Flowers grow from clumps of long, green/grey leaves. The white, nodding flowers have green v shaped markings on the edge of the inner petals and a faint, honey-scented fragrance.
What to use it for
Excellent to provide some cheerful colour in the depths of winter. Use in borders/beds, rock gardens or for underplanting roses, shrubs and trees. Can be naturalised in lawns.
How to look after it
When buying snowdrops it’s best to get them ‘in the green‘ – with the leaves still in growth – as this will help them establish more quickly. Dry bulbs can take a season or more to settle in before they will start flowering.
Divide clumps every few years to keep them growing vigorously.
How to prune it
No pruning required.
How to propagate it
Lift and divide clumps in spring after flowering but while the leaves are still growing (called ‘in the green’).
Chipping can be done in early summer and twin-scaling throughout summer, with the new bulbs being grown on in a humus-rich nursery bed in light shade and kept above -2°C, or grown on in deep seed trays or pots in a frost free place. The new plants should flower after three years’ growth.
Snowdrops can also be grown from seed (except double-flowered ones), although cultivars may not come true from seed. Seeds may only be produced in milder weather in which the pollinating bees thrive. Collect the seeds as the capsules split open in summer and sow them immediately to avoid dormancy.
Other useful information
The name Galanthus is derived from the Greek words for milk and flower.
Fans of snowdrops are called galanthophiles.
This snowdrop has achieved the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Cultivated since the 1900s it was only formally exhibited in 1951. It was originally developed by Samuel Arnott (after whom it is named), a Scottish botanist and garden writer from Dumfries (1852-1930).
Contact with this plant can irritate the skin and a mild stomach upset may be caused if any parts are eaten.