A lovely bulbous native of Europe and Asia Minor.
The leaves are narrow and strap-shaped, and the
stems, free from foliage, carry drooping flowers
composed of three outer white spoon-shaped segments
and three smaller inner ones that form a short
corona, white and edged with green.
Our native Galanthus nivalis is familiar to all,
and is one of the most cherished of our native
plants, the flowers being borne singly from January
to March on stems up to nine inches; there are
many forms, including lutescens, with a yellow
edging to the corona instead of green, and also
a double-flowered form; the length of the outer
segments is usually a little less than an inch.
Galanthus elwesii and Galanthus byzantinus have
larger flowers and reach a height of one foot.
The bulbs should be planted in late summer or
early autumn in well-drained soil, and should
be given a ground planting of one of the prostrate
growing Thymes to prevent
the purity of the flowers from becoming marred
by mud splashes.
Propagate by offsets when lifting the bulbs.
The flowering season is from January to March.
Four to six inches.
Flowers white, with green markings, February and
The Snowdrop is the earliest of all the commonly
grown bulbs; it is absolutely hardy, and defies
the weather, yet it is capricious as to soil,
and in may places only grows in a half-hearted
way, though in others it overflows from the garden
and increases by thousands in a wild state in
fields and woods.
In any other place where it will thrive, it should
be planted abundantly; once established in shrubberies
or plantations, hedge sides or grassy slopes,
it will multiply year after year untouched.
The bulbs should be planted two inches deep and
about one inch apart, not later than October.
They will grow in shade and under trees, but it
is of little use planting them where the soil
is hard, dust dry, or full of tree roots.
The Snowdrop is happiest where dead leaves, decaying
twigs, green moss and such woodland litter abounds.
After flowering, the foliage must be left to wither
in its own time, and not be trimmed off.
The single and double kinds are both beautiful;
the single are perhaps the more graceful.
The bulbs are apt to “sport”, changing
from single to double, and vice versa.