Nothing adds colour to the garden quite like perennials. This diverse group of plants that grow for several seasons, come in colour from pure white to deep blue, a variety of heights from a few inches to several feet tall, and can grow in a range of soil, moisture and sun conditions. One of the most cheerful colour combinations is that of a white flower with a yellow centre. Several varieties of perennials display this particular blend at different periods during the growing season.
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Boltonia (Boltonia asteroides) blooms in fall. This 3- to 5-foot tall perennial produces an abundance of white flowers with yellow centres in September and has attractive, silvery-green foliage. Plant in rich, moist soil and full sun.
White wood asters (Aster divaricatus) bloom from late summer through autumn. White wood asters produce clusters of small, delicate white flowers with a yellow centre that turns purple as flowers mature. This perennial grows from 1 to 3 feet tall and prefers dry soil and light shade to sun.
Late Summer Bloomers
Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), a perennial herb, blooms from August through September. Pearly everlasting features white, fuzzy foliage and produces white blossoms with yellow-brown centres. This perennial grows up to 20 inches tall and thrives in full sun and tolerates moist to dry soil.
The New England aster (Aster novae-angliae or A. novi-belgii) produces white through purple, daisy-like flowers with yellow centres. Blossoms grow up to 2 inches wide and have hairy, sticky stems. New England asters bloom in late summer and prefer full sun and well-drained soil. These perennials attract butterflies.
Spring to Summer Bloomers
The Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) produces showy white blooms with large, yellow centres through the spring and summer. A sun-loving perennial, Shasta daisy thrives in well-drained soil and grows between 12 and 36 inches tall. Divide this plant in fall.
Pyretheum (Pyrethrum roseum) blooms in early summer. This plant produces white, red and pink flowers with yellow centres and grows from 12 to 24 inches tall. Pyretheum prefers partial shade to full sun and well-drained soil. Pyretheum is a short-lived perennial, but can be easily grown from seed.
Wildflowers are not commonly cultivated as ornamental plants, but some species bloom with yellow-centred, white blossoms. The duck potato produces spikes of small white flowers. This wild flower prefers wet sites and grows in swamps and bogs. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis L.), a North America native, grows up to 10 inches tall. Bloodroot produces its white blossoms from late winter through early spring and grows best in light shade and moist, acidic soils.
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- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension; Fall Blooming Perennials; Dr. Leonard Perry
- West Virginia University Extension Service; West Virginia Native Plants with Good Landscape Potential; William N. Grafton
- University of Kentucky; Suggested Plants for Butterfly Gardens; Robert Geneve, et al.
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension; Perennial Flowers; Alice B. Russell and Erv Evans
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension; Wildflowers; Erv Evans