White is known as the colour of peace, the colour of purity, the colour of perfection. Despite some people not considering it a ‘colour’ in the technical sense, it has never failed to charm humanity in some form or the other.
In our gardens too, it has made its presence felt. There are so many options available in white that in some way or the other, it sneaks into our gardens. White flowers are usually fragrant, because they don’t have the bright attractive colours to lure pollinators, and need some way to attract them. Some of the most loved fragrant native flowers in India are white. Let’s delve into my top 10, shall we?
To know about yellow flowers, click here.
To know about red flowers, click here.
Please click on the images to enlarge them.
1. Bela/Mogra/Arabian jasmine:
One of the most common, most fragrant and most beautiful flowers in white. Mogra flowers are offered in the ceremonial worship to Lord Ram. Their fragrance is dewy fresh and makes you want to keep sniffing 😀 Try wrapping the flowers in a wet handkerchief and the fragrance will waft through the whole room!
They’re fairly easy to grow and don’t take much sweat and toil.
The king of ‘low maintenance’ flowering plants, Bougainvillea doesn’t even need water to flower! Well it does need water, to stay alive. But too much water makes it make more foliage than flowers.
White bougainvilleas are actually kind of off-white, but their pearly whiteness looks great with the dark green bougainvillea foliage. There is a certain sophisticated elegance about white bougainvilleas that I don’t find in any other colour, no matter how brightly attractive they are.
If you’re looking for some easy-peasy yet elegant white flowers, you must get these!
Aaah Dahlias! If you’ve been hanging around the blog, you know how smitten I am with these huge flowers. The perfectly aligned petals, the dinner plate sized flowers, and the shiny pristine white blooms are breathtaking! I am serious about getting as many of these as possible (as soon as I figure out where to buy the bulbs or when is the best time to plant them 😀 )
Well if you can, you must get Dahlias. MUST!
Just look at shiny clean Hibiscus flower! White Hibiscuses are a blessing to have. They bloom profusely, and you really don’t have to do much except keep them from drying out.
I love my white Hibiscuses with their pure white flowers with orange dotted stamens. Stunning, aren’t they? Get them as soon as you can. Seriously.
5. Juhi/Jasminum auriculatum:
Juhi is a flower very dear to the Mother Goddess. All forms of Devi are offered Juhi flowers and their small flowers are second to none in beauty or fragrance. Their ambrosial fragrance lingers and is one of the best scents I have ever come across.
The buds are more fragrant than the flowers. Juhi flowers in bunches so the fragrance of multiple flowers together simply transports you to another world. Juhi plants need minding in terms of watering; they need more water than the other plants. More than that, no special care is needed and the ROI is great.
White Sadabahars are so easy to handle that even you’d be surprised at how many flowers you get for no work at all. The only thing they’re sensitive to is over watering.
Keep throwing in some used tea leaves or coffee grounds in the pots, if you see the blooms becoming small. Other than that, keep it alive and you’re done 🙂
A plant I’ve recently discovered and have been bowled over by. Every morning I wake up to a pot full of clean white flowers that look like miniature roses. All I have to do is keep it watered and alive 🙂
Another must have, great ROI.
Rose. Do I have to say more? Just go and get some white roses already. If you get the Desi ones, they’ll flower more frequently, won’t want too much maintenance and be very fragrant too. But I’m no snob when it comes to roses, get any roses you can get.
9. Spider Lily:
Known as Sudarshan in Hindi, this one is another very fragrant flower. The fragrance is mild, and actually very heavenly. This is the first time I have grown Spider Lily, and it seems to be doing great in rains. The structure of the flowers is different and unusual; the petals are kind of spiky and pointy. The centre branches off into multiple stamens which protrude outwards. It looks like a kind of weird outer space type thing 😀
I once kept Bela, Juhi and Sudarshan together in a wet handkerchief and the traces of the scent could be felt for days!
10. Harsingar/Parijaat/Coral Jasmine:
These heavenly flowers with their out-of-the-world fragrance can be recognised by their tell-tale orange stalks.
Also known as Parijaat, these flowers have religious significance too. It is said that the Parijaat tree grows in heaven and is the reason for the eternal youth of all demigods and demigoddesses. It was brought to earth by Lord Krishna, who then had to settle a dispute between two of His wives – Rukmini and Satyabhama. Satyabhama wanted the tree in her palace, whereas Lord Krishna had already promised Rukmini that she would get the flowers. So, He planted the tree in Satyabhama’s yard in such a way that the tree shed all its flowers in Rukmini’s yard. Problem solved 🙂
Harsingar or Parijaat drops its flowers at dawn. The flowers are known for their heavenly fragrance and breathtaking beauty. I, for one, cannot resist the combination of pristine white and bright orange. Harsingar flowers are very dear to Lord Shiva and are used as an offering in His worship. But since the plant does not retain the flowers for long, these are the only flowers that can be picked up from the ground and offered in worship.
Harsingar is a plant suitable to the Indian winters and needs a range of 5-10 degrees celsius. It’s a perennial in India (meaning it doesn’t die out of season). When the season comes, it fills up with stunning white orange flowers with their heady fragrance. Doesn’t need any maintenance either. It’s a tree, so it may not be as full of flowers in a pot. However, that didn’t stop me, why should it stop you?
Jasmines, Juhi and Harsingar are used in perfumery and Harsingar flower stalks are used to create natural orange dye! Did you know that any or all white flowers are offered to Goddess Saraswati? White lotuses are Her favourite, but given that they aren’t in abundant supply, you can use any fragrant white flower 🙂
I love white flowers, as the number of pictures here shows. I hope this post inspires you to go and bring some lovely pure white beauty home 🙂