When Do Snowdrops (Galanthus) Flower?

Plant Combinations, Flowerbeds Ideas, Winter borders, Spring Borders

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Prized for their abundant blooms, Snowdrops (Galanthus) are invaluable additions to the garden and provide gardeners with some of the greatest pleasures. Nothing is more uplifting than a carpet of white flowers under bare winter trees. Appealing and highly versatile, these harbingers of spring are tough, cold-hardy, deer or rabbit resistant and easy to grow bulbous perennials. Remarkably resilient, they even bloom beneath a blanket of snow if they have to. They are fabulous at bringing sparkles to the winter garden when most plants are still dormant and bring huge amounts of optimism and great joy.

  • There are 20 different Snowdrop species and several hundreds of hybrids. Yes, several hundreds (!). The craze known as Galanthophilia has swept through the ranks of gardening enthusiasts in the past few years. While all snowdrops look the same to the uninitiated - dainty, nodding white flowers, with a dab of green, held on a thin arching stalk at the end of a thicker stem - they reveal their differences when you take a closer look. Some bear single flowers with 3 large outer petals enclosed 3 smaller inner ones. Others enjoy double flowers with many inner petals resembling petticoats. The foliage of 2-3 strap-like leaves varies considerably across species and cultivars (wide, narrow, twisted, etc).
  • Some Snowdrops bloom extremely early and can show up weeks before crocuses do. Others can be found in flower in late May.
  • It should be noted that weather conditions have a huge influence on the flowering season of Snowdrops.  The same Galanthus species can bloom considerably earlier or later from one year to the next, depending on how cold or warm the weather is.
  • In the United Kingdom, the earliest snowdrop varieties bloom in October before they are joined by most in February, when the winter is slowly receding. In milder areas, these Snowdrops will bloom earlier, while they will raise their milky-white heads from the sleeping earth much later in warmer areas. Once in bloom, they will last longer if the weather remains cool.
  • In the United States, where a wider range of weather conditions exists, the Snowdrop season generally starts in October and ends in April, with the peak season being in February and March. In warmer areas, the blooms will start 2-3 weeks earlier, while they will occur 2-3 weeks later in cooler areas. In the South, snowdrops may even bloom all winter long.
  • Wherever Snowdrops grow, they generally follow a sequence wherein the ones starting the season typically end it as well. 

Galanthus Flowering Season

Season Northern Hemisphere Southern Hemisphere
Fall October - November April-May
Very Early November- December May - June
Early December - January June - July
Peak Season January end - February July end - August
Late February end - March August end - September
Very Late March - April September - October

eltoro69 / 123RF Stock Photo

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 – 8  
Heat Zones 1 – 8
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, A1, A2
Plant TypeBulbs, Perennials
Plant FamilyGalanthus - Snowdrops
ExposurePartial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early)
Winter
Water NeedsAverage
MaintenanceLow
Soil TypeChalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PhAcid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil DrainageMoist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
CharacteristicsCut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
ToleranceClay Soil, Deer, Rabbit
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Ground Covers, Patio and Containers, Underplanting Roses and Shrubs
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow, Traditional Garden

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