White flowering trees stand out in gardens with their dazzling flowering, pleasantly heady fragrance, aesthetic softness of their pretty white blooms contrasting marvelously with the green tones of the foliage.
And obviously, trees with white flowers are ideal to light up shady places in your garden!
Fortunately, you can find white-blooming trees with relative ease, and each one is attractive in its own unique way. Many of these tree varieties are on the smaller side.
But there are some species which will grow tall enough to provide both beautiful flowers and ample shade beneath their branches. Some blooms appear early in the spring while others arrive later in the season.
Regardless, each year these plants will grace your garden with pleasing white petals. Discover our selection of white flowering trees that will add a dazzling quality to your landscape.
15 Finest White Flowering Trees For Your Landscape
A symbol of purity and innocence, white flowering tress evokes the freshness and renewal of spring. In the garden, it is also a real color that has no equal to attract the eye.
In a small garden, white enlarges the space, it gives relief and volume, it enhances the shapes and textures of flowers and foliage.
You can associate these luminous and fragrant trees with other plants with much brighter colors like yellow and purple, to give a contrasting effect.
The white-flowering threes also blend perfectly with each other, thus offering magnificent shades of very light colors. In a white garden, combine trees with white flowers with hydrangeas, cleomes, cosmoses and grasses.
By adding roses, you will bring elegance and romance to your little corner of paradise. Near a pergola, a few baby’s breath, phlox and sweet peas will complete this harmonious décor.
Here are 15 most beautiful trees with white flowers to brings serenity and elegance to your garden.
Cornus Kousa (Kousa Dogwood)
There are many impressive dogwood varieties. But over the years, kousa dogwood has become one of the most popular species. The widespread use of the kousa dogwood is due to the beneficial qualities it holds over its relatives.
Compared to other dogwood species, Kousa is far more disease resistant. While species such as Cornus florida often succumb to multiple ailments, kousa dogwood rarely does.
Kousa dogwood brings some aesthetic benefits as well. For example, the flowers on the kousa dogwood fill more of the canopy than other dogwoods.
This creates a broader swath of white across the canopy of the tree rather than a few spots of white here and there.
But the flowers do not only arrive in larger quantities. I’ve noticed that they also persist much longer throughout the season.
Also, the kousa dogwood has intriguing bark. A camouflage pattern of varying browns and tans covers the trunk and major branches of the kousa dogwood. This is one of the most prominent identifying features of this tree.
Again, there are many suitable dogwood varieties, but kousa might be the best.
Malus ‘Sutyzam’ SUGAR TYME (Flowering Crabapple)
As with flowering dogwoods, flowering crabapples also come in many varieties.
But for those in search of white flowers, look no further than Malus ‘Sutyzam’ SUGAR TYME. This flowering crabapple cultivar presents a striking display of white blooms in spring.
While the blooms typically appear for only a short time, they are impressive. In April, the canopy is entirely covered with white petals.
These flowers are so abundant that it is difficult to notice the many green leaves hiding behind the blooms. Even from a short distance, the tree appears completely white.
After the flowers fall, clusters of bright red crabapples take their place. While not edible, these fruits add to the colorful nature of the flowering crabapple.
Along with a charming branching habit, this small tree is beautiful in all seasons.
Magnolia Macrophylla (Bigleaf Magnolia)
Native to the southeastern region of the United States, bigleaf magnolia lives up to its name.
In fact, this deciduous tree has the largest leaf of any tree native to North America. These leaves are oval-shaped and can grow up to 30” in length.
While the large leaves are one of the most noticeable traits of bigleaf magnolia, Its delicately scented white flowers precede the appearance of large deep green oval leaves giving it undeniable appeal.
The petals of these fragrant flowers create a bowl-like shape. They are primarily white but have a purple tint at the base of each petal.
The fruit of this tree is also noteworthy for being large, red, and spiky in texture.
If you plant a bigleaf magnolia for its flowers, beware of planting a young tree. Flowers may not appear on the bigleaf magnolia until 12 years into its life.
But if you are willing to wait, your reward is a large, rare, white flower.
Lagerstroemia ‘Natchez’ (Crape Myrtle)
Crape myrtles are a popular plant variety on warm climates. Their range extends from tropical areas to warm temperate zones. The name crape myrtle is a reference to the plant’s thin papery bark.
However, the popularity of these plants is more related to the glorious flowers they put forth in the summer. These showy white flowers make crape myrtles a prized possession.
The variety known as ‘Natchez’ is a cross between two other species of crape myrtle. This cultivar is resistant to the mildew which commonly afflicts other crape myrtles.
Along with this functional benefit, the leaves of this multi-stem plant add multi-season interest by turning red in the fall. When selecting a crape myrtle, the ‘Natchez’ variety should be near the top of your list.
