White might technically be considered a non-color, but in the garden it plays many important roles. I often use white as a great diplomat because of its ability to act as a bridge between clashing colors. White is also an essential for illuminating evening gardens and shady spots. You can create a stunning garden room using all white plants blended with gray, various shades of green and variegated foliage.
Because Mother Nature is a non-exact artist, the definition of white in the garden is broad. Shades of this color range from stark blue-white, pale cream and ivory. One of the best flowers for illustrating the many hues of white is the rose. Check out this photo tour of some of my favorite white roses.
15 Great White Roses
'Blossom Blanket' – This ground cover rose is a prolific bloomer and is parented from another great rose called ‘The
Fairy’. Double bloom form with white petals and a cheery yellow center produced in clusters.
Mini flora, grows about 1 1/2 feet tall and 4 feet wide, zones 6 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'Ducher' – I planted Ducher at the Garden Home Retreat. Ivory multi-petaled blooms are surrounded by pale green foliage. China, 3 to 5 feet tall, zones 7 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'Fortunia' – I haven’t grown this rose personally, but a friend has it trained to grow over her front door and it’s spectacular. Has the same violet fragrance of its parent ‘White Lady Banks’. Extremely carefree.
Species, 10 to 20 feet tall, zones 6 – 9, blooms once
'Frau Karl Druschki' – Also known as ‘White American Beauty’ and ‘Snow Queen’, I grow this one over the arbors in my fountain garden. The roses are not fragrant, but they are still lovely as a cut flower.
Hybrid perpetual, 4 to 6 feet all, zones 6 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'Honor' – This hybrid tea was named Rose of the Year in 1980. The pure white, fragrant blooms are produced in abundance all summer. The extra long stems make it a great cut flower.
Hybrid tea, 3 to 4 feet tall, zones 6 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'Iceberg' – I grow a climbing form of ‘Iceberg’ in my fountain garden. What a performer! It is never without at least one bloom. The pure white, mulit-petaled flowers are borne in clusters. Blackspot can be a problem with this rose, but I’ve found that when the rose is planted in full sun with good air circulation the fungus is not a problem.
Floribunda, 3 to 5 feet tall, zones 5 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'Katharina Zeimet' – This is another rose that I have planted at the Garden Home Retreat. Clusters of small, white blooms appear throughout the summer. It’s a great rose for hedges, mixed borders and containers.
Polyantha, 3 to4 feet tall, zones 5 – 9, blooms repeatedly
Lady Banks, White – This is the white blooming form of the Rosa banksiae. It’s one of the first roses to bloom in my mid-South region. The fragrance is similar to violets. When in bloom the plant is literally covered in roses that persist for weeks, which makes up for the fact that it only flowers once.
Species, 12 to 20 feet, zones 8 – 9, blooms once
'Moondance' – This rose is the answer to anyone who has struggled with ‘Iceberg’. It produces clusters of large, creamy white, highly fragrant blooms throughout the summer. The foliage is mildew resistant. Named the 2007 Floribunda of the Year.
Floribunda, 5 feet tall, zones 6 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'LaMarque' – In my mid-South garden this climbing rose continues to bloom right up to the first hard freeze in autumn. The flowers are creamy white blushed with yellow and have a nice fragrance.
Noisette, 12 to 20 feet tall, zones 7 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'Sally Holmes' – I have just recently developed a love of single petaled roses, due in large part to this variety. The creamy white and pale pink flowers are huge and borne in clusters. ‘Sally Holmes’ in full bloom is quite a sight to see.
Shrub, 6 to 12 feet, zones 5 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'Small Miracle' – This miniature rose is an excellent choice for containers. Although the plant itself is small, the blooms are 2-inches wide, lightly scented and prolific. The color is a creamy white almost pale yellow.
Miniature, 18 inches tall, zones 6 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'White Dawn' – Given my affection for this rose’s pale pink cousin ‘New Dawn’, I could not make a list of white roses without including ‘White Dawn’. I grow ‘White Dawn’ in my parterre garden and it has never given me a minute of trouble. The clear white, fragrant blooms are stunning against the dark green foliage.
Climber, 12 to 20 feet, zones 5 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'White Pet' – This shrub rose grows beside the steps to my front porch. All summer it is covered in clusters of creamy white blooms. It’s a versatile rose that looks great in mixed borders or containers.
Polyantha, 1 to 3 feet tall, zones 5 – 9, blooms repeatedly
'White Meidiland' – This rose is often used as a ground cover, but I have trained it to grow up a teepee shaped trellis. Cascades of white blooms appear in spring and again in fall. I’ve found that this rose does well in a lightly shaded area of my garden and never needs to be sprayed.
Meidiland, 2 feet tall and 5 feet wide, zones 5 – 9, blooms repeatedly