All That You Need To Know About Snowdrop Flower

snowdrop flower

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

Snowdrops, which are typically the first bulbs to bloom in the late winter and early spring months, are known for their delicate, pure-white blossoms. Snowdrop flower, despite the fact that each individual plant is fairly small, typically multiply in number and form into clumps, which provide for a really cheery sight during the winter.

Snowdrops all have a remarkably similar appearance; in fact, even the most knowledgeable snowdrop experts can have problems telling one kind of snowdrop apart from another. Each bulb develops two or occasionally three slender leaves that are frequently tinged with a bluish-gray color, in addition to one flower stem that typically bears a single flower.

When you grow snowdrops as one of your flower bed ideas, you will notice that the flowers have a very distinctive appearance. They are made up of three outer white petals in the shape of teardrops surrounded by three inner white petals that are shorter and typically feature green or, very occasionally, yellow markings.

The petals of the various types are each uniquely shaped, as are the patterns and arrangements of the green markings on their stems. There are now many hundreds of kinds available, and collectors will frequently spend three-figure sums for a single bulb of the most highly prized rarities.

In spite of the fact that even the most common types might have unexpectedly high prices, the vast majority multiply quite successfully, with the bulbs generating offsets that quickly mature into an amazing small cluster.

How To Grow Snowdrops?

snowdrop flower

The scientific name for snowdrops is Galanthus, and they are closely related to both daffodils and amaryllis. They tend to bloom in the middle of winter and at the beginning of spring. However, there are other types that bloom in the middle of fall and in the middle of spring.

Snowdrops are hardy enough to flourish in regions as cold as USDA zone 3, but in the more temperate zones 7 and 8, with the right selection of types, the snowdrop flowering season can last for more than six months.

Varieties that flower in the autumn may put up their flowering shoots before the leaves, but later in the season, flowers and leaves emerge simultaneously. Varieties that flower in the spring may send up their flowering shoots before the leaves.

The petals are highly sensitive to the sun's rays, and on bright days, the three outer petals spread out in a wide arc. This causes the blooms to stand out more prominently from a greater distance in winter gardens. The perfume of those types that already have a pleasant aroma is also improved by exposure to sunlight.

Double-flowered cultivars, which have many additional petals in the center of the flower, are also effective in showing up on overcast days.

snowdrop flower

In the areas of our country that experience the coldest winters, the flowering of winter plants may be postponed, and the growing season may be condensed into a few weeks of springtime joy. Snowdrops are unable to flourish in regions that experience mild winters since they require temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degrees Celsius) or lower in order for their flowers to open.

The Different Kinds Of Snowdrop And How To Choose Appropriate One

Galanthus nivalis, also known as the common snowdrop, and Galanthus elwesii, sometimes known as the gigantic snowdrop, are the two species that are cultivated the most.

If you have never tried growing snowdrops before, begin with the common snowdrop. It is the most adaptable, tolerant, and easy-to-grow kind of snowdrop, and it spreads steadily. The blooms on the common snowdrop are small, and the leaves are narrow and greyish in color.

It is also available in a double-flowered variation known as 'Flore Pleno,' which not only multiplies rapidly but also shines more brilliantly on overcast days, making it an excellent choice for you to consider when thinking about your winter landscaping ideas. It is worth taking a closer look at the 'Hippolyta' twin because it is far more refined and presentable than its counterpart.

snowdrop flower

The flowers of the Galanthus elwesii are larger, and the leaves are broader and more greyish in color. Additionally, the inner petals are frequently vividly stained with green. It's very similar to 'Mount Everest,' however, it has green foliage.

Look for 'Atkinsii,' which has honey-scented blossoms in the middle of winter, and 'Scharlockii,' which has green tips to the outer petals of the flower. Specialists stock a large number of unique variations with special names.

When Should You Plant Snowdrops?

There are two distinct ways that you can purchase snowdrops. The types that are more readily available are the ones that are offered as dried bulbs in the fall, ready to be planted straight away.

Because the individual bulbs are so sensitive to drying out, it is better to order or buy them as early in the fall as possible and then immediately plant them. You may learn how to add bulbs to borders, pots, and even your lawn by following the instructions in our planting guide for spring bulbs.

