How to Create a White Flower Garden This Spring

Create a beautiful shade or moon garden with all-white flowers.

White flowers framing a walkway in background

Anna Blazhuk / Getty Images

  • Working Time: 1 - 3 days
  • Total Time: 1 - 3 days
  • Yield: 1 garden
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $50 and up

When you visualize a flower garden, pops of bright color probably come to mind. Stark reds, oranges, yellows, pinks, and purples have their perks—they create variety in a floral display and attract a multitude of important pollinators. However, the benefits of a white flower garden, also called a "shade garden" or "moon garden," are vastly underrated.

White and silver are every seasoned landscaper's trick to brightening a dimly lit area. White reflects light and actually draws the eye to an otherwise dark space, so no intense pigmentation is needed. This is why you sometimes see all-white flowers planted along walkways.

Of course, white flowers also help achieve a certain wow factor in your flower garden without having to throw the Pantone Color Chart at it. There's something about the icy white against contrasting green foliage that oozes elegance and timeless beauty.

Here's a step-by-step guide to planting an all-white flower garden.

Best Flowers to Plant in a White Garden

High-angle view of white peonies blooming outdoors
White peonies blooming outdoors.

Bryan Pumphrey / EyeEm / Getty Images

When planting a white garden to brighten a shady space, it's important to choose flowers that are at least partially shade-tolerant. For walkway borders, you want varieties that grow low to the ground like petunias, impatiens, sweet alyssums, and candytufts. There are literally millions of flowers to choose from.

For the taller sections of your garden, daisies, camellias, lilies, roses, tulips, freesias, and gardenias are great. Looking for climbers? Try climbing hydrangea, star jasmine, or moonflower. The good news is that you can plant many of the flowers you're already familiar with, just in their white variations.

Consider, for winter brightness, an evergreen-like blue star juniper. This shrub edges into silver-blue territory but is highly effective when flowers are out of season.

What You'll Need


  • Garden spade
  • Gardening gloves (optional)


  • White flowers, plants, and ornamental grasses of choice
  • Garden soil
  • Trellis(es) for climbers


  1. Pick a Location

    Person shoveling dirt in a garden

    Matt Porteous / Getty Images

    White gardens are used primarily to make otherwise dark spaces pop, so choose a shady part of your garden for the biggest impact. Make a sun map of your garden to find out exactly how many hours of sunlight said section receives so you can select plants accordingly.

    Also consider this: Dark-colored backgrounds—dark greens, especially, such as an ivy-covered wall—make white really stand out.

  2. Choose Plants for Year-Round Splendor

    If you want your white garden to wow year-round, you must fill it with a mix of annuals and perennials. Choose flowers that bloom at different times of the year, too, so you have a steady flow of blooms. White flowers tend to turn an unsightly shade of brown when they die, so mixing spring bloomers with summer bloomers and evergreens is the key to distracting the eye from plants past their prime.

  3. Plant Climbers First

    Height variation is important to any well-rounded garden. Unless you're using your white flower garden specifically as a border (for a walkway, etc.), then you'll probably want some height in the back. Nothing does this like climbing plants.

    Climbing hydrangeas, star jasmine, and moonflowers are great for growing on walls and trellises in a white garden.

  4. Add in Evergreens

    Evergreens serve a couple of purposes in a white garden: They create shape and texture diversity, and they give the garden life during winter, after summer blooms have died. You could choose an on-theme variety like blue-star juniper, whose foliage is a silvery-blue color, or a traditional evergreen shrub like boxwood. The deeper the green, the better its contrast with white.

  5. Introduce Your Low-Growing Bloomers

    White impatiens with red centers growing along paved walkway

    Grace Cary / Getty Images

    Now for the filler. Low-growing bloomers are going to help you achieve the most white in your garden. Sprinkle some perennials in with your annuals for variation (and to reduce maintenance). And don't be afraid of a bit of repetition. Patterns, after all, help establish visual rhythm and movement in a flower garden.

    Because you're forgoing color variety here, it's important to create variety instead with shape, size, and texture. Mix large and bulbous flowers (peonies, roses, and camellias, for example) with dainty daisylike blooms. Intermix flowering bushes with leggier plants, and so forth.

  6. Top It Off With More Texture

    Create more depth and dimension to your white garden with ornamental grasses. Again, you could choose varieties that suit the theme—such as silvery Stachys or white feather hostas (not exactly a grass but rather a foliage plant)—or you could stick with your standard deep-green grasses for added color contrast.

  7. Deadhead, Deadhead, Deadhead!

    Any flower garden requires a fair bit of maintenance. In a white flower garden, your biggest battle (besides, perhaps, getting flowers to thrive in shade) will be keeping the brown out. Expect to deadhead flowers regularly—this encourages the plant to bloom more, anyway. The best time to deadhead is before the blooms die completely. When a plant stops flowering, cut it to the ground.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is an all-white garden called?

    All-white gardens are sometimes referred to as "shade gardens" or "moon gardens" because they brighten up dark and shady spaces by reflecting light. They are especially vibrant when illuminated by the moon at night.

  • Which white flowers bloom in the spring?

    Tulips, peonies, and alliums are a few spring bloomers that are great for white gardens. The latter grows best in full sun but also tolerates shade.

  • Which summer flowers are white?

    Foxgloves, sweet alyssums, and impatiens are some summer bloomers available in white. They're all shade-tolerant and some even shade-loving.

  • Are white gardens high maintenance?

    White gardens are no more high maintenance than other types of flower gardens, although quite a bit of deadheading is required to maintain an all-white aesthetic once the blooms begin to brown.