There are 75 different species and varieties of Snowdrops. They are all white. This is probably why only two species are commonly cultivated. The first is Galanthus nivalis, usually known as the Garden Snowdrop.
A Snowdrop plant looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem. This accounts for the Latin name Galanthus which means milk-white flowers. These Snowdrop bulbs, are originally from Europe and Asia Minor.
Snowdrops are the early spring flowering bulbs. Two or three straplike leaves, dark green in color, grow from each bulb. The white flowers are usually borne singly, mostly in early spring but sometimes in mid to late winter, which makes them the earliest flowering bulb. The three inner petals have green tips and overlap the outer petals to form a tube.
Facts About Snowdrops
- Three thousand years ago, in Homer's epic poem Odyssey, the god Mercury (Hermes) gave Ulysses an herb called Moly. Moly herb (Galanthus nivalis) made Ulysses immune to the forgetfulness poisons of the witch Circe and counteracted the amnesia that Circe had inflicted on his crew.
- In Greek and Roman mythology, Mercury is known as the Messenger for the Gods and the BRINGER OF DREAMS. By having the Bringer of Dreams give Ulysses this herb, perhaps Homer was also conveying the historically known dream enhancing benefits of this extract.
- Crimean snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, Giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, are the notable species.
- There are numerous cultivars (cultivated varieties), single and double, differing particularly in the size and markings of the flower, the period of flowering, and other characteristics of interest to keen (even fanatical) collectors known as galanthophiles.
- As the snow in their name suggests, Snowdrops may not even wait for the snow to melt before emerging from their winter sleep, instead pushing right up through the snow a delightful sight for the winter-weary.
- Bulbs prefer full sun, a rich, well-draining soil.
- Compost or other organic matter should be added.
- The soil should be cultivated and loosened to a depth of at least 6 to 8 inches.
- Either dig a trench for a bed planting or individual holes for individual bulbs or small clusters.
- Plant the bulbs by placing them into position. (Never push or force the bulb into the soil).
Snowdrop Plant Care
- Avoid planting single bulbs, Small groups are best.
- Congested clumps will eventually fail to flower.
- Make sure that neighbouring plants are not smothering the snowdrops, either with their roots are their leaves.
- Move the snowdrops to a new location if necessary.
- Snowdrops can be planted either in the autumn as dormant bulbs.