White shade perennials can really stand out in the garden. You can mix them with blue flowers, red flowers, and other colors and shades, or just plant several white varieties on their own. The blend of white flowers with green leaves is nice to look at and these species do well in shady corners.
Best White Perennials for Shade Gardens
White perennial flowers are flowering plants that produce white blooms year after year. These plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from delicate, low-growing ground covers to tall, dramatic perennials that can reach several feet tall.
1. Astilbe (Astilbe spp.)
Astilbe is a beautiful perennial plant that produces feathery plumes of flowers in shades of white, pink, red, white, and lavender. It grows best in zones 3-8 in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.
Astilbe requires regular watering and benefits from a layer of mulch to help retain moisture in the soil.
2. Bear’s-breeches (Acanthus mollis)
Bear’s-breeches, or Acanthus mollis, is a striking perennial plant with large, glossy leaves and tall spikes of white and purple bi-color flowers. It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full shade, and benefits from regular watering during the growing season.
Grows best in zones 7 to 11.
3. Hellebore (Helleborus spp.)
Hellebores are a beautiful and versatile group of perennials that produce delicate, bell-shaped flowers in shades of white, pink, and green. They are often grown for their evergreen foliage, which adds texture and color to the garden throughout the year.
Hellebores prefer well-drained soil and partial to full shade, and require regular watering during the growing season. Best grown in zones 4 -9.
4. White Nancy Lamium (Lamium maculatum)
White Nancy Lamium is a low-growing ground cover that produces white or pink flowers in the spring and late summer. It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full shade, and benefits from regular watering and occasional fertilization during the growing season.
Grows best in zones 3 – 8.
5. Biokovo hardy geranium (Geranium × cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’)
Biokovo hardy geranium, or Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’, is a low-maintenance perennial that produces delicate pink or white flowers in the summer. It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full shade and requires only occasional watering once established.
Best grown in zones 4 to 8.
6. Snowdrops (Galanthus spp.)
Snowdrops are one of the first signs of spring, producing delicate white flowers with green markings. They prefer moist soil that is well-drained, and partial to full shade, and require regular watering during the growing season. They thrive in zones 3 to 7.
7. Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily-of-the-valley is a classic shade plant that produces fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers in the spring to late spring. It prefers well-drained soil and partial shade, and benefits from regular watering and occasional fertilization during the growing season. You can grow these dainty flowers in zones 3 to 7.
Learn more about how to grow lily of the valley.
8. Tiarella (Tiarella spp.)
Tiarella, also known as foamflower, is a low-growing perennial native to North America that produces delicate white or pink flowers in the spring. It prefers moist soil that is well-drained, and partial to full dry shade. Grows best in zones 4 – 9.
9. White wood aster (Eurybia divaricata)
White wood aster is a native perennial plant that produces small, white daisy-like flowers in the summer and fall. It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full shade, and grows best in zones 4 to 8.
10. Fern leaf bleeding heart (Dicentra ‘Aurora’)
Fern-Leaf Bleeding Heart is an attractive, compact plant that is perfect for beds and borders, city gardens, cottage gardens, coastal gardens, banks and slopes, and under-planting shrubs. It grows up to 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) tall and 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) wide and thrives in partial shade in zones 1 thought 9, and prefers fertile, humus-rich, neutral or slightly alkaline, moist, well-drained soil.
This bleeding heart plant is deer and rabbit resistant and does not suffer from any serious pest or disease issues.
11. Creeping dogwood (Cornus candensis)
Creeping dogwood, also known as ground cover dogwood grows in zones 2- 7 and provides a lush carpet of white flowers across the ground with minimal maintenance.
This native variety is winter hardy and spreads slowly, making it easy to manage. It produces a wealth of blooms, colorful late-summer fruit and striking fall foliage. The fruit is edible, but it’s an acquired taste for humans. Birds, however, love it.
Creeping dogwood will take some time to spread, but it is worth the wait. Pollinators are attracted to the blooms, and deer tend to stay away.
12. White wake robin (Trillium grandiflorum)
The great white trillium, also known as the large-flowered trillium, is an attractive perennial wildflower native to North America. It is distinguished by its stout, 12-15 inch stem, which is topped by three large, oval leaves. Above this whorl of leaves, a single large flower emerges – initially white in color, but gradually turning pink as it matures.
This species thrives with a moderate amount of sunlight and moist, acidic soil, and benefits from a mulch of rotted or shredded leaves at the beginning and end of the season. Thrives in zones 3 through 7.
Need More Ideas For your Shade Garden?
If you need more help creating a beautiful garden in a shaded area of your yard, you’ll love these:
- 11 shade-loving plants
- 5 red shade perennials
- 9 blue shade perennials
- 10 purple shade perennials
- 10 yellow perennials for shade
- 9 pink perennial flowers for shade
- Kathy’s beautiful shade garden
- Vegetables that grow in the shade
These are just a few examples of white perennial flowers that can thrive in shade in North America. Some of these come in a variety of other colors and some deliciously smelling blooms. From intricate flowers to simpler shaped blooms, you’re sure to find some that work in your flower garden.
When selecting shade plants, remember that not many are going to thrive in deep, full shade. Some plants love a bit of sun, but can thrive in partial shade and low light. The beautiful blooms on this list do not require full sun to thrive.
Also remember, whenever possible, planting a native plant is a good choice for the environment and also means they will be easier to care for.
Lisa Clark is a freelance writer who grew up on farmland, then moved to the city, and has now retired back to her rural roots. She's having fun teaching her kids about gardening, planting flowers, and collecting houseplants.