Virtues: We love summer snowflake, also known as snowdrop, for its drooping white flowers that appear toward the end of spring. This fall-planted bulb is easy to grow. They look wonderful when planted in large groups and they will naturalize to fill in a garden area. Their grassy foliage is unobtrusive and dies down quickly after the bloom. This flowering bulb can be counted on for repeat performance for many years, even in the South.
Common name: Summer snowflake, snowdrops
Botanical name: Leucojum aestivum
Flowers: Bell-shaped white flowers appear in late spring and dangle from the tips of tall flower stems, with two to five flowers per stem. There are green spots at the tips of the petals.
Foliage: The leaves are green and grassy and they come up in the spring. After the plant flowers, the foliage will yellow and die back, with the bulb lying dormant through summer and until the next spring.
Habit: Summer snowflake’s grassy leaves form a vase-shaped plant to 12 or 18 inches tall and under 12 inches wide.
Season: Late spring, for its flowers.
Origin: Leucojums are native to most of Europe and west to Iran.
How to grow Leucojum aestivum: Grow snowdrops in full sun or part shade, in rich soil and where it will receive moderate watering. Snowflakes and snowdrops are planted in the fall. The bulbs should be placed three to four inches deep in the soil and slightly farther apart. Let the leaves alone to die down naturally after the snowflakes bloom, because this is how the bulb re-energizes itself. Leucojum bulbs can spread by forming new bulbs underground. They tolerate clay soil. USDA Zones 4–8.
Image: “Leucojum aestivum7” by KENPEI – KENPEI’s photo. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
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