White flowering shrubs make lovely additions to gardens and landscapes, especially when used in borders or in foundation plantings. The shrubs also work well to build privacy screens when planted close together. Highlight other colourful flowers or plants by planting them near the shrubs to make the garden even more diverse.
Dozens of varieties of rhododendrons feature white blossoms including early bloomers such as June Bee and Ice Cube. Both plants produce white blooms in midseason. For late-blooming flowers, look for Argosy, Summer Snow or Polar Bear varieties. Rhododendrons work as specimen plants, but they look even better when planted in a border or foundation as part of a group of plantings. Most rhododendrons bloom from April through June on plants that range in size from 1 to 15 feet in height. The shrubs thrive in acidic, well-drained soil in partial to full shade in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 4 to 9.
One of the earlier blooming bushes, azaleas feature white blossoms that start appearing in late March and continue through early summer. The evergreen plants tend to grow no more than 6 feet high. A wide variety of available cultivars include Cascade, with its white flowers blooming early in the season, and Silver Slipper, a plant that blooms later in the season. Azaleas look great in front of larger shrubs, especially in locations where their early blooming habit gets the most appreciation. The plants grow in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9, preferring acidic, well-drained soil in partially shady areas.
For late fall through early spring beauty in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9, camellia shrubs make a great choice. A native of China, more than 3,000 varieties of camellias exist. Cultivars that produce a profusion of white flowers include Alba Simplex and Polar Ice, both featuring bright white blooms. Camellias thrive in acidic soil that is well drained. While most camellias like full shade, plants grown in cooler northern climates grow best with partial sun. The best time to plant camellias falls anywhere between fall and spring. To conserve moisture, add several inches of mulch around the plant.
Rose of Sharon
For summer-blooming beauty, Rose of Sharon's showy flowers do the trick. The plant's large white flowers and upright form make it a show-stopping bush in any garden or landscape. Choose from a variety of cultivars including Admiral Dewey, with its single white flowers, or Diana, with pure white flowers that grow up to 4 to 6 inches in diameter and that stay open all night. The plant slowly grows up to 10 feet tall and as wide, preferring full sun or partial shade in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. Plant Rose of Sharon in almost any clay, loamy or acidic soil as long as it drains well. The plant requires regular watering to encourage the flowers to bloom. It also needs pruning in late winter or early spring to help the shrub produce larger flowers.