Snowdrops and Snowflakes for the Garden

Snowdrops and snowflakes might remind you of winter weather conditions but they are also the common names for some very special bulbs that mostly bloom in the late winter, early spring, and spring gardens. They are known botanically as Galanthus and Leucojum. These bulbs produce elegant, nodding, pure white flowers often with green detailing.

Galanthus elwesii

The snowdrops or Galanthusare often the first plants to bloom in Canadian gardens. They come into bud and bloom often when snow is still on the ground or just after it has melted. On Canada’s West Coast, blooming usually starts in February. In colder zones, blooming will occur a bit later in the season. Their nodding flowers look like little nodding three-bladed propellers. They are easy to grow and tough and will expand into beautiful colonies given time.

Galanthus ‘Mount Everest

Snowdrops enjoy a cult following in the UK and mainland Europe where aficionados are known as “galanthophiles”. You can find them tip toeing around gardens every February and March bending over, getting down on their knees, and even lying on their bellies to enjoy, marvel, and photograph these late winter wonders.

If you decide to delve into galanthomania, you will discover all of their beautiful subtleties which include differences in flower size, petal length and width, the shape and size of the green petal markings, stem height, plant habit, and also in the number of petals when it comes to the exquisite double forms.

Galanthus ‘Dionysus’

Galanthus ‘Hippolyta’

The snowdrops have cousins called the snowflakes or Leucojum. The most common is L. aestivumor summer snowflake which blooms in late spring or early summer. There are two other more unusual species well worth growing. The spring snowflake (L. vernuum) blooms in early spring with broad, bell-shaped, nodding flowers with green tips to each petal. The autumn snowflake (L. autumnale) is unusual within the group in that it blooms in the fall with pure white, nodding, conical to bell-shaped flowers that dangle from burgundy stems. The various species of snowflakes will also bulk up over time to make lovely clumps.

Leucojum autumnale ‘September Snow’

Leucojum vernuum

Both the snowdrops and snowflakes are rare and choice bulbs. At Phoenix Perennials, we offer a variety of species and cultivars for pre-ordering through the summer and fall for pick-up or shipping in late September and early October. Should supplies last, we may also have them available potted up in early spring. Visit our online store today!