White Flowering Shrubs-Five Stand Outs
I love color and use a lot of it in my gardens. Since my favorite gardening style is a cottage garden, my flower gardens can often be a riot of color. I suppose that is one of the reasons that some of my favorite flowering shrubs have white blooms.
Shrubs provide the backbone of most planting areas and are often not easily moved, so it makes sense to plant shrubs that will work with most any color perennial plant. White blooming shrubs win that contest hands down. White flowers will work with any and every other color of flowering plants and can often help to blend colorful blooms that might otherwise clash. I have never done it yet, but have often thought of a all white garden and these shrubs combined would provide a start in that direction.
Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spiraea prunifolia) is an early spring blooming deciduous shrub and has been used in gardens for years. You can often see huge ones blooming around old homesteads.
Bridal wreath spirea grows quickly with lovely arching branches. It blooms before the leaves appear and a mature bridal wreath spirea in full bloom is absolutely beautiful. Once the blooms fade, the shrub begins to put on rather small leaves.
While the looks are not outstanding when not in bloom, it makes up for it while it is blooming. This spirea spreads by runners, that are easily dug up and transplanted. A transplanted runner, consisting of nothing more than a single branch will easily become a nice sized shrub in two to three years.
Bridal wreath spirea will eventually reach a height of around six to eight feet with a width a wide or wider. The width can be controlled somewhat by digging up runners.
Anne Russell Viburnum (V. × burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’) is one of the many cultivars of the burkwood viburnum family. The viburnum family is a large one with several varieties having fragrant flowers, but the Burkwoods are the most fragrant and the Anne Russell cultivar is deliciously so.
This shrub has pale pink buds that open into beautiful, fragrant three inch white blooms in early April. The leaves are a glossy, leathery green making the Anne Russell viburnum a stand out even when not in bloom. The foliage turns somewhat red in fall and while I have only been growing this shrub for three years it has been semi evergreen in my garden.
Anne Russell viburnum will mature to about six feet wide and eight feet tall.
Annabelle Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’) is another one of my picks for stand out white flowering shrubs. I love all hydrangeas, but Annabelle really puts on a show when in bloom. The blooms are made up of many small flowers clustered into a huge flower head that can be as large as a foot across.
If you need a shrub that can make an impact at a distance, then Annabelle will fit the bill perfectly. There is a local church where I live that has a beautifully landscaped courtyard garden full of Annabelle hydrangeas. The garden is simply breathtaking in summer when the Annabelles are in full bloom.
Annabelle hydrangeas will grow to be around three to five feet tall and about the same width. Unlike many other hydrangeas, Annabelle flowers on new growth, so those late spring freezes that often zap the buds on hydrangeas that bloom on old wood, won’t effect Annabelle.
Little Henry Sweetspire (itea virginica ‘Sprich’ ) is yet another stand out shrub with with white flowers. Little Henry Sweetspire blooms in late spring with fragrant white tube like blooms. This shrub is quite adaptable as it prefers moist soil, but once established will do very well in regular garden soil. I have mine planted near my front steps and it gets all day hot southern sun and it does very well with only occasional watering.
It is a smaller growing version (to around three feet tall and wide) of Henry’s Garnet itea, which may tell you that this variety also has great fall color. In fall the green foliage turns to a beautiful shade of red, making this shrub a stand out not only when in bloom, but again when the leaves change colors.
Natchez Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia x ‘Natchez’) All crape myrtles are shrubs, but because most of them grow very tall many people prune them into multi trunked trees.
Natchez crape myrtle is one of the tallest growing crape myrtles, growing to about thirty feet tall. A nursery a few miles from my home has one of the prettiest Natchez crape myrtles I have ever seen and it is easily thirty feet tall if not taller.
Aside from the height, another of the things that makes Natchez a stand out is the arching form of the branches. When covered with blooms there is no crape myrtle that looks prettier. And the white seems to add a cooling touch, which we all need in those hot southern summers.
Natchez has a nice orange red fall color and when winter arrives and all the leaves are gone, the beautiful bark on the trunk puts on a show. The bark is peeling and somewhat of a cinnamon color and on somewhat mature crape myrtles really adds some winter interest in the garden.
The Natchez crape myrtle is very fast growing so plant knowing that it will be very large in a few years. Natchez is also very resistant to powdery mildew which is a problem with some other crape myrtle cultivars.
There you have it, five different but beautiful white flowering shrubs, that bloom from spring throughout summer. You can’t go wrong with any of them, and if you are like me you will want them all.