their companions will add wonderful effects to your gardens. Consider any of the forms and combinations suggested below.
numerous Bee Balms
blue Bee Balms
pink Bee Balms
red Bee Balms
Now that I have a somewhat shaded spot in which to garden, I can finally grow Sweet Cicely, a lovely and graceful perennial with aromatic, ferny foliage and white flowers in early summer. I can tell already it will become a favourite.
Do you need more information about growing this perennial with lovely foliage? Try the link below.
more Sweet Cicely
The Peony is a staple in most gardens, in a variety of colour choices, including white. Always take the time to dead-head spent flowers and cut stems back to below the foliage that, for this little effort, will remain attractive for the rest of the gardening season. Nothing is sadder in a garden than to see such a lovely plant left to flop onto the ground after, or even during, its spring to early summer bloom.
Paeonia lactiflora: white
Paeonia 'Nick Shaylor': white with red-flecked petals
this is the peony shown in the border around this page and in the image at the top of the page
white combination behind: Geranium sanguineum 'Album'
with: Thalictrum aquilegiafolium (a white form)
with: Veronica teucrium 'Shirley Blue'
for an echo with: Potentilla 'Gibson's Scarlet'
Look for Peonies of other colours at the links below. By themselves or with the partners suggested by gardening experts, they can provide season-long interest with their foliage and seasonal accents with their wonderful colours.
Mock Orange is an old-fashioned shrub with fragrant white flowers, single or double, in early summer.
Philadelphus coronarius: Mock Orange, an old fashioned shrub for early summer bloom
underplant with: Erythronium, Scilla, Chionodoxa
Mention the word Phlox and many different colour choices come to mind. But don't forget that there are white forms that may bring less impact to a garden scene but are lovely nonetheless in their simplicity. Phlox paniculata is particularly unappealing to deer.
Phlox carolina'Miss Lingard': early-blooming June-July
Phlox paniculata: white forms
Phlox paniculata 'Mt. Fujiyama'
Phlox paniculata 'White Admiral'
Phlox subulata: white forms
Phlox of many colours and for different situations can be accessed, along with suitable companions for each, at the following links.
numerous Phlox forms
Phlox as edgers
Phlox for shade
Phlox with variegated foliage
The white forms of Obedient Plant, or False Dragonhead, I have grown tend to be shorter than the more colourful types, and are therefore able to fill a completely different spot front to mid-border.
Physostegia virginiana: Obedient Plant, white forms
combined with other whites: Lilium 'Casa Blanca', Liatris 'Floristan White', Phlox paniculata 'Mt. Fujiyama'
Physostegia virginiana 'Alba': pure white Obedient Plant,18-24"
with: pink Echinacea purpurea, Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
with: Boltonia asteroides (pink form), Phlox paniculata, Thalictrum (late-blooming species)
with: Eupatorium, Solidago, Helianthus, Ornamental Grasses
More Obedient Plant forms, with partners recommended by gardening experts, are available at the link that follows.
pink Obedient Plant
The inflated buds of Balloon Flower cry out to the child in all of us to "pop" them to become their distinct shallow, bell-shaped flowers. Place this perennial in full sun to light shade and provide rich, well-drained soil to ensure best performance.
Platycodon grandiflorus: white forms
Platycodon grandiflorus 'Album': white, 30-40"
with: Platycodon grandiflorus (deep blue) or Platycodon grandiflorus 'Sentimental Blue'
with: Liatris 'Kobold'
Looking for more about this genus and all the amazing cultivars it offers? Just follow the links below.
blue Balloon Flower forms
pink Balloon Flower forms
purple Balloon Flower forms
the "special" Balloon Flower
Commonly called Jacob's Ladder or Greek Valerian, this genus has many forms totally content in a woodland setting. Cup-shaped flowers appear in clusters in late spring or early summer. Most commonly grown are the lavender-blue forms, but there are lovely ones available in other colours as well, including white in the form below.
Polemonium caeruleum 'Album': White Jacob's Ladder, 18-24"x12"
where: in masses under shrubs or airy flowering trees
Check out the links below for more Jacob's Ladder information and partnership ideas.
blue Jacob's Ladder
purple Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder in shade
Jacob's Ladder with variegated foliage
Solomon's Seal, whether the foliage is solid green or variegated, is a graceful perennial that provides white blooms on arching stems. Use this perennial to bring architectural structure to a shady area in your garden.
