The different types of Snowdrop flowers may look exactly the same but on a closer look, you'll find that they vary in the size of their petals and the green markings in their inner petals.
Snowdrop flowers are quite true to their unique name, considering how they look like tiny drops of milk gently hanging from a stem. When these flowers fall on the ground and are scattered everywhere, they often resemble tiny snowflakes that appear to have blanketed the ground.
This is probably why the snowdrop flowers are an absolute favorite of most gardeners. They look breathtaking wherever they are planted and are extremely aesthetically pleasing.
These flowers are also one of the first few types of flowers to bloom in the early spring season, and they grow best in parklands, woodlands, hedgerows, and banks.
Table of Contents
- The Origin and History of Snowdrop Flowers
- Snowdrop Flowers – The Floral Superstars
- Different Varieties of Snowdrop Flowers
The Origin and History of Snowdrop Flowers
Snowdrop flowers have existed since ancient times, but they were known by different names back then. They were officially named Galanthus in 1753, and that name has been carried to the modern times as well.
The genus Galanthus of these flowers is native to the Middle East and Europe. It is particularly found in the west all the way to the Caucasus and Iran in the east, as well as south to Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Sicily.
The term Galanthus has been taken from two Greek words that mean ‘milk’ and ‘flower.’ It is basically a reference to the white petals of this species and also points to the Latin word for snow. Although snowdrop plants are originally native to mainland Europe, they were introduced to England sometime during the 16th century.
Snowdrop flowers have great historical significance and symbolism, primarily because they were considered to be symbols of hope, sympathy, and purity. The beautiful small and white flowers of these plants were considered to be very pristine and pure in ancient times.
These flowers gained massive popularity, particularly in the 19th century, when there was a surge of botany and floral symbolism. The fact that snowdrop plants are extremely hardy and their tiny white flowers really push through harsh weather conditions during the cold and dreary winter months is also one reason why they are so loved and valuable.
Snowdrop Flowers – The Floral Superstars
Snowdrop flowers are often referred to as ‘the flowering superstars,’ and one doesn’t really need to wonder long about this name, given their ethereal beauty and ornamental value.
What is really amazing about the snowdrop flowers is that once their flowering period is over, their stems flop down and their seed pods sort of begin to grow on the soil surface.
The leaves of these plants have quite hard edges that make them well-adapted to life in the cold. This is another reason why snowdrop flowers are floral superstars. The hard tips of the leaves enable them to break through the frozen soil during the cold winter season. They have a very fascinating internal mechanism in their leaf sap where there is a sort of antifreeze, which significantly prevents the formation of ice crystals.
Different Varieties of Snowdrop Flowers
At first glance, all snowdrop flowers may look exactly the same given their extremely similar appearance. Also, the flowers of all snowdrop plants are white in color, except a variety or two, which is why they appear almost the same to an untrained eye.
There are actually many different varieties and species of snowdrop flowers that differ in terms of the size of the petals and the green markings that are mostly present in their inner petals. While as a simple nature-lover, you might not be able to notice the intricacies, most gardeners and botanists are able to tell them apart.
Take a look at some of the prettiest and the most popular types of snowdrop flowers so that you can also differentiate them the next time you see them!
Galanthus nivalis ‘Walrus’
This is quite a rare but beautiful variety of snowdrop flowers. It has been described as “one of the greatest eccentrics of the snowdrop world,” which makes it quite a distinctive type of flower.
Walrus is one of the cultivars of the common snowdrop called Galanthus nivalis. It has a unique flower appearance in which the outer petals of the flower look like the tusks of a walrus, which is exactly how the flower got its name.
It has three stretched out tusk-like outer petals that are fairly long, and they grow in a linear manner. These green outer segments seem to surround a beautiful rosette that grows in the middle of the flowers. The flowery segments of this rosette curve outwards in a way that it often resembles a lovely green rose.
Walrus is quite a rare snowdrop bulb, but it has been around for more than forty years. Perhaps, the main reason why it is not as commonly grown as the other snowdrop varieties is that it grows very slowly and it is very slow to establish.
