Adding trees to your garden is a great way to break up the landscaping, especially if it looks quite ordered already.
Maybe you’ve got very neat flower beds with lovely blooms that never look out of place, and you need something to break up the planting.
Trees allow your eyes and your body to ‘rest’, when so many other parts of your garden can have rather a lot going on at once, especially if you have prolific borders of flowers in a sheer rainbow of color.
Trees with white bark are a good option for any garden – you get the vivid green from the leaves, as well as the tall white trunks which break up the planting scheme and brighten up any area.
Why Should You Grow White Trees?
White trees add a wealth of character to any space, especially if you feel your garden is currently missing something important.
If you’re worried about adding a tree that will get too big for your garden, you can choose a particularly slow-growing species, or a type that doesn’t mind being cut back hard if you so wish.
There’s a type of white tree for every garden, which will also add height interest, as well as being its own ecosystem for wildlife, which is beneficial for your plants no matter how you look at it.
Make sure to choose the right tree for the climate you live in, and for the size of your garden. If you live in the American Midwest, for example, you would probably struggle to grow a gum tree, but a lot of the others on this list would suit your garden.
Betula papyrifera ‘Paper Birch’
Native to North America, this tree has very bright bark which offsets nicely against the bright green leaves.
It’s also known as the white birch, or the canoe birch, where Native Americans would use the bark for canoes.
Platanus occidentalis ‘American Sycamore’
If you want an ever-changing tree that will add interest to your garden, you can’t go wrong with the American sycamore. The white bark peels off the trunk in patches, adding a great display to your garden.
The foliage can grow up to 70 feet wide, and will tolerate most weather as long as it gets some sunlight.
Betula utilis ‘Himalayan Birch’
Native to the Himalayas – unsurprisingly, really – this birch will grow well anywhere that doesn’t have really hot, dry summers, as long as it can get well-draining soil, and partial or full sun for at least most of the day.
Betula pendula ‘Silver Birch’
The bark of a silver birch has a lovely sheen to it, which has meant that it is valued all over the world, not just its native Northern Europe.
Populus alba ‘White Poplar’
If you have a lot of space you’re looking to fill, a white poplar is a good option. It grows quickly, and can reach 100 feet tall in less time than you would expect.
The tree grows mainly straight up, and it produces small branches that also point to the sky rather than outward, so if you have neighboring trees, this is a good choice.
It needs full sun and well-draining soil.
The bark is smooth, and the shade of white darkens with age.
Betula ermanii ‘Erman’s Birch’
If you’re after a more cream-colored bark, Erman’s birch is for you. This tree is native to Siberia, Japan, and China, and are hardy to cooler temperatures.
Planatus ‘Plane Tree’
Found throughout the UK, the plane tree is popular as an ornamental, and the unusual appearance of the bark which has different colored splotches as if someone had painted a landscape.
It’s more tolerant of city conditions than other types.
Populus tremuloides ‘Quaking Aspen’
If you’re worried about a tree getting too tall, the quaking aspen grows to a maximum of 50 feet. The white bark grows thick ridges as the tree gets older.
To thrive, the quaking aspen needs full sun, and tolerates the occasional flood, and most weather conditions you can throw at it.
Taxodium distichum ‘Bald Cypress’
If you’re after a more subtle white bark option, the bald cypress is for you. These trees are simply beautiful, and can reach incredible ages of more than a thousand years. The roots do spread out, so keep this in mind if you want one for your own green space.
Pinus albicaulis ‘Whitebark Pine’
A tree adapted to the high altitudes of Canada and the western parts of the United States, the white bark pine is often found in the Rocky Mountains.
While they can look somewhat scruffy, which can rule them out in formal landscaping, these trees have a lot of personality.
Eucalyptus perriniana ‘Spinning Gum’
This tree is often found in places where snow covers the ground for several months at a time, so you may be surprised to learn that it’s native to New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, among other places.
The domestic varieties can adapt to nearly any type of climate.
Betula albosinensis ‘Fascination Birch’
The name of this birch is fitting, as the bark peels back to reveal different colors, from a coppery red to pure white.
It’s also a tree that grows quickly, and it’s a great option if you want a decent canopy over your garden.
Eucalyptus mannifera ‘Brittle Gum’
Native to South-Eastern Australia, this is a beautiful tree that features smooth, white bark, which will add an unusual display to brighten up any garden space. It needs shallow, rocky soil in order to thrive.
Betula ‘White Satin’
Another variety of the birch tree, white satin, is known to grow quickly, which is ideal if you have a lot of space to fill. The bright green leaves turn a glorious golden-yellow color in autumn.
Populus tremula ‘European Poplar’
You’ll want to check with your local authority before you consider the European poplar tree, as it’s often considered invasive. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful tree, which is native to Iceland and parts of Northern Europe, and bears a resemblance to the quaking aspen, but the bark has a grayer hue than the aspen, which is pure white.
Corymbia aparrerinja ‘Ghost Gum’
A tree native to Australia, this is another species with an unusually smooth texture to its white bark. The trunk only splits into small branches when it gets taller, but this adds to its character, along with the feathery leaves it produces.
You’ll want to make sure you can grow this tree where you live, as it doesn’t tolerate harsh winters or cold temperatures, but otherwise it’s a fairly tough tree that makes a great option for most gardens.