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Nine Nifty Shrubs That Are Perfect For Creating Moon Gardens

Nine Nifty Shrubs That Are Perfect For Creating Moon Gardens

By Susan Martin for Proven Winners®, edited by Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs
Photographs courtesy Proven Winners® ColorChoice®

Gardens can be magical at any time of day, but there is something especially magical about gardens as dusk falls, the edges blur and reality recedes the tiniest bit. Isn’t that the time when it’s easiest to believe in fairies, magic and another dimension just beyond our senses? For many of us, first thing in the morning and late in the day is when we most often have time to spend in our gardens. As the light dims, the colors of the rainbow start to recede. However, as the moon rises, white flowers and silver foliage take central stage, seeming to glow with otherworldly light. If you haven’t considered the joys of a white garden before, now might be the perfect time to add some white to your garden or even transform a portion of your garden into an all-white and silver moon garden.

Whether you decide to go all-in to plant an all-white moon garden or would prefer to just add a few white flowering plants around your patio, these nine flowering shrubs will work perfectly in containers and landscapes.

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Steady as She Goes® Gardenia

Moon gardens are popular in southern climates where evening is the best time to enjoy the outdoors after the intense heat of the day has subsided. That’s when you will have time to stop and enjoy the sweet fragrance and abundant white blossoms of Steady as She Goes gardenia. This improved variety boasts strong heat tolerance yet also good cold hardiness for a gardenia. Best of all, it blooms continuously and won’t drop its flower buds in inclement weather all the way until frost. Its shorter height makes this variety a good candidate for planting up around the patio where its heady fragrance can be appreciated.

Part sun to sun. 3-5’ tall, spreading 4-7’ wide. Hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7-10.

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Illuminati TowerPhiladelphus

Mockorange is a delightfully old-fashioned plant that has unfortunately fallen out of favor, mostly due to its enormous size. Illuminati Tower™ mockorange stands to breathe new life into this classic favorite, though, combining a landscape-friendly size with a totally unique space-saving habit. It naturally grows in a very narrow, upright way, each sturdy stem a stack of rugged, deep green leaves that looks like a four-sided tower. Very fragrant white flowers bloom in late spring and early summer, wafting sweet fragrance that carries on the warm breezes.

Part sun to sun. 3-4’ tall. Hardy in zones 4-7.

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Incrediball® Hydrangea arborescens

Incrediball hydrangea will make you say WOW - it's an improved version of the garden classic 'Annabelle' hydrangea, but with strong, sturdy stems that don't flop over and extra-large blooms to boot. White flowers begin to appear in mid-summer and open to enormous snowballs, nearly the size of basketballs! They then age to a lush jade green, which persists through frost. It's a super easy, super reliable North American native that grows in chilly zone 3 all the way up to zones 8/9. Plant Incrediball hydrangea in your landscape and find out for yourself just how big, beautiful, and rewarding it can be.

Part sun to sun. 4-5’ tall. Hardy in zones 3-8.

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Limelight Prime® Hydrangea paniculata

Panicle hydrangeas are classic plants for moon gardens, as their prominent, cone-shaped blossoms brighten up the evening garden from midsummer into fall. You’ll love Limelight Prime for its strong, upright stems that carry huge, gorgeous panicles of flowers that open light green, brighten to white, and then slowly take on warm pink and red tones as the nights turn cooler. There will be plenty of extras if you’d like to clip a few for a fresh bouquet on your patio table. Everyone needs at least one of these easy to grow hydrangeas!

Part sun to sun. 4-6’ tall. Hardy in zones 3-8.

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White Chiffon® Hibiscus syriacus

The crisp white flowers of White Chiffon® rose of Sharon make a cool, refreshing oasis in the landscape that is especially effective on summer nights, when they seem to shine out from the plant. Fluffy centers not only make the blooms extra showy, they also ensure this plant sets much less seed than conventional roses of Sharon as well. All of the Chiffon® series naturally grows with a useful rounded habit and soft graceful stems. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to them and deer tend not to find them tasty.

Full sun. 8-12’ tall, 4-6’ wide. Hardy in zones 5-9.

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Pugster White® Buddleia

Here’s an easy way to bring the butterflies right up to your patio! Dwarf butterfly bushes like Pugster White are perfect plants for bordering sunny seating areas since they don’t take up much space and draw pollinators in close for a fun summertime show. You’ll get to enjoy their fragrant flowers for months beginning in midsummer and lasting until fall. These drought tolerant, sun loving plants won’t mind the reflected heat from your paved patio and require little maintenance to thrive.

Full sun. 2’ tall, spreading 2-3’ wide. Hardy in zones 5-9.

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Perfecto Mundo® Double White Reblooming Azalea

Reblooming azaleas have become staples in southern gardens, and this is the very best we’ve found in our extensive trials. Its radiant white, double blossoms appear prolifically in spring, as is expected with azaleas, but it also boasts amazing rebloom from late summer into fall. Attractive dark green foliage provides a contrasting backdrop for the bright blooms which glow in the evening sun. A beautiful evergreen option for your moon garden!

Part sun to sun. 2.5’ tall, spreading 3-4’ wide. Hardy in zones 6b-9b.

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Steady Eddy® Viburnum

Viburnums make great landscape shrubs since they are so easy to grow and need very little maintenance to thrive. Most bloom once in the spring, but we’re recommending Steady Eddy doublefile viburnum for moon gardens because it is a strong repeat bloomer, continuing to flower throughout the summer months. If you leave enough space for it to grow to its natural size and shape without pruning, you’ll get to enjoy its elegantly layered branching structure that’s decorated with white lacecap blossoms for months.

Part sun to sun. 4-5’ tall and wide. Hardy in zones 5-8.

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Reminiscent™ Crema Rosa

Combining the classic beauty and fragrance of old-fashioned roses with the disease resistance and bloom performance that is expected of modern roses, Reminiscent Crema rose is absolutely a delight to grow. Each large, full blossom boasts a high petal count and smells just like you’d hope a rose this beautiful would. Standing up to 3’ tall, it is the perfect size for growing in the middle of a moon garden or around your patio where its creamy white blossoms will glow in the soft evening light. No deadheading is needed to keep the flowers coming all summer.

Full sun. 1.5-3’ tall. Hardy in zones 4-9.

Want even more choices? This article is excerpted from 25 White and Silver Plants Perfect for Creating Moon Gardens where you’ll find a large collection of Proven Winners® white and silver annuals and perennials that partner perfectly with the shrubs mentioned here.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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Photos and story by Monrovia Nursery Company

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