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Galanthus nivalis

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Kemper Code:  K300

Common Name: snowdrop
Zone: 3 to 7
Plant Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: Europe
Height: 0.5 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Bloom Time: February   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture: Click for monthly care information.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils in part shade. Grows particularly well under deciduous trees where exposure to the sun is full in early spring but gradually changes to part shade as the trees leaf out. Also prefers cool climates, and is somewhat short lived when grown south of USDA Zone 7. Plant bulbs 2-3 deep and space 2-3 apart in fall. In optimum growing conditions, it naturalizes well by both self-seeding and bulb offsets. Allow foliage to yellow before removing it from garden areas. If left alone, foliage disappears by late spring as bulbs go dormant.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Snowdrop is a true harbinger of spring. It usually blooms in February in the St. Louis area and will often poke its head up through snow cover if present. The common name refers to the supposed resemblance of the flowers to drops of snow. Each bulb produces 2-3 narrow (to 1/4 wide), linear, basal leaves (to 4 at flowering) and a leafless flower scape (to 6 tall) which is topped with a single, nodding, white, waxy, bell-shaped flower (1 long).


No serious insect or disease problems.


Best massed in sweeping drifts in areas where they can naturalize, such as woodland margins or in lawns under large deciduous trees. Also effective in groupings in rock gardens, border fronts, in front of flowering shrubs or along walks or paths. Mix with other early flowering bulbs such as Eranthis (winter aconite).

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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