Snowdrop is a woodland flower suitable for planting in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-7 that is native to Europe and Asia.
It thrives beneath trees and shrubs in full winter sun and the filtered rays of early spring. The ideal soil for this plant is organically rich, moist, and well-draining.
The white blossoms of this charmer have inner petals that are accented with what look like tiny green upside-down hearts. The kids in our family love to spot them in a snowy landscape.
Here’s what’s ahead in this article:
How to Grow Snowdrops
This is an easy-care perennial, and planting bulbs in groups to encourage the formation of clumps is recommended. Over the years, they will naturalize to form large drifts of blossoms that breathe life into the wintry landscape.
I like to tuck a few handfuls in unlikely places, near a garden gate or the front steps, to surprise visitors to my home with an early sign of spring.
Plant in the spring or fall. Work the soil to a crumbly consistency and make holes about three inches deep.
Place one bulb in each hole with the pointed top facing up. Allow about three inches between each, and sow in groups of 10 or more.
Depending upon your soil conditions as determined by soil testing, you may incorporate some bone meal or your chosen fertilizer into the earth at this time. By the second year, maturity should bring blossoms. Be patient – it’s worth the wait!
After blooming, allow the foliage to die off on its own. While it remains green, it will continue to provide the nourishment that ensures beautiful flowers next season. When it withers, you may remove it or let the other plants in the garden grow over it.
Cheery Indoor Containers
In addition to sowing in the garden, snowdrop grows well in containers with good drainage holes. Start in February to force bulbs to bloom indoors. Place them side by side, planted three inches deep with their points facing up, in potting medium mixed with a little bone meal or fertilizer.
Set your pot in a cool cellar or enclosed porch to mimic the chill of winter. Once you see foliage, bring it indoors and set it in a location that receives filtered, indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist and wait for the blossoms!
You may also try container cultivation outdoors, but remember that pots dry out and freeze at faster rates than the ground. Choose a sheltered southern or western location, and be vigilant about watering and drainage.
Bulbs that don’t get enough moisture may wither, and those that become saturated may rot. Also, pots that don’t drain well may fill with water, freeze, and crack.
Galanthus naturalizes by two methods: dropping seed, and generating bulb offsets. You may divide bulb perennials as desired to thin them out, pot them up, or share with friends.
Use your trowel to dig straight down about five inches around the clump you wish to remove. Gently ease your trowel underneath to release its grip on the earth, and pull it up. Move this clump directly to a new location, or pot it up to share with friends.
Where to Buy
As a perennial, snowdrop is a sound investment that returns bigger and better each year. And with the ability to generate new clumps that may be relocated, you can enjoy an excellent bang for your buck.
The trick is to start with quality plants, so here are two you can count on:
G. elwesii is available from Burpee. This variety boasts the largest, most fragrant blossoms. It has been known to reach a foot in height, and is hardy to zone 3. You’ll receive twenty-five deer- and rabbit-resistant bulbs per package.
G. nivalis is available from Burpee. This type has smaller blossoms, a light fragrance, and it will generally reach about six inches tall. It’s also hardy to zone 3, and each package contains 25 deer- and rabbit-resistant bulbs.
Are you ready to make snowdrop an integral part of your pre-spring landscape?
In addition to the fact that it’s pretty, hardy, rabbit and deer-resistant, and naturalizes readily, the Galanthus genus has a natural immunity to juglone toxicity. This means you’ve finally found a plant to grow beneath your black walnut trees!
Order your bulbs in time for fall or spring planting, and enjoy gardens full of life that defy the chill of winter.
Are you eager to add this plant to your landscape? What are some of your other early-season favorites? Let us know in the comments below!
And don’t forget to check out our other articles on deer-resistant plants and gardening tips, including:
- Dear Deer, Leave My Trees Alone
- Tips to Keep Deer Out of the Garden
- How to Build Your Own DIY Deer Fence
Photo by Lorna Kring © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Burpee. Uncredited photos via Shutterstock.
About Nan Schiller
Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!