5 Must-Have Shrubs with White Flowers…to Extend the Life of Your Garden


5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com


It’s during these long, hot dog days of summer that I’m thankful to still have some shrubs whose flowers are still doing their thing. Most of the flowers from my other shrubs have come and gone, my fescue has definitely seen a better day, and my potted flowers have dried out because I couldn’t bear going outside to water them in the almost 100 degree temps. But my Limelight and Tardiva Hydrangeas are proving to be the proud summer hold-outs.

It’s no secret that I’ve got a thing for white flowers. To me there’s just something so classic…crisp and clean about having a garden that consists almost entirely of varying hues of white and green. Unfortunately, flowers don’t last forever…so when choosing what shrubs to include in my garden I consider when they bloom so that something is always looking its best in my garden from early spring into the fall.

And fortunately for me and others who have a thang for green & white, there are some really beautiful evergreen and perennial shrubs with white flowers to choose from. Here are some of my faves…that I would consider must-have’s for extending the life of your garden.sidebar-vine

Reeves’ Spirea

I know that spring has sprung and the dark days of winter are behind us when my Reeves’ Spirea begin to burst forth in all their glory.

5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Reeves' Spirea) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.comAlso known as Double Bridal Wreath or Double Reeves’ Spirea, this deciduous beauty cascades long bows of profuse white flowers. Which is great for me, because I planted mine to cover up the not-so-beautiful guy wires coming off a telephone pole.5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Reeves' Spirea) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

And if you want to take a closer look, you won’t be disappointed. The clusters of dainty white flowers with creamy-yellow centers completely cover their lanky branches…which also make for a dramatic addition to a flower arrangement when you take them inside.

Chinese Snowball Viburnum

At about the same time of year, on the other side of my yard the Chinese Snowball Viburnum explode with huge spherical blooms…also traveling down impressive long bows.5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Chinese Snowball Viburnum) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

And if you chose to have one grace your yard, make sure you give them room to grow…as they can grow 20 feet tall and about as wide.5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Chinese Snowball Viburnum) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

Their poofy 6-8” flowers are often confused with Annabelle Hydrangeas…but if you study them closely you’ll see that their growing habit is quite different. While the bows of a Reeves’ Spirea serve as a nice accent to a flower arrangement, Snowball Viburnum can take center-stage…for obvious reasons.

Mrs. G.G. Gerbing Azaleas

I recommend to my clients that they choose an evergreen shrub to serve as the backbone of their outdoor spaces…serving as a backdrop for the other flowers and shrubs and to tie everything together. Loving white flowers and being from the South, there really isn’t another option that consider as impressive as the Mrs. G.G. Gerbing Azalea.5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Mrs. G.G. Gerbing Azaleas) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

G.G.s are a Southern Indian hybrid variety of azalea…the larger of the azalea varieties. If they love where you plant them and you don’t prune them to maintain their size, they can grow as big as 8-10’ tall and about as wide.5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Mrs. G.G. Gerbing Azaleas) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

I typically keep mine pruned to about 4-5’ tall, and although I could choose a smaller variety with white flowers (e.g., Kurume hybrids) to minimize the amount of maintenance I have to do, I don’t.  I’m just not a big fan of the smaller, popcorn-like flowers…preferring the larger, more graceful flower that Mrs. Gerbing shares with the world. And even though her flowers don’t last that long, I’m more than fine with the 2-4 weeks of heavenly splendor she creates throughout our outdoor spaces.

Annabelle Hydrangea

Just as my G.G.s start to peter out they hand off their white baton to my Annabelle Hydrangeas (H. Arborescens). In their prime, Annabelles have an incredible display of 8-10” flowers…which not only make great cuttings to bring inside, they are also impressive when used in dried flower arrangements.  (And by the way, now’s a good time to be thinking about drying your hydrangeas. Check out this post to see how. It’s really easy to do.)5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Annabelle Hydrangeas) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

Again, because their flowers look like large snowballs, they are often confused with Snowball Viburnum. But if you spend the time to get to know them better you’ll see that they are quite distinctive.5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Annabelle Hydrangeas) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

In addition to blooming at different times of the year, Annabelle’s flowers are “airier” than a Snowball Viburnum’s…and they grow on “new wood” vs. “old wood”…so pay attention to when you prune them – Snowball Viburnum, right after they bloom…and Annabelles in late winter or early spring, just before they wake from their long winter slumber. Annabelle Hydrangeas also only grow to about 5-6’tall…about ¼ the height of Snowball Viburnum. So where and how you use them in your yard will differ greatly.

