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Snowdrop Flowers - Information and Tips on Growing Galanthus

Updated on November 16, 2015

Poculiform snowdrop flower - Galanthus plicatus

A lovely picture of this sweet little flower.
A lovely picture of this sweet little flower. | Source

Galanthus - Snowdrops - One of Nature's Harbingers of Spring.

Galanthus are so welcomed when they appear in late winter. When it is still fairly cold, and nothing much is blooming in the way of flowers, snowdrops appear and share their joy with the world. Their flowers look as if they are looking downward toward the earth from which they just came. So there is no mistaking them really.

They are dainty little white flowers, as you see in the pictures, and grow from bulbs. They will come back year after year with some simple care. I have noticed them before many other flowers really start to bloom, so they hold a special place in the heart of flower lovers everywhere. They can bloom as early as February, and have been known to push up through the snow.

Snowdrop Flower - Galanthus caucasicus

Galanthus caucasicus
Galanthus caucasicus | Source

Different Varieties of Galanthus

There are about twenty species or so of the hardy snowdrop, or galanthus. Most of them bloom in the late winter or early spring. There is one that blooms in the fall. That one is called G. reginaeolgae. For extra early spring blooming, you could try G. Elwessi or G.caucasicus.

G. nivalis grows to be only four to five inches high. Some of the recommended varieties for G. Nivalis are Scharlockii, Lutescens, Flore Pleno, Pusey Green Tip, Lady Elphinstone and Viridapicis.

Some other recommended varieties include Atkinsii, Sam Arnott, Cordelia, and Magnet, or Galanthus lutescens.

Some others to look for are Crimean, and Giant Snowdrop. I would love to get a few in my own garden, as it would feel like spring got a head start somehow with them blooming like they can.

Snowdrops with a Little Ladybug Visitor - Galanthus elwesii

There weren't many flowers, not to mention many bugs this time of year.  So I was thrilled to see this little ladybug on the snowdrop flowers!
There weren't many flowers, not to mention many bugs this time of year. So I was thrilled to see this little ladybug on the snowdrop flowers! | Source

Planting and Flowering Times for Snowdrops

The best time to plant Galanthus is in September or October in the United States. They can begin to flower once established, as early as December and January, but then more so in February and March. The rest of the months, there isn't a lot else going on that the eye can observe. Underneath the surface though, they are preparing for the next years blooms and storing remaining energy back into the bulb.

Location and Conditions for Planting Snowdrop Bulbs

Ideally, you are looking for a nice shady spot to plant your Galanthus or snowdrop bulbs. Areas with dappled sunlight are also alright. They grow very well in a woodland type of garden, among the trees or along the edges of the woods. They can naturalize very well there, and look simply lovely when they pop up. They grow well among rocks even, which is nice for rocky garden areas.

It is recommended that these not be allowed to experience excessive dryness in the summer. One way to help insure this is you can incorporate plenty of decayed organic matter into the soil site when planting. Also, doing some kind of mulching in the fall helps. You can use manure or compost for mulching.

Snowdrops Growing Along the Water

A beautiful example of how pretty these little flowers can be when grouped together.  Snowdrops - Galanthus
A beautiful example of how pretty these little flowers can be when grouped together. Snowdrops - Galanthus | Source

How to Grow Galanthus or Snowdrop Flowers

Fall is the best time to plant snowdrops. You want them to be about three to four inches deep. If the soil is a bit on the light side, you can go a little bit deeper. Do not let the bulbs dry out before you plant them. Keep in mind that transplanting while still having some growth, helps them to be a healthy plant. They just can't be flowering at the time of transplanting. So if there is some green growth, you are alright.

You will want to mulch your snowdrops when the fall hits. As for watering, you don't really need to water unless it is dry. It usually isn't necessary, but if you live in an area that experiences extremely dry ground then by all means water them.

When it comes time to flower, it will be between winter and spring. It just depends on the species. Some people have been known to cut the flowers and bring them indoors to put in a small vase to enjoy. I tend to enjoy them just as much or more out of doors, but it can be nice on occasion.

As far as any thing that needs to be done when the flowering has finished, it is a good time to divide them. Lift out an existing clump and divide it if you like, only to immediately replant it. In fact, it is recommended that you don't leave your snowdrops out of the soil any more than you have to.

Galanthus elwesii - Snowdrops with Ladybug

I was so happily surprised to see this little ladybug crawling on the snowdrop flowers!
I was so happily surprised to see this little ladybug crawling on the snowdrop flowers! | Source

An Endangered Snowdrop in Sochi, Russia

Of the twenty species or so, Galanthus Panjutinii has now become endangered. I couldn't believe it when I heard the reason wy. It was due to them getting ready for the Sochi Olympic games in Russia. In those efforts, they lost a lot of them. Sochi was only one of five sites that they are even known to be growing. The preparations for the Olympics destroyed them. This area is part of the western Transcaucasus, in the Colchis area.

No one could expect they not get ready for the Olympic games of course. It is just unfortunate that these little flowers have such a small growing range. I just thought it was an interesting thing to learn about. With the knowing, I wonder if they will try to restore what they can after the fact, from some of the other areas perhaps. Sometimes even the bad news can help shed light on a very real situation that can then be helped.

Snowdrop - Galanthus Flower - Poll

Were you already familiar with snowdrop flowers before reading this or seeing these pictures??

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© 2014 Paula


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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I am glad you like the snow drop flowers. I think they are delicate and beautiful also. I have seen them in my parents backyard, and at our local botanical garden. They are sweet little flowers.

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      snow drop flowers are beautiful, never seen them in real life


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