Galanthus Nivalis, the Common Snowdrop


Galanthus nivalis, common snowdrop, has the charm of the snowdrop with its bashful, drooping flower heads. Find facts and information on growing Galanthus nivalis.

"Galanthus nivalis"

Common Snowdrop

Galanthus nivalis is a perennial bulb that is one of the first flowers, along with crocus bulbs, that you will see in your spring landscape. It is truly a welcoming site to see the first signs of spring in this beautiful snowdrop bulb. The genus name ‘Galanthus’ means milk flower, which indeed is a perfect description of snowdrops.

This species has a purity that appears as a clear, clean combination of white and green. It can be found in variations of single, double, and semi-double flowered varieties.

Galanthus nivalis has three outer petals that are pure white and twice as long as the three inner ones which overlap each other to form a cup. At the bottom of each of these inner petals is a ^ shape in green, and the same green is striped over the inside of the cup, leaving a narrow, white margin round the edges.

G. nivalis does well as specimen plantings as well as planting in masses. It grows in Zones 3-9 and reaches heights of 4” to 12" tall, depending on the variety chosen. You should plant them in the sun for the best results. The bulbs can also be planted under dogwoods, hydrangeas, hedges, or among hostas and rodgersias. Snowdrops can give this spare ground a new lease of life. Plant lavishly about 4’ deep and the same distance apart.

"Snowdrops"

Galanthus nivalis in bloom

Propagation is done by dividing the bulbs, rhizomes, or corms and resetting into another location to naturalize and spread for next years blooms.

Galanthus varieties are found in Europe from the Pyrennes to the Ukraine. It is often naturalized in Britain, while the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia, and US, it often grows in woods and scrub at 1,000 to 2,00 ft. Dutch artist Crispin de Passe, drew pictures of this snowdrop variety in 1614 for the first ever nursery catalog.

Related Galanthus Species:

Galanthus elweseii, Galanthus plicatus, and Galanthus woronowii.

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