Polygonatum odoratum: Solomon's Seal
Go to the link below for more ideas on the use of Solomon's Seal.
Solomon's Seal in shade
Solomon's Seal with variegated foliage
Self-Heal produces a ground-covering mat of foliage, topped with short flower spikes, white in the cultivar named below, in sun or shade, in moist well-drained soil.
Prunella grandiflora 'Alba': white Self-Heal, 12"
with: ferns, Hosta, Astilbe, spring bulbs
The Pasque Flower is a spring-blooming perennial with fuzzy leaves and flowers that are followed by fluffy white seed heads. Dead-head faithfully and new flowers stems will appear from the base to extend the flowering period considerably.
Pulsatilla vulgaris: Pasque Flower, all colours including white
formerly: Anemone pulsatilla
where: rock gardens. borders
with: bulbs, Arabis, Aurinia saxatilis, Iberis sempervirens, Aquilegia
with: Narcissus 'Accent' (in a woodland setting)
over: early Crocus
behind: Primula spp.
in front of: Anemone blanda
Pulsatilla vulgaris 'White Bells': white Pasque Flower
If you don't grow this perennial yet, be sure to try it soon in any of its flower or foliage colour forms.
try this white cultivar with any of the combinations suggested above
Pasque Flower with silver foliage
The perennial Sage plant does not immediately bring the colour white to mind. But there are lovely white forms, including the one below, that can be used to bring a soothing tone to sites in full sun or light shade and well-drained soil.
Salvia nemorosa 'Schneehugel'
synonym: Salvia nemorosa 'Snow Hill'
with: Tanacetum coccineum (red or pink), blue Salvia, Lychnis (Red Campion)
Salvias of other colours and the plants that can be used to complement them can be found at the links below.
Salvias to attract Hummingbirds
Salvias with silver foliage
Salvias with variegated foliage
Bloodroot, whether in single or double form, is a wonderful early spring blooming perennial whose lovely white flowers precede the large, somewhat heart-shaped foliage.
Sanguinaria canadensis: Bloodroot, Red Puccoon
where: woodland gardens, groundcover under shrubs
soil preference: acidic, humusy and damp
with: Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-Pulpit), wildflowers
with: Galanthus nivalis, ferns, spring bulbs
with: Uvularia grandiflora
combined with: Hosta, Polemonium & Mertensia virginica
woodland combination with: Iris cristata & Stylophorum diphyllum
with: Phlox divaricata, Tiarella cordifolia or Tiarella wherryi
with: Heuchera (purple-leaved forms), Disporum sessile 'Variegatum' (18" spring woodland bulb)
Sanguinaria canadensis 'Flore Pleno': Double Puccoon, pure white double
the double form above will be complemented by any of the early-blooming companions suggested for the single form
with: Pulmonaria (blue, for a brilliant contrast)
with: Pulmonaria (pink, for a more subtle contrast)
Burnet, known for its white bottlebrush flower spikes, will thrive in sun and moist soil.
Sanguisorba canadensis: Canadian Burnet
where: rear border position
with: Aconitum carmichaelii (A. fischeri), Phlox paniculata, Aster, Boltonia asteroides
with: Sedum including 'Autumn Joy', Ornamental Grasses
Pincushion Flower, well known for its so-called "blue" forms is also available in white. This is not only excellent in the garden but provides good cut flowers as well.
Scabiosa caucasica 'Alba': a white version of 'Fama'
with: Scabiosa caucasica 'Fama' (blue)
Scabiosa caucasica 'Perfecta Alba': pure white, long-blooming
Pincushion Flowers are also featured at the links below.
pink Pincushion Flower
yellow Pincushion Flower
in front of: Hosta fortunei 'Picta'
In full sun and well-drained soil, Stonecrop will provide you with many interesting foliage choices and flower colours, with white being the one colour you least expect of this perennial. Try the form below for a different effect. I read recently that only the Border Varieties attract butterflies.