Limelight Hydrangea

Now…back to today…I’m so thankful to have my late-blooming hydrangeas – my Limelights and Tardivas…showing their stuff from late summer and into the fall. My Limelights (H. Paniculata), in particular are my favorites. Their blooms are not only beautiful, they are sturdier…and I find their fuller, conical shape quite dramatic and really interesting to look at. They are also Britt’s favorite to bring inside.5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Lime Light Hydrangeas) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

Although they can grow as tall as 15’ in height, they can take a severe whacking to keep their size in check and make their structure stronger to hold up their momma flowers. And like their cousin Annabelle, you should prune these lovelies in late winter or early fall…as they bloom on new wood. Also, given their sturdier woody structure, they can be trained into a tree-like form…which could be a very interesting element in your outdoor space.5 Must Have Shrubs with White Flowers (Lime Light Hydrangea) - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

Now, if you love the look of Limelights, but you don’t have the space for them…have no fear – there is a smaller variety, aptly named Little Limes. I’ve got just a few of those too…you can never have too much white & green as far as I’m concerned..

sidebar-vineSo that’s how I keep things looking alive and well throughout the growing season in my yard…in the many shades of white & green. What are your favorites? I’d love to introduce some new shrubs to my garden this year…so pass on the good word.

Take care & happy gardening friends,
Doug initial

If you're not already subscribed to RYG and want to get periodic updates, links to new posts & other ground redeeming info ... just enter your email address below. Easy as that!


  1. Helen on August 23, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Douglas, Your yard is so beautiful. I love all the white shrubs in your garden. Because of you, I have begun to adding white to my otherwise colorful plants. My lime light hydrangeas are beautiful…they have survived this summer’s heat better than the other plants in my garden. Thanks for inspiring me with all the neat ideas you have on your post.

    • Doug Scott on August 24, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks Helen…aka Mother Dearest! Thanks for not only being one of my biggest fans, but for being my Resident Gardener growing up. And your yard looks amazing too, I might add. xo, Doug(las)

  2. D on April 14, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    I too am a lover of all things white in my garden. I live in a subdivision and I am searching for something white blooming g early spring to plant at the entrance of my driveway. Not a very large space approximately 4′ wide by 4-1/2 ‘ long. Would you have any suggestions to offer. I would prefer something that stays green all year since it’s the entrance to my home. Thanks for listening.

    • Doug Scott on April 17, 2018 at 7:31 am

      Hey D, thanks for reaching out with your question. I’d love to make some suggestions, but before I lead you astray, can you answer a few questions: 1. where do you live; 2. how much sun does that spot get; 3. what else do you have around it; 4. do you like fragrance? Let me know the answers to these questions and I should be able to come up with some options for you. I look forward to hearing back from you. Take care, Doug

  3. Lynda ALLRED on May 7, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Love this post. Beautiful flowers. I’ve been looking for the Annabelle hydrangea, and bridal wreath for a while now. I know they do well here in hot Utah! I appreciate your name too lol, which was my dad’s name ????????

    • Doug Scott on May 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Hey Lynda, thanks so much for your comment. I love Annabelles and bridal wreath spirea…and so glad to hear they do well in Utah too! Say hello to Daddy Doug for me. Thanks again and take care, D.

  4. paige pebbles on March 31, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Beautiful!! Thank you!! Love to see more!!

    • Doug Scott on June 3, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks Paige! I appreciate your encouraging words. Yes…I would LOVE to show more…and hope to soon. We’ve had some things we’ve had to take care of up our family tree this past year…so to speak…which had to take priority over basically everything! Hopefully we’re getting close to seeing some breathing room. So please stay tuned. Take care, D.

Leave a Comment