In addition, snowdrops can be purchased "in the green." This implies that they are dug up and properly packaged for sale through mail order while the leaves and, frequently, the blooms are still growing on the plant. Planting snowdrop bulbs at this time of year corresponds with the production of new roots and assists the bulbs in becoming established in their new environment. Snowdrop bulbs typically see a surge in root growth shortly after they have flowered.

snowdrop flower

If the snowdrops you own are ready to be planted when the earth is frozen, you should store them in a location that is frost-free but not particularly warm until the soil thaws.

Where To Plot The Location Of The Snowdrops

The majority of snowdrops thrive best in bright areas that are shielded from direct sunlight and either receive partial or full shade throughout the day.

Beneath the dappled shade of deciduous trees is typically the greatest location for these and other plants that prefer the shade. The conditions under evergreen trees are typically too gloomy and too dry for the plants to thrive. Snowdrops thrive in cooler environments when they get shade from the midday sun.

They are not picky about the level of acidity in the soil. Therefore you do not need to test it before planting these plants.

Snowdrops can also be grown in containers. However, once they have finished flowering, it is recommended to transplant them into the garden rather than leaving them in their containers.

snowdrop flower

When planted alongside other early bulbs that flower at the same time as snowdrops, such as crocuses and winter aconites, as well as with hellebores and under red twig dogwood, snowdrops take on an especially lovely appearance in the garden.

You can also plant them in the grass, where they will often grow consistently over time after being established. The grass should be cut in the fall, before the snowdrops emerge, in order to give them the best possible presentation when they bloom. Before you trim the grass on the lawn again in the late spring, you should hold off until the leaves have completely fallen off.

How To Plant Snowdrops?

When you acquire dormant bulbs in the fall, you should plant them as soon as possible once you get them home. If they are allowed to become dry, it may take them up to a year or two before they are able to settle down and grow nicely. Planting snowdrop bulbs that have been sent to you "in the green" is something else you should do as soon as you receive them.

If it is not possible to plant dormant bulbs right away, for example, if the soil is frozen, put them in moist potting soil in a frost-free but not heated spot until it is possible to plant them.

It is possible to plant plants that have been supplied "in the green" in potting soil, ensuring that the foliage and blooms receive sufficient light.

You should plant snowdrops 2-3 inches (5-7 centimeters) deep and 3-4 inches (7-10 centimeters) apart. To provide optimal growing conditions for snowdrops, amend the soil with garden compost and work it in. Snowdrops need humus-rich soil. Don't forget that our guide to composting offers a lot of information that might help you build your own compost at home.

Care And Maintenance Guidelines For Snowdrops

Snowdrops do not require much in the way of particular care, but during the months of late winter and early spring, when their flowering is at its height, make sure that the soil does not become overly dry.

Another thing to think about is the following:

snowdrop flower

  • The practice of deadheading flowers is typically impracticable, but once the foliage dies back after the flowers have faded, it can either be left in situ to decompose or cleared away and added to the compost heap.
  • It is best to wait to trim the grass in areas where snowdrops have naturalized until both the foliage and the blooms have passed away before doing so.
  • If you give your snowdrops a feeding with a general fertilizer in the fall before covering them with mulch, it will help them grow more vigorously and produce more offspring. Alternately, you might try fertilizing the plants with liquid tomato feed at a strength that is half its normal concentration right after the flowers have formed.
  • In general, bulbs multiply very successfully; in fact, even if you begin with just one bulb, it won't be long before you have two, then four, and many more bulbs after that.
  • Digging up the clumps, separating them by hand, and replanting them as soon as possible provide the plants with additional room in which to grow as they mature and become more densely packed.

How To Make More Snowdrops?

There are varieties of snowdrops that produce seeds. After that, the seed might germinate, and after a few years, it might mature into flowering bulbs.

However, the most effective technique to increase the number of snowdrops in your garden is to dig up mature clumps, separate the bulbs within the clumps by pulling them apart, and replant each individual bulb as soon as possible in soil that has been amended. This gives the bulbs more room to grow. Even very young bulbs will quickly bulk up and begin to blossom.

It is important to keep in mind that different varieties of snowdrops grow at different rates, so if you see that the quantity of snowdrops growing in your garden is staying the same, you should look into why. The dry weather of spring and depleted soil might also contribute to slower development and reduced spread.

