Best white flowering trees and shrubs for pots – 5 small but impactful varieties

Brimming with blooms, these container trees and shrubs will brighten up your outdoor space with elegant flowers

White flowering trees
(Image credit: Nataliia Kozynska via Getty Images)

If you're a lover of spring and summer blooms, then flowering trees is a must for your outdoor space. Even if you don't have a large yard, there are ways to incorporate small trees to the space you have available.

Container gardening is a great solution to gardening with limited space or if you want to create interest on a balcony or patio. There are lots of trees in pots to choose from that can add height to your containers and the good news is many of them produce beautiful and elegant white blooms.

We've compiled an expert list of the best white flowering trees for pots to add floral interest to your yard.

White flowering tree

(Image credit: Panther Media GmbH via Getty Images)

Best white flowering trees for pots

Small flowering trees are ideal for adding blooms to your container gardens and make it possible to enjoy spring and summer trees even if you have limited space. Discover the best white flowering trees in pots in our expert list below.

1. Prunus 'Snow Showers'

White flowering weeping cherry tree

(Image credit: KC Hunter via Alamy)

When you think of spring blossoms, the first thing that comes to mind is likely to be flowering cherry trees which instantly add charm to any outdoor space.

Prunus 'Snow Showers' is the ideal white cherry tree for pots because of its narrow and compact nature. It grows best in US hardiness zone 4 to zone 8.

'This beauty bursts with fragrant white blooms in spring - its compact size makes it perfect for pots,' says Evan Torchio, plant expert and CEO of Tree Mender.

It produces clusters of white blossoms along its weeping branches and the foliage turns a gorgeous orange color in fall.

Evan Torchio
Evan Torchio

Evan Torchio is a plant expert and the CEO and Founder of Tree Menders. He earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry and is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture. Evan provides advice on indoor and outdoor plants.

2. Azalea Japonica white

White azalea japonica

(Image credit: Fencewood Studio/Illustrative via Alamy)

If you're after something shrubbier but equally beautiful, azaleas are the perfect pick. Azalea Japonica is a small variety that thrives in containers, growing best in US hardiness zone 6-8.

'This beautiful, low-growing evergreen shrub bears masses of white flowers in April and May,' says Eleanor Gould, Director of Gardening and Grounds at The Inn at Little Washington. 'It grows well in moist, acidic well-drained soil in sun or shade. They grow well in containers, require little work and are beautiful throughout the year,' she adds.

You can also fertilize azaleas to encourage blooms to last for longer, but take care to plant them in well-draining soil in your pots to ensure they don't become oversaturated. 

Eleanor Gould
Eleanor Gould

Eleanor Gould is the Director of Gardening and Grounds at The Inn at Little Washington. She has previous experience in landscaping and horticulture and advises on gardening matters.

3. Viburnum opulus 'Roseum'

Viburnum opulus 'Roseum'

(Image credit: Photos by R A Kearton via Getty Images)

Another shrub with showy blooms is viburnum. Its a deciduous shrub that has spherical blooms in spring and colorful berries in fall.

There's an obvious choice for a white viburnum variety for pots - Viburnum opulus 'Roseum,' which thrives in US hardiness zones 4 - 8.

'This shrub is known for its large, snowball-like white flowers. While it can grow quite big, dwarf varieties thrive in containers,' says Evan. 'Pick a pot that allows room for its roots and provides good drainage. Clay pots are a good option here,' he adds.

Make sure to research how to prune viburnum after it flowers in order to encourage further growth and bushiness.

4.  Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'

Magnolia Grandiflora Little Gem

(Image credit: BIOSPHOTO via Alamy)

If there's one tree that comes out on top in early spring, it's magnolia trees. While you may think of magnolias as large trees that create beautiful pink and white canopies, there are smaller varieties that can do well in pots.

'Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' is a dwarf version of the southern magnolia. Its a broadleaf evergreen tree that looks green and lush all year round with large white flowers in the summer,' says tree care expert Lisa Tadewaldt. 'Magnolias love well-drained soil, which potting can help with,' she adds.

Just because this is a smaller variety, however, doesn't mean you can get away with giving it less attention. It's important to prune magnolia trees of all sizes to keep them shapely and encourage blooming.

You can also find compact varieties of magnolia trees among the best pink flowering trees for pots if you're after something with a bit more color.

This magnolia variety is hardy in US hardiness zone 7 to zone 9.

Lisa Tadewaldt
Lisa Tadewaldt

Lisa Tadewaldt is co-founder of Urban Forest Pro, a tree care company based in Portland, Oregon, U.S. An ISA Certified Arborist, Lisa has been in the tree care business for over 20 years and has established a great reputation as a tree care expert within the industry.

5.  Fuchsia 'Hawkshead'

Fuchsia 'Hawkshead'

(Image credit: via Alamy)

There's a reason fuchsias are popular - they're versatile and can be used in the garden in different ways, including in pots. For a white variety, Fuchsia 'Hawkshead' is a charming choice.

This is an upright deciduous shrub that grows around three feet tall. It has slender leaves and dainty white tubular blooms that drop down.

Fuchsias do best in well-draining soil, which is why they work well in pots. It can be a good idea to add pebbles at the bottom of your fuchsia's container to aid drainage further. 

Fuchsia 'Hawkshead' grows well in US hardiness zone 7 to zone 10.

Discover stylish planters online


How do you care for potted trees and shrubs in winter?

It's essential to provide winter protection for container plants as temperatures drop. Roots sitting close to the edge of pots are susceptible to freezing, so it can be a good idea to overwinter your potted trees and shrubs. There are a few ways you can do this. For example, you might choose to wrap the container in material like hessian or add mulch to the base of the plant. You can also cover it with a fleece to protect plants from frosts.

Even if you only have a balcony or patio to work with, you can add height and beautiful blooms to your container garden with white flowering trees for pots.  

Make sure to also explore our expert guide of the best low maintenance trees for pots for more options of potted trees that don't require lots of attention.

Tenielle Jordison
News Writer (Gardens)

Tenielle is a News Writer in the Gardens team at Homes & Gardens with five years of journalistic experience. She studied BA Journalism, Media and English Literature and MA Magazine Journalism at Cardiff University. Before coming to Homes & Gardens, Tenielle was in the editorial department at the Royal Horticultural Society and worked on The Garden magazine. She is passionate about sustainable living and likes to encourage gardeners to make greener choices to help tackle the effects of climate change with a trowel in hand. Tenielle is also a houseplant lover who is slowly running out of room for her ever-growing collection.