Amelanchier Canadensis (Serviceberry)
Folklore in New England gives one explanation for how the serviceberry got its name. As an early spring bloomer, the appearance of the serviceberry’s flowers often coincides with the time of year when the ground is no longer frozen.
With the earth thawed, digging to a depth of 6 feet is once again possible. As such, people realized that when Amelanchier canadensis bloomed, they could once again hold funeral services. Based on this phenomenon, they called the plant serviceberry.
Regardless of the origin of the name, this small native tree is worth planting. With elegant branches, and a light sprinkling of white springtime flowers, serviceberry is one of the most graceful plants around.
This plant lives on the border between large shrub and small tree and often has a multi-stem habit. But there is always a pleasing gentle nature to its overall form.
In addition, serviceberry has edible fruit. These fruits first appear light green. Through the season they ripen and resemble a blueberry by June. I’ve heard this fruit is delicious and great for baking into a pie.
If you are interested in native plantings, edible fruit, and lovely flowers, serviceberry is the plant for you.
Prunus Virginiana (Chokecherry)
Being native to many areas of the United States, chokecherry is a solid planting option for woodlands and naturalized areas. With an irregular form, this small tree adopts a wilder appearance.
Be aware that chokecherry spreads through suckering. This means that unmanaged chokecherry trees can propagate easily.
If you wish to contain your chokecherry to a specific area, simply remove the suckers as needed.
In spring, chokecherry has bunches of small white flowers which can be very fragrant. These flowers give way to copious amounts of red berries.
The berries are tart when raw and can be used to make tasty jellies and jams.
But humans aren’t the only ones who are partial to this fruit. Chokecherry does its part to support native wildlife.
Birds and other animals feed on these berries. By supporting wildlife, chokecherry is a primary option for people interested in fostering ecological health on their own properties.
Pyrus Calleryana ‘Bradford’ (Callery Pear)
Often referred to as simply Bradford pear, this tree is one of the most prevalent signs of spring in the northeast.
At that time of year, the pyramidal form of this tree is pure white. It is common to see this remarkable sight in many settings. This is because the Callery pear can survive in residential yards and harsh urban settings.
But don’t expect a harvest from this tree. In contrast to its relative, the common fruiting pear, the pears on this species are inedible.
They are also small, greenish, and somewhat unnoticeable. However, this is perfect if you are interested in the white flowers of a pear tree but not interested in the labor needed to properly cultivate fruit.
The Callery pear can have some structural issues. It is worth knowing that the branches of the Callery pear grow out of the trunk at a very narrow angle.
This makes them prone to breaking. In addition, authorities in some areas consider Callery pear to be invasive. Check the invasive status of Callery pear as it relates to your region before planting.
While there are some drawbacks, I believe the aesthetic value of the Callery pear outweighs its downsides. Consider planting this tree as a specimen.
Over the years, prune this tree so that none of the branches are carrying too much weight. With a little effort and care, the Callery pear is a great white-flowering addition to your yard.
Halesia Carolina (Carolina Silverbell)
Native to the Appalachian Mountains, the Carolina silverbell is a deciduous understory tree. In the wild, you will find Carolina silverbell growing on riverbanks and mountain slopes.
But Carolina silverbell has a place in residential landscapes as a specimen tree or as a part of a woodland planting scheme.
With the name silverbell, it is no surprise that the flowers on this tree are shaped like tiny bells. These bells form groups which hang downwards from the branches in April.
However, they are not truly silver. Instead, they are pure white in color.
Styrax Japonicus (Japanese Snowbell)
The Japanese snowbell is part of the same family as the Carolina silverbell. Like the silverbell, the snowbell also has small white flowers in the shape of a bell. These flowers are best viewed from below.
This is because the leaves of the Japanese snowbell are very upright. The flowers hang below the leaves in full view of anyone standing directly below the canopy.
The canopy itself is very rounded. With a similar height and spread, the overall form of this plant is akin to a ball. You can use this plant in many landscape settings including as a specimen and in border planting.
Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Limelight’ (Panicle Hydrangea)
As the smallest white flowering on this list, panicle hydrangea is usually considered to be a shrub.
However, with pruning, this plant can achieve a tree-like form. This treatment is so popular that the plant is sometimes referred to as ‘tree-form hydrangea’ The cultivar ‘Limelight’ is especially well-suited for this type of pruning.
This plant is a great option for a more formal garden. I have seen panicle hydrangea used as a specimen and as a vertical element in parterre gardens.
Given its small stature, panicle hydrangea is a very manageable plant. Since this plant does not grow to a significant size, it can be planted in relatively small spaces or in the company of other ornamental plants.
As the name indicates, the flowers of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ first appear in panicles that have a slight greenish tint.
In the following months, the color of the flowers will progress to cream, then to a reddish hue. The small size and dynamic nature of the flower color make this plant an appealing addition to your landscape.
