The Problem with White Geraniums

Garden or Zonal Pelargoniums

Why white geraniums may not be the best flowers to plant in a white garden. The problem with white zonal geraniums. Pelargonium x hortorum info you need to know.

A list of better blooms for white flower beds and borders.



White geraniums in a courtyard garden.

The White Flower Garden

White flowers bring elegance and tranquility to a garden bed. They are easy on the eye and soothing to the soul. White flower gardens are restful.

White blooms mix well with other flower colors. Along with silver or gray foliage, it can be used as a color break between plants that would otherwise clash. The combination of white flowers and cool green foliage is visually refreshing.

I love white flowers.

I also love zonal geraniums.

I do not think planting white geraniums is a good idea. I'll tell you why...


The Way Geraniums Blooms Open

Geraniums bloom in clusters.

But all the flowers in the cluster do not open at once.

The buds at the top of the cluster open first. Next the middle buds open. Then the buds at the bottom of the cluster.

This takes a period of about 10 days.

By day 10, the beautiful blooms that opened first will have faded to an ugly brown. What this looks like in your garden is white flowers dotted with brown blotches.

It will take constant dead heading to keep the faded blooms pinched off so they don't mar the planting.


Other Plants with White Flowers

Instead of growing zonal geraniums in your white flower garden, consider the following plants:

White Annual Flowers

"Alyssum, Carpet Of Snow 15' Seed Tape"

  • Impatiens
    The small white flowers of impatiens will light up any shady areas you may have. For sunnier spots try New Guinea impatiens as an alternative to white geraniums.
  • Lobularia Maritima The pure white spring flowers of sweet alyssum will also grace your white flower gardens with the fragrance of honey.
  • Kalanchoe Plant The little white star flowers of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana will bloom in spring and fall with little care.
  • Cat Whiskers In areas where tall white flowers are desired, the whispy white blooms of the cat whiskers plant (Orthosiphon aristatus) will fill the bill.
  • Petunias Growing petunia hybrids can be very rewarding as long as you chose the right variety for your location. For instance, the grandifloras perform poorly in the rain and are best grown indoors.

    The multifloras and floribundas are better used outdoors.


    Most trailing petunias only grow to a height of 6 inches. However, they can achieve a 36 inch spread. They can be effectively used as a temporary ground cover in a sunny area.

    White cascading petunias also look spectacular flowing out of window boxes or spilling over the rim of an urn.


White Perennial Flowers

Scented Geranium

Pelargonium spp.

  • Some scented geraniums and hardy species Pelargoniums bear white flowers. The blooms of these types will be smaller and less showy than those of Pelargonium x hortum but these plants offer fragrance and winter hardiness in apology for their shortcomings.
  • Arabian Jasmine Jasmine sambac can be grown as a small shrub or vine. It is reliably perennial in warm winter areas. The fragrance of its inch wide blooms is delicious.

    Arabian jasmine is the national plant of Philippines, and the flower is extensively used in Indian weddings.
  • Tall Phlox

Buy Phlox, David 1 Plant

At 3-5 feet in height, Phlox paniculata's tall white flowers are a sweetly fragrant choice for the middle or back of the border.

Buy Dianthus, Dash White 3 Plants

  • Dianthus Flowers How to grow and care for Dianthus flowers. Reliable Dianthus perennials. How to grow different types of carnations. Growing pinks flowers and gardening with Sweet William.

    The clove scented double blooms of white hardy carnations make them the perfect plant for white gardens.
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