10 white flowering trees for an indigenous moon garden

White is used in landscaping to create a classic feel. White flowering trees provide a neutral tone and can serve to lighten the darker areas of a garden. As discussed in our previous moon garden blog, white flowers also appear to glow at night.

Pearls, lace, unicorns, clouds, swans, polar bears and doves are all known for their snow-white hue. White is said to symbolise neutrality, mental clarity, purity and perfection - all of which are motivations for planting a white palette garden, known as a moon garden.

how to create a moon garden

When it comes to naturescaping, according to the pollination syndrome, white flowering plants attract nocturnal animals like nectar-feeding bats and moths. White flowers are often nocturnal with a heightened smell at night.

A moon garden is well suited for any late night corporations and evening restaurants. It is also a thing of beauty for any insomniac and dream deprived. 

Here is a list of 10 white flowering trees for a moon garden:

Common bush-cherry (Maerua cafra)

The common bush-cherry was voted as the rare tree of 2016. It has ambrosial, spider-like flowers and a light-coloured bark, which make it a great moon garden specimen.

© JMK

© JMK

False olive (Buddleja saligna)

Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to admire the bark and white pompom flowers of the false olive. Fairy lights in the trees will create ambiance in the moon garden. 

Forest elder (Nuxia floribunda)

The forest elder is a must-have in a moon garden because it flowers in the winter months when little else does. It is also arguably the Royals Royce of trees thanks to its powder-white flowers.

Natal camwood (Baphia racemosa)

With its sprays of sweetly-scented white flowers, this tree is ideal for a moon garden on the Natal coast. The Natal camwood is eye-catching during the day as it attracts butterflies and parrots.

Common rothmannia (Rothmannia capensis)

The large white flowers of the common rothmannia will catch the moonlight perfectly in a luna garden. Life Landscapes highly recommends this tree. 

Peawood (Craibia zimmermannii)

The peawood is a protected tree in South Africa. It is a wonderful choice for a Natal moon garden or butterfly garden thanks to its white, perfumed flowers. Interestingly, many consider the paler flowers to be more scented than their darker counterparts.

Transvaal gardenia (Gardenia volkensii)

During its six-month flowering period, the large white flowers of the Transvaal gardenia open at night. The flowers of the Transvaal gardenia are pollinated by moths. The large white flowers reflect the moon's rays to perfection. 

Kei white bauhinia (Bauhinia bowkeri)

Come spring, this rare, endemic shrub is literally snowed under with white blossoms. Its long-lasting and prolific flowering habits make it perfect for a moon garden.

creating a south African moon garden

© JMK

White pear (Apodytes dimidiata)

The white pear will add charm to a moon garden from September to April when it is in full flower. Its dark, glossy leaves provide a powerful contrast to its flowers, and it makes for a great screen tree. 

Wild pear (Dombeya rotundifolia)

Reminiscent of cherry blossoms in Japan, the wild pear is the white knight of a moon garden! This drought- and frost-resistant tree is part of the rose family, and its highly scented flowers bloom in July.

Although Life Landscapes prefers indigenous gardens, there are three exotic trees that we would also recommend for a white palate moon garden - the moonflower, magnolia and frangipani.

moon garden