Snowflake

Spring Snowflake; or,
Snowpake


"The woods rejoic'd the day,
Thro gentle showers, the laughing flowers
In double pride were gay."

-Robert Burns
(17591796)

   

We have Spring Snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) growing with its near relative the Lesser Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis). Spring Snowflakes grows to a foot height so is a bit larger than the Lesser Snowdrops, but much smaller than the other Leucojum in our gardens, L. aestivum.

The little Galanthus with the little Leucojum look & behave very similarly, but the flower petals of the Leucojum are of equal length, & for Galanthus of uneven length, a distinction that will be noticed in all species of each.

SnowflakeSpring Snowflakes is native to western & central Europe. It likes persistently moist soil while it is actively growing in late winter & spring, & can tolerate near-boggy conditions more easily than it can stand drought. Even during summer dormancy it is best if it does not dry out entirely. It reproduces by offsets becoming a thicker clump over time, & naturalizes with great ease in moist humusy soil.

It can bloom as early as February; ours are in full bloom in March & persist in April. The March photo at top of the page shows G. nivalis in the left hand corner, & L. vernum in the background right. The Snowflake varies from eight inches to a foot in height; ours is a full foot. The pendulous flowers are twice the size than the blooms on the Snowdrop, which begins blooming slightly earlier & doesn't last quite so long into spring. The Snowflake's nodding white bell has an emerald-bright dot at the point & base of each petal. The March close-up photo at the right shows this feature.

In our zone they're more easily established than are snowdrops. They like partial shade but are adaptable. Ideally they get shade with reflected indirect lighting, but are adaptable to slightly sunnier spots if kept perpetually moist.

Though too low to the ground to provide much in the way of perfume for the passerby, if you do get down close to it, it does have a pleasing scent reminiscent of violets.

An old drift of Snowflakes may become overcrowded & can be lifted to replant immediately in September or October. They have a surprisingly large root system, so the separated offsets should each be given some space to spread out.

   



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