Sedum spectabile 'Stardust': blue-green foliage, white flowers
Follow the links below for more Sedum information and partnership ideas.
Sedums as edgers
Sedums with silver foliage
Sedums with variegated foliage
A woodland beauty, Solomon's Plume or False Solomon's Seal has fuzzy white flowers from 5-9" in length over graceful, arching stems arising from satiny pointed leaves. Use it in humus-rich soil in partial to full shade.
Smilacina racemosa: Solomon's Plume
where: with woodland plants or foliage plants, under trees and flowering shrubs
with: Aquilegia, Hosta, ferns, Dicentra, Pulmonaria, Epimedium, wildflowers
Want to more about this plant? Visit the link below.
Smilacina in shade
Meadow Rue produces airy blooms over foliage much like that of the Columbine. Plant them in moist, rich soil in full sun to part shade for the best performance.
Thalictrum aquilegiafolium: white forms
with: dark red double Aquilegia backed by red-leaved Berberis & blue-flushed-pink foliage of Rosa glauca
all white combination with: Paeonia (white) & Geranium (white)
with: Paeonia (pink or crimson) & Campanula lactiflora (lavender)
Thalictrum aquilegifolium 'Album': white
Meadow Rues are lovely plants and deserve to be used more often. Check out the link below for more information.
pink Meadow Rue
The Foamflower is another perennial perfect for partial to full shade. Soil should be slightly acidic, as preferred by many woodland species. Enjoy the white spring-blooming flowers that appear on dark stems over interesting triangular leaves that remain interesting when the plant is out of bloom.
For more information about this must-have perennial, go to the link that follows.
Foamflower in shade
Spiderwort has early three-petalled flowers growing in clusters on top of jointed stems. These flowers close by early afternoon. When the plant starts to look tired after the initial bloom, cut the foliage back to force new leaves to appear.
Tradescantia x andersoniana: white
Tradescantia x andersoniana 'Snowcap': large, purest-white
with: anything purple to "echo" the colour of the lovely purple stamens
with: Iris (dark red forms)
with: Tradescantia x andersoniana 'Zwanenburg Blue' or 'Red Cloud'
Do you grow Spiderwort? If not, you might want to start with any of the forms on the following pages.
Woodlander par excellence, the Trillium with its generally white flowers puts on its early show, then returns to dormancy.
Choose appropriate partners for your Trilliums from the suggestions at the link below.
Trilliums in shade
Trilliums with variegated foliage
Tulips come in a multitude of shapes and sizes including white. Helping them achieve a relatively dry dormancy period and providing ample water and food during spring growth will assure continued years of bloom.
Tulipa: white forms
Tulips of many colours, sizes, heights, shapes and scents can be found at the links below.
Tulips with variegated foliage
Mullein, a biennial, has showy foliage in a basal rosette and, in its second year, distinctive stalks smothered in flowers. Give them full sun and average well-drained soil for best results.
Verbascum chaixii 'Album': White Mullein, 3', white with purple stamens
with: Campanula lactiflora (light lavender)
behind: Hemerocallis (early peach or melon forms, miniature-full size) & Lychnis chalcedonica (scarlet Maltese Cross)
with: Centaurea macrocephala, Hemerocallis (rust red), Turk's Cap Lilium (yellow), fronted by Alchemilla mollis
Verbascum phoeniceum 'Flush of White': pure white
with: Centranthus ruber, Heuchera sanguinea
More Mulleins can be found at the link below.
Mulleins with silver foliage
Speedwell was one of the first perennials I purchased when I began gardening many years ago. I still have divisions from that original purple-flowered plant today, and have since added the wonderful white-flowered form below.
Veronica longifolia 'Icicle': a good white, 18-24"
Spectacular Speedwells and their recommended companions can be accessed at the links below.
this white form forms the border around this page and can be seen in the images at the top of the page and directly above
with rounded plants: Coreopsis, Asclepias tuberosa, Achillea, Geranium spp
with: Hemerocallis, Ornamental Grasses
with other Veronica forms: Veronica spicata 'Red Fox' and/or 'Blue Peter' and/or 'Blue Charms' and/or 'Icicle'
Veronica with silver foliage
Culver's Root, a native North American wildflower, is an elegant plant for the rear of a sunny border. Spreading into impressive clumps, it produces whorled leaves on its stems and flowers in wands stretching high above. Keep well watered to encourage their best performance.