After a period of time during which they have not been disturbed, bulbs may experience a slowing of development and cessation in bloom production. This occurs because the bulbs' roots have used up all of the nutrients that are present in the soil.

If they haven't fed or mulched their plants, this is a particularly likely scenario. Digging up the clump as the leaves are falling off and then amending the soil before replanting is the method that is most straightforward, and this will provide them with the space as well as the plant foods that they require.

Snowdrops Disputes And Solutions To Those Disputes

In most cases, snowdrops do not cause any problems. Even though there are a few rare diseases that can affect snowdrops, most animals, such as squirrels and other rodents, leave them alone. Snowdrops can also be susceptible to several fungal diseases.

If you find a bulb that is stunted or covered with a dusty white mold, you should dig it up carefully and throw it away (not on the compost heap).

snowdrop flower

Is It True That Snowdrops Originated From North America?

Actually, snowdrops flower are native to the wild regions of Europe, stretching from France and Spain all the way east to Turkey and Syria.

It is possible that they were transported to North America by early settlers, where they subsequently escaped from gardens, particularly along the eastern seaboard, and that they are still occasionally discovered on the grounds of long-defunct homesteads.

Are Snowdrops presumptuous?

The snowdrop is not an invasive species, no. Even if they do spread, snowdrops are so small and have such a limited capacity for covering other plants that we should enjoy them and not feel intimidated by them. They have been known to sneak out of gardens and establish themselves in surrounding deciduous forests.

A scattering of snowdrops among the fallen leaves of the forest in the winter. They will spread, but they will not intrude on the territory of other plants.

snowdrop flower

Are Snowdrops Deer Resistant?

Snowdrops are not consumed by deer very often, which is one of the reasons why they can sometimes expand steadily across deciduous forests. Instead, deer prefer to munch on other plants that could potentially compete with snowdrops rather than the snowdrops themselves.

Is It Possible To Put Snowdrops In Pots?

Snowdrops can be grown in containers, but they do much better when planted in garden borders or other outdoor spaces. This is due to the fact that although the flowers and foliage may survive extremely cold weather, the bulbs themselves are not as hardy, and bulbs that are grown in pots are more susceptible to the cold.

If you want to attempt growing in pots, select a garden planter that is deeper than it is wide and put the bulbs between two and seven centimeters (two to three inches) deep. Plant them in closer proximity than you normally would in the garden, and be sure to use fresh potting soil.

It is important not to compact the potting soil too much because doing so can obstruct drainage, and snowdrops do not like their roots to be too damp. After the flowers have faded, apply tomato food fertilizer and repot the bulbs on an annual basis; alternatively, cultivate the bulbs in containers for one growing season before planting them in the ground.

If you want to make some bright winter containers, you might want to think about mixing snowdrops with a selection of the best winter plants for pots. This can help you get the desired effect.

I Looked Around And Found What Appeared To Be Giant Snowdrops. Are Those Snowdrops Too?

These are known as snowflakes, Leucojum, and although they are related to snowdrops, there are two key differences between the two types of flowers.

The plants can grow to be up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) tall and have wider, brighter green leaves. Despite the fact that the flowers are identical in appearance, they have six petals that are all the same length and are fused together into a bell shape.

The snowdrop's outer petals are each long and distinct, while the snowdrop's interior petals are more compact.

snowdrop flower

There Are Many Kinds Of Snowdrops. However, They All Appear To Be The Same. How?

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different kinds of snowdrops, yet even though they look different, they are all based on the same basic design.

There are none that are red, nor are there any variants that have twelve blossoms on each stem. The size and shape of the outer petals, as well as the green marks on the inner petals, are of great interest to those who are passionate about the subject.

Because snowdrops are difficult to reproduce in nurseries due to their sluggish growth rate, it takes a very long time for stock of a new variety to build up, which contributes to the fact that their costs are typically quite high.

snowdrop flower

Sometimes the most recent novel types are offered for sale through online auctions, and the current world record for a single bulb is an astonishing $1,824 or £1,390. There are several of these available to buy for $20 to $30 each, and they will increase in value well.

Where Can You Purchase Snowdrops?

You can find some dry bulbs for sale in the fall at large box stores and nurseries, but you can obtain the best selection of snowdrop flower varieties through mail order.