Galanthus ‘Primrose Warburg’
Best described as a vigorous, bulbous perennial, the Primrose Warburg is a gorgeous cultivar of the snowdrop flowers. It grows about 20cm tall and produces strap-like leaves that sport a gray-green color, and they often roll outwards once they are fully grown.
Primrose Warburg is most notable for its striking white flowers that have white, wing-like petals and a large, prominent yellow-colored ovary top that greatly stands out amid the white flowers. The foliage of these flowers produces pale blue-gray leaves that offer a spectacular contrast against the white and yellow flowers.
This snowdrop flower variety grows best in moist soils that are well-drained and contain enough nutrients to help the plant attain its maximum height. It also requires full sun to part shade in order to grow well.
This plant is considered to be one of the loveliest and the earliest flowering bulbs that bloom in early spring and adds an abundance of stunning colors and beauty to your garden. It is ideal to plant the Primrose Warburg in sweeping drift lawns, woodlands and even under deciduous trees. They also look wonderful when grown in clusters on garden border fronts and rock gardens.
When growing the Primrose Warburg, it is essential to remember that the foliage of this plant needs to die back naturally in order to restore the energy of the flowering bulbs to grow well in the next blooming period. It is also a fairly low maintenance type of plant, which means that it doesn’t need any deadheading or weeding.
Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’
This snowdrop variety is a favorite of many gardeners and garden enthusiasts mainly because of how tall and sturdy the plant becomes after fully growing and maturing. It grows to an average height of 20cm, and its flowers grow almost 2.5cm wide.
The flowering period for Galanthus S. Arnott begins in late winter and ends during the early spring season. During this period, the plant produces white nodding flowers that grow on an upright stem. The flowers often have green, V-shaped markings along the inner edges of the petals, and they also release a very subtle honey-scented fragrance. These flowers grow atop foliage of gray-green, narrow leaves that are often formed in clusters.
Many gardeners consider this snowdrop cultivar to be a herald of the winter season. This is one reason why they are so incredibly popular. S. Arnott is an extremely hardy type of plant whose blooms last particularly long during cold and gloomy weathers. The fact that these flowers are so hardy means that they can bloom very early, right at the start of the winter season.
Interestingly, these snowdrop flowers have been named after a man called Samuel Arnott. He was a snowdrop fanatic as well as a highly dedicated gardener. He basically once noticed these vigorous, large-sized bulbs growing in his garden, after which, he began cultivating them.
- Arnott flowers thrive best in heavy soils, and partly shaded conditions. Some of their most preferred soil types include chalky, sandy, well-drained, and moist soils.
Galanthus ‘Melanie Broughton’
This is quite a tall variety of snowdrop flower that was first noticed in the gardens at Anglesey Abbey in 1998 and has been named after Lord Fairhaven’s daughter.
Melanie Broughton snowdrop is a type of mid to late season bloomer and greatly stands out from the crowd. It is a large, rounded, and solid plant that produces equally large and chubby flowers. The inner segments of the flower petals display prominent green marks that provide contrast against the white color of the flowers on the outside. These white flowers are tall and sculptured. This makes them look stunning with their wide, blue-gray leaves. The outer segments of the flowers are also very lustrous and thick.
This plant grows to an average height of 29cm and its blooming period begins sometime during February. Although this snowdrop variety is quite low maintenance, it does have some basic growing requirements. The plant thrives best under partial shade and prefers growing in damp, normal or heavy clay types of soil.
Galanthus plicatus ‘Augustus’
With rich green leaves and large, bulbous flowers, the Augustus snowdrop is quite a vigorous and a robust selection of the Galanthus plicatus species. It is rounded, and a bulging perennial that was named and distributed by one of the most famous plantswomen, Amy Doncaster. She named this beautiful species in honor of a British horticulturist, garden writer, and plantsman named Edward Augustus Bowles.
The Augustus snowdrop produces large, chubby flowers that are textured and have prominent marks on the inside. The flowers of this plant are a lovely shade of white that looks great against the striking gray-green foliage. Its flowering period begins in the spring season, but the broad and rich green foliage appears sometime during the late winter season.
This plant goes as tall as 15cm and requires moist and well-drained soils to grow and mature fully. It also thrives best under partially shaded conditions.