Veronicastrum virginicum 'Album': Culver's Root, white form
Learn more about Veronicastrum, sometimes called Veronica virginica, at the link that follows.
Myrtle, or Periwinkle, provides spring bloom on trailing, wiry stems that root as they spread. Provide part shade and your only problem will be to keep them within the limits you wish to set as their boundary.
Vinca minor 'Alba': clear white Periwinkle
with: Vinca minor (blue forms)
For other flower and leaf colours you might want to consider, try the links below.
Periwinkle with variegated foliage
Spring flowers known to all who love to walk in the woods, Violas have two upper and three lower petals, joined in a short spur. They belong to either the stemmed or stemless type depending on their growth habits. Both types prefer moist, rich soil in light to full shade.
Viola cornuta 'Alba'
never with: other Viola species
Viola cornuta 'White Perfection': pure white
where: edger along shady walk
with: Viola cornuta 'Jersey Gem'
Viola odorata 'White Czar': white with purple markings, fragrant
where: beneath shrubs
with: Narcissus 'February Gold' or Narcissus 'February Silver'
over: Narcissus cyclamineus
Adam's Needle, sometimes also called Spanish Bayonet, produces huge clumps of swordlike foliage that can be used as a garden accent. Large clusters of bell-shaped white flowers appear on sturdy stalks arising from that foliage.
Yucca filamentosa: Adam's Needle
where: dry borders, rock gardens, seaside gardens, as accent or specimen plant
for foliage contrast with: soft-leaved perennials
with: Hemerocallis, Ornamental Grasses
with other drought-tolerant perennials: Sedum, Lavandula, Thymus, Stachys byzantina, Verbena
Yes, there is foliage variegation in Yuccas, as well. Try the link below for more ideas.
Yuccas with variegated foliage
TO RETURN TO THE FIRST PAGE OF WHITE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW.
All of our own Gardens By The Bay pages can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
GARDEN POETRY |
GARDEN POETRY MUSE
GEORGIAN BAY VIEW
BOTANICAL LATIN - BASICS
CORNER GARDEN CONSTRUCTION  |
CORNER GARDEN PLANTING |
EAST GARDEN |
HOSTA GARDEN |
NORTH GARDEN |
BLUE PERENNIALS Aconitum -
Iris - Vinca
BULBS Allium - Hyacinthus |
Narcissus only |
Tulipa only |
BUTTERFLY MAGNETS Anaphalis - Hemerocallis |
Liatris - Veronicastrum
DAYLILIES Spider & Unusual Form
EDGERS Arabis - Iris |
Nepeta - Veronica
Alchemilla - Tanacetum
HOSTA Hosta - all
HUMMINGBIRD-FRIENDLY PERENNIALS Alcea - Salvia
ORANGE PERENNIALS Achillea - Tulipa
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES Acorus - Imperata |
Miscanthus - Spodiopogon
PINK PERENNIALS Achillea - Lilium |
Lychnis - Veronica
PURPLE PERENNIALS Aconitum - Liatris |
Polemonium - Veronica
RED PERENNIALS Achillea - Veronica
SHADE PERENNIALS Aegopodium - Erythronium |
Ferns - Polemonium |
Polygonatum - Vinca
SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS
Achillea - Cerastium
Cornus - Limonium
Lunaria - Veronica
SIMPLY SPECIAL PERENNIALS Acanthus - Saxifraga
WHITE PERENNIALS Achillea - Iris |
Kalimeris - Yucca
YELLOW PERENNIALS Achillea - Hypericum |
Inula - Verbascum
VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS Acorus - Erythronium |
Hakonechloa - Lysimachia |
Miscanthus - Yucca
Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies' |
Geum coccineum |
Kerria japonica |
Paeonia tenuifolia |
Papaver somniferum |
Salvia 'East Friesland'
Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'
DIVISION - SPRING ONLY |
DIVISION - FALL ONLY |
DIVISION - SPRING OR FALL |
DO NOT DIVIDE
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES |
LOCAL GARDENS |
GARDENING BOOKS |