Introduction to the Snowflake Flower

Updated May 31, 2022
Summer snowflakes

Snowflake flowers (Leucojum) are pretty, early-blooming perennial bulbs that are very easy to grow. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 through 9, these lovely plants beautify any spring garden with their lovely bell-shaped white flowers and with striking green grass-like foliage.

Snowflake Flower Characteristic Infographic

Growing Snowflake Flower in Your Garden

Snowflake flowers are a beautiful addition to your flower garden. They are bulb plants that should generally be planted during the fall, prior to the first frost. Snowflake flowers are similar to snowdrops (Galanthus) in appearance, but you can tell the difference by counting the green dots at the end of each petal. Both types of flowers have six petals. Snowflakes have a green dot at the tip of each of their petals, while snowdrops only have dots on half of theirs.

Where to Plant Snowflake Flower: Light and Soil Requirements

Snowflake flowers will grow in full or partial sun. To allow for maximum growth, plant bulbs three feet apart. For a thicker display with smaller plants, place the bulbs closer together (as close as four inches). Snowflakes prefer well-draining soil, though they tolerate clay. They don't care about acidity; they'll grow just fine in acidic, neutral, or alkaline soil. If the soil isn't already rich in organic matter, enhance it with composted manure. Add some bulb fertilizer, such as Bulb-Tone, to the planting hole.

Watering and Fertilizing

During late winter and early spring, watch for your snowflake flowers to start to break through the soil. As soon as they do, you'll need to fertilize them again and start watering them deeply once a week. Snowflake bulbs like to stay moist during their active season, so water will be very important from the time their leaves break through the ground through their blooming season. In any week that you get at least two inches of rain, you can skip watering them.

Pruning Snowflake Flowers

It is not necessary to prune snowflake flowers. You can opt to cut off spent flowers and stems after the plant has stopped blooming, but this isn't necessary. The foliage will die off about six weeks after the plants stop blooming. You could prune the leaves off, but why not continue to enjoy the pop of green until it fades away?

Snowflake Flower Pests and Diseases

Snails and slugs often target snowflake flowers, so watch for signs of their slimy presence. Follow best practices for slug control as well as methods for controlling snails and other garden pests.

Propagating Snowflake Flower

Since snowflake flowers are bulb plants, the best way to propagate them is to divide and transplant the bulbs. Like other bulb plants, snowflake bulbs do spread, but not aggressively. As a result, yearly bulb division is not required. You'll only need to divide them for the purpose of propagation or if a grouping becomes overcrowded and needs thinning.

Beautiful Snowflake Flowers to Grow in Your Garden

Enhance your garden from late winter through spring by planting both spring snowflakes and summer snowflakes.

Spring Snowflake

Spring flowering Snowflake (Leucojum vernum) flowers in soft sunshine

Spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum) flowers begin blooming in late winter and continue through early spring, following a similar schedule to daffodils. They start blooming around the same time as snowdrops (Galanthus), which look similar to snowflakes but are smaller. Spring snowflakes are typically between eight and 10 inches tall, with a spread of two to three feet.

Summer Snowflake

Snowbell, dewdrop and also known as St. Agnes' flower with Galanthus nivalis in the background

Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum) flowers bloom in mid-spring, just a few weeks after spring snowflakes and daffodils usually stop blooming. Even though they are called summer snowflakes, these bulbs become dormant in the summer. They typically range from 12 to 36 inches in height, with a spread of two to three feet if planted far enough apart to develop to that size.

Good Companions for Snowflake Flower

There are many good garden companions for snowflake flowers, particularly other spring bulbs. It's also a good idea to include them in beds with summer-blooming perennials, which will take off after snowflakes stop blooming. Consider planting snowflake flowers in your garden along with some (or all!) of the following plants:

  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Grape hyacinth
  • Scilla
  • Crocus
  • Peonies
  • Sedum
  • Echinacea (coneflower)
  • Blanketflower

Add Charm to the Garden With Snowflake Bulbs

The delicate beauty of snowflake blooms makes a lovely counterpoint to some of the more dramatic spring flowers and perfectly sets the stage of the garden for the summer season. This plant is so beautiful and so low maintenance that you're sure to be glad that you decided to add it to your own garden.

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Introduction to the Snowflake Flower