Galanthus nivalis

Scientific name: Galanthus nivalis


Common names: “common snowdrop” “candlemas bells” “purification flower”

Plant Type: Herbaceous bulb


Zone: 3-9

Light: partial shade (tolerate sun in Victoria)

Exposure: Sheltered

Soil: Humus rich soils

Moisture: Well drained moist soil that does not dry out in summer


Plant Size: H 4″ W 4″

Leaf and Stem shape:  Narrow, grey-green leaves

Flower: Solitary, nodding, fragrant white flowers with 6 tepals, the inner 3 petals marked with a green V-shape, blooms January – March

Maintenance: no pruning or maintenance required, plant 3″ deep and 3″ apart

Landscape use: good underneath trees and shrubs, flower borders and wildflower meadows

Propagate: by seed and division, if bulbs are planted too high, the will make a “dropper” which will divide off at a lower depth and they won’t flower that year.

Pests & Disease: none in Victoria

*Deer resistant

Comments: Best moved when they have green parts showing, toxic fluid in stem may cause irritation to some people

Cultivars: over 19 kinds, some can be very expensive

G. elwesii “giant snowdrop” – almost twice the size, 3 inner petals marked with more green (2 spots or 1 long continuous band), can tolerate drier gardens


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