Chionanthus Virginicus (Fringe Tree)
Although somewhat lesser-known, fringe tree is another quality species native to the United States.
Originally from the southeastern portion of the U.S., this tree is hardy across many zones. This means even those in colder climates can enjoy the flowers on this tree.
Those delicate lace-like white flowers form light drooping bundles. The fringe tree is dioecious, meaning that there are male and female versions of the plant.
Interestingly, some individual fringe trees have exhibited both male and female flowers. In any case, blooms are present from May to June. Eventually, dark grape-shaped fruits replace the female flowers.
Unfortunately, researchers have found that the fringe tree is under threat from the emerald ash borer. This pest got its name for the fact that it kills ash trees.
Recently botanists have noticed this insect is affecting fringe trees. While fringe trees are alluring in appearance and supportive of wildlife, you should be aware of this threat before you choose to plant one.
Camellia Japonica ‘White By The Gate’ (Camellia)
Camellia japonica ‘White By The Gate’ may have the most beautiful flower of any plant on this list. What makes this species even more unique is that it blooms in the late fall.
And the flowers persist into springtime. By combining bloom time with dark evergreen foliage, this plant offers unrivaled winter appeal.
Camellias are generally small broadleaf evergreen trees that can survive in the warmer regions of the United States. Flowers are typically pink, but the cultivar ‘White By the Gate’ features a vanilla-like color.
Keep in mind that camellias are vulnerable to a number of afflictions including mold and fungus. But the magnificence of these plants cannot be ignored. If you live in a warmer climate don’t miss your chance to incorporate camellias into your garden.
Syringa Reticulata (Japanese Tree Lilac)
It is likely that you are familiar with the common lilac. The lavender color and distinctive scent of this shrub are familiar throughout the United States.
The Japanese tree lilac is essentially a larger version of the common lilac with a few differences in color.
The blooms of the Japanese tree lilac are white rather than a shade of purple. I’ve also seen that the leaves of this tree, while similar in shape to the common lilac, have a more lustrous dark green color.
Additionally, the 30’ mature height of the Japanese tree lilac truly designates this plant as a tree rather than a large shrub.
Plant this tree in full sun. After growing to its full size, this tree can provide shade as well as gorgeous flowers.
With these characteristics, Japanese tree lilac looks great in parks and as a specimen in a large lawn space.
Aesculus Californica (California Buckeye)
California buckeye is a deciduous tree native to California. This plant often has multiple trunks and grows to be as wide as it is tall. Moss and lichen often cover the gray bark of the California buckeye’s trunks.
In very early spring, the California buckeye’s flowers bloom in a spike-like shape. These flowers are relatively large and can have a sweet scent.
Likewise, the fruit of this tree is also prominent. This fruit consists of a large brown seed contained within a capsule.
Many parts of the California buckeye are poisonous. This includes the fruit as well as the leaves and bark. Interestingly, indigenous people have taken advantage of this toxicity.
These native groups successfully used the poison to hunt for fish. As someone interested in flowers, be sure you never ingest any part of this plant. Remain safe by simply admiring this tree for its flowers and form.
Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut)
At maturity, the horse chestnut is a large shade tree with a distinct oval shape. In May, large panicles of flowers space themselves at regular intervals against rounded green leaves.
These prominent flowers emerge in the form of a bold spire proudly pointing upward into the sky. In color, they are primarily white with light pink accents.
Despite similar names, the horse chestnut and the American chestnut are not part of the same genus. You may be aware the American chestnut was once a major component of the forests covering the Appalachian mountain range.
But due to chestnut blight, the amount of American chestnuts has dwindled to the point where they now struggle to survive at all.
Fortunately, chestnut blight is not a problem for the horse chestnut. Horse chestnut can have issues with leaf blotch, but they are far from the brink of extinction.
Another notable contrast between American chestnut and horse chestnut is in the ‘chestnuts’ themselves.
Mainly, horse chestnuts are poisonous to humans. So, don’t expect any edible nuts when planting this tree.
In my opinion, horse chestnut is one of the stateliest white flowering trees there is. The overall appearance of this plant is one of both neatness and beauty. Be sure to plant this tree in a large open area to allow it to grow into its fullest form.
As you can now see, there are many trees with white flowers for you to choose from. The 15 listed here are just a few of the many white blooming species out there.
Trees can vary in size, shape, growing requirements, and bloom time. Remember this when it comes time for you to select a tree for your yard.
Make sure you pick one that will survive and supply the visual appeal you desire.
John Haryasz is a writer with a background in landscape architecture. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in landscape architecture from UMass, Amherst with a minor in psychology. Following graduation, John worked in a small landscape architecture office. In this role, he led many successful projects in Berkshire County, MA. After a few years, John began offering freelance design services. He has since produced designs for projects across the country. As a writer, John aims to share knowledge while promoting engagement with the outdoor world.