Galanthus nivalis ‘Green Tear’
As the name suggests, the Green Tear snowdrop flowers have perfectly green outer petals that sport a light green shade while their inner segments are a stunning darker shade of green. This is considered to be an incredibly precious snowdrop variety, primarily because of its beautiful appearance.
What makes Green Tear flowers stand out from other snowdrop flowers are their broad and shapely outer petals along with the dark and characteristic lines that look super attractive. Although the inner petals are entirely green, the color fades into a subtle white towards the edges of the petals.
Green Tear snowdrop was originally discovered in the Netherlands in 2000 on a landscape area that was fully populated by the Galanthus nivalis variety of the snowdrop flowers.
Galanthus elwesii ‘Giant Snowdrop’
True to its name, the Giant Snowdrop is a fairly large and bulbous herbaceous perennial plant that is native to the Caucasus. It grows to an average height of 20-25 cm and has been named in honor of Henry John Elwes, who was a famous British botanist, among many other things.
This plant produces really large flowers and broad leaves that grow 4 inches tall and wide. The leaves sport a beautiful blue-green color, and they are linear and obtuse. The flowers, on the other hand, are white, pendulous and they grow about 2-3 cm long.
The white nodding blooms of the Giant Snowdrop are seen late in the winter season and its flowering period lasts almost till early spring. They grow best in moist and well-drained soils, and they also require full sun to partial shade in order to grow well.
A noticeable feature of this plant is that it creates a dramatic effect in gardens and other open spaces by growing in thick clusters. A few advantages of this plant are that it is deer and squirrel resistant, it is incredibly bee-friendly, it works amazingly well as a groundcover, and it also multiplies or naturalizes on its own.
Galanthus plicatus ‘Crimean snowdrop’
This is a bulbous, clump-forming type of perennial that produces 2.5cm long nodding white flowers. These flowers are quite fragrant, and they typically appear in the winter season. The inner petals of the flowers are very distinctive as they contain beautiful green markings.
The leaves of the Crimean snowdrop sport a dark, gray-green color which is similar to the leaves of various other snowdrop varieties, except that they are naturally folded in quite a unique manner. It is because of the slightly curved edges of the leaves that the botanical name of this plant is ‘plicatus,’ which actually means ‘pleated.’ The plant grows to an average height of 20cm tall, which is considered to be fairly large.
The stunning bulbs of this snowdrop variety exhibit exquisite beauty and most gardeners are absolutely crazy about these snowdrop flowers. They generally start blooming in late winter all the way till the early spring season.
As the name “Crimean snowdrop” suggests, this flowering plant originated from Crimea and a few other regions that are near or around the Black Sea. It is believed that British soldiers were quite fascinated with these blooms and took some with them back to England during the Crimean war that was fought in the 1850s.
The plant requires moist soils that can range from a variety of different types, including sandy, chalky, loamy and clayey, along with full sun to partial shade, in order to reach its maximum growth.
Galanthus nivalis ‘Common Snowdrop’
Also simply known as ‘the snowdrop,’ the Common Snowdrop is one of the most common and widespread varieties of snowdrop flowers. It is also one of the earliest and prettiest spring-flowering bulbs that bloom in abundance in the spring season. Its flowers typically appear during the months of February and March, and they often grow when the grounds are still covered with the white winter snow.
These are quite tiny plants that grow between 3-6 inches in height at maximum. Each common snowdrop plant produces a single flower that is just one inch in size or even smaller than that. These flowers are a beautiful white color, and they hang down from the plant stalk in a ‘drop’ fashion before they fully bloom.
Once the flower bulb opens, it produces three delicate petals that seem to arch over the three inner petals. The beauty of these flowers primarily lies in the fact that they can create a spectacular white carpet in all those areas where they are naturalized.
Common snowdrop is known to naturalize really well, and it has the ability to multiply fairly quickly, given that it is provided with the right and the favorable kind of growing conditions. The plant prefers growing in medium to average soils that are perfectly well-drained. They also need full sun to part shade in order to grow well.
These plants are ideally best-suited for growing in gardens, woodlands, and lawns. They look exceptionally gorgeous when planted in rock gardens or on border fronts.
Snowdrops are truly some of the most delicate and pristine flowers, and you must grow them in your garden if you are looking to add magical beauty to your garden!