A snowdrop plant looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem. This accounts for the Latin name Galanthus which means "milk-white flowers".
Since they are small, you probably need to plant a large number to make a dramatic effect. However, in a rock garden, or planted among other early-blooming plants like Snow Crocuses, an odd number of snowdrops here and there can be just as effective.
Under the right circumstances (see Notes) snowdrops will naturalize very well, and a planting of them can last a lifetime. They are well worth the investment. As an added benefit, snowdrops (like other members of the Amaryllis family) are normally avoided by deer and rodents.
|Flowering time:||Very early spring|
|Plant height:||4 - 6" (10 - 15 cm), although some cultivated varieties grow up to 10" (25 cm) tall|
|Minimum planting depth:||3" (8 cm)|
|Hardiness zones:||Suitable for zones 2 - 9, although they do best in zones 4 - 7|
|Colours:||Clear milk white, usually with emerald green tipped inner segments|
|Shape/form:||A single, nodding, bell-like flower, about 1" long with 3 lobes, and shorter inner segments, hanging from a stiff, slender, leafless stalk; 2 - 3 very narrow leaves grow from the base of the plant|
|Alternate names:||Common Snowdrop, Milk Flower|
Latin name: Galanthus nivalis
|Notes:>||Good for rock gardens, under trees and shrubs, at the fronts of borders or in front of flowering shrubs, in lawns, or along woodland paths
Prefers moist, humus-rich soils, sun-dappled shade, and cooler climates, as in zones 4 - 7
Naturalizes both by self-seeding and bulb offsets
|Example varieties:||Garden Snowdrop (white), Flore Pleno (double white flowers), Viridapicis (green markings on tips of both outer and inner petal segments), Sam Arnott (larger flowers, with distinct heart-shaped green markings), Atkins Snowdrop (taller than most, with long, shapely petals)|
|Garden Snowdrop||Viridapicis||Flore Pleno|
|Giant Snowdrop||Sam Arnott|
Although not a giant as flowers go, this species is taller than the Garden Snowdrop, and its blossoms and leaves are also larger. It's not quite as winter hardy, but it is somewhat more tolerant of heat, so it's a better choice for those who live in zones 8 and 9.
|Flowering time:|| Extremely early spring|
Normally flowers slightly earlier than the Garden Snowdrop
|Plant height:||5 - 12"|
|Minimum planting depth:||3"|
|Hardiness zones:||Suitable for zones 3 - 9, although does best in zones 5 - 9.|
|Colours:||Clear milk white, with large spots of emerald green on inner segments|
|Shape/form:|| A single, nodding, bell-like flower, about 2" long with 3 lobes, and shorter inner segments with large green spots, hanging from a stiff, slender, leafless stalk|
2 long bluish-green, strap-like leaves grow from the base of the plant
|Alternate names:||Latin name: Galanthus elwesii|
|Notes:||Good for rock gardens, under trees and shrubs, at the fronts of borders or in front of flowering shrubs, in lawns, or along woodland paths|