February: Snowdrop

Few things bring a smile to my face in late winter like the sight of a clump of snowdrops popping out of the ground! They're a welcome reminder that warmer weather is just around the corner.

Image source: H. Zell (retrieved from Wikimedia Commons)

Image source: H. Zell (retrieved from Wikimedia Commons)

These harbingers of spring are excellent for naturalizing in flower beds and they naturally spread by bulbs underground. Since their leaves die back to the ground by mid spring, it's easy to plant over them with summer blooming plants to keep your flower beds exciting all year long. Snowdrops are originally from central Europe and Eastern Asia, but they spread throughout Europe and the British Isles and eventually crossed the ocean to North America because of their popularity as garden bulbs. They can now be found in the wild as well as in our gardens.

 

Image source: By Tomas Čekanavičius (retrieved from Wikimedia Commons)

Image source: By Tomas Čekanavičius (retrieved from Wikimedia Commons)

Common Names: Snowdrop

Scientific Name: Galanthus nivalis

Interesting Varieties: 'Flore Pleno' (doubled center petals), 'Atkinsii' (taller than straight species)

Light: full sun to part shade (under deciduous trees is fine)

Size: 6"-8" tall, 4"-6" wide, but spreads naturally by bulbs

Soil: medium moisture and drainage, tolerates clay and black walnut trees

Blooms: white, February-March

Other Notes: to keep your snowdrops (and any other spring bulbs) healthy, don't cut the leaves back until they yellow and wilt.

See other plants of the month.


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