White flowers have a special purity and can really stand out against a backdrop of greenery. A wide range of white flowers can certainly find a place as ornamentals in many gardens. But white flowers can also serve a range of other purposes. For example, along with purple flowers, they re particularly good at attracting bees and other pollinators. Here is a list of ten of the most useful white flowers to grow in a polytunnel:
Yarrow is an incredibly useful companion plant. It will attract a wide range of beneficial insects to your polytunnel. While growing, this white flowers plant is also said to repel a range of beetles, ants and flies. Yarrow is a very good companion plant, it improves the health of plants growing nearby and enhances their essential oil content, making them more resistant to insect predations.
It can also be used to make a liquid feed, or added to the compost to speed up bacterial activity.
What is more, it is also a useful plant for culinary and medicinal purposes. Young leaves can be eaten in moderation raw or cooked, and it is widely employed in herbal medicine.
There are a wide range of different daisies that can also make a cheerful and useful addition to your polytunnel. These white flowers are ideal companions for fruiting plants, as they are visited by a wide range of pollinators and so will help attract these to the space.
What is more, daisies can also be eaten, in salads or sandwiches, and so can find a place in a range of recipes.
One of the best known herbs with white flowers is chamomile. Chamomile flowers look a little like daisies and are best known for their use in teas and tinctures which can promote relaxation and make it easier to get a good night’s sleep.
This herb is not only good for the gardener, but also for local wildlife. The white flowers will be visited by a wide range of insects.
Chamomile is also beneficial as a compost activator, and is often used as a liquid feed and general plant tonic. It also has fungicidal properties and can be used to combat damping off in seedlings.
Angelica is another herb with white flowers or greenish white flowers. The stems and roots are edible and these are sometimes used in candied form in baking and in other recipes. It also has multiple uses in herbal medicine.
Another good thing about growing angelica in your polytunnel is that it will help to attract bees and hoverflies to pollinate your crops grown nearby.
White Flowers Cosmos (e.g. Sonata White)
Another great white flower for attracting bees are white cosmos. All cosmos are beneficial for bees but the white ones are more easily seen by the bees. Of course, cosmos are also highly ornamental and could enhance the visual appeal of your polytunnel.
Nicotiana alata, or flowering tobacco, is another particularly good bee-friendly plant that will help to attract bees and other pollinators to your polytunnel. It also has a particularly pleasing fragrance that can not only attract beneficial wildlife, but also enhance your polytunnel for recreational use.
White Flowers Jasmine
Another delightfully fragrant white flowering plant is jasmine. Jasmine has a delicious scent and its delicate white flowers will enhance the visual appeal of your polytunnel. The jasmine can be particularly delightful in a polytunnel that you want to be able to enjoy in the evening.
Nigella damascena (e.g. Miss Jekyll Alba)
Nigella damascena’s white variants are another great plant for both visual appeal and wildlife attraction. Another interesting thing about nigella is that after flowering, it will produce edible seeds that can be used in a range of recipes. These have a flavour that resembles nutmeg.
White Flowers Campanula (e.g. ‘White Clips’)
If you want the white flowers in your polytunnel to be edible as well as useful in other ways then you could consider some white campanulas. All campanulas are edible, and most have a mild, slightly sweet and pleasing flavour that makes them not only good garnishes but also good as a key component of summer salads.
Malva moschata f. alba
Another edible flower with good flavour is malva moschata. This also has white flowers variants, which could be good additions to a white flower themed polytunnel. These flowers are also mild and slightly sweet,with a somewhat mucilaginous texture, and can also be used in a range of salads.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.