Snowdrop Bulbs: Learn About The History Of Snowdrops

Pure white diminutive snowdrops have a colorful history. They're the first to pop up in winter and naturalize freely,

white flowers and green leaves of spring flowering snowdrops
(Image credit: Jacky Parker Photography / Getty Images)

Snowdrop plants have long been a welcome addition to flower gardens and landscapes. Among the first blooming bulbs to begin to flower, usually in late winter or early spring, delicate snowdrops are highly sought after.

These diminutive plants, which commonly pop up through snow, offer a small glimmer of hope that warm springtime temperatures are on the way. Though commonly found throughout the United Kingdom and in some areas of the United States, it is thought that the plants were introduced to these areas and then began to spread and naturalize.

History of Snowdrops

Throughout history, snowdrop flowers have played a symbolic role. Signifying purity, hope, and even sympathy, these small, pristine white flowers have gained a dedicated following throughout the years.

While many cultures made special note of the snowdrop in origin stories related to the creation of snow and in reference to the shift from winter to spring. In Victorian times people viewed the snowdrop flower as quite unlucky. In fact, the sight of a snowdrop was considered to be a sign of possible death and misfortune.

Snowdrop Bulb Information

While very similar to the untrained eye, there are actually many different species and varieties of snowdrop flowers. Generally, species differ in regard to the size of the flower and green marking patterns on the blooms.

While some gardeners may not notice these intricacies, true galanthophiles can appreciate these differences. Many may even go to great lengths (and costs) to procure these cultivars, ultimately increasing the diversity of the plants within their own personal snowdrop collections.

Luckily, for those of us without extensive experience growing snowdrops, many more common (and less expensive) varieties are available for the home gardener.

Wintry Delight

Cold tolerant and resistant to many pests like deer, snowdrops are an excellent choice for those in desperate need of early flowering plants. Snowdrop bulbs planted in the fall, when allowed to properly chill, will bloom in late winter to early spring. Bulbs should be planted immediately, and should not be allowed to dry out. Well-drained locations which receive shade throughout the summer are ideal. In order for the bulbs to reproduce and begin to naturalize, make certain that they are located in a place where they will not be disturbed.

With simple garden preparation, you will be rewarded with lovely white spring blooms for years to come.

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has transformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel