Spring Snowflake, Leucojum vernum

– Posted in: Acquisitions, Mud Season, Plant info
9 comments

This is my first year growing the elusive but hardy spring snowflake.

I have taken contributor Brian Bixley’s admonishment to heart and I’m trying to get more early blooming plants in my garden. The gardening season is typically considered the time from the last spring frost to the first autumn frost. By that measurement, I have a short season garden. The only way to get a longer season of bloom is to focus on those plants that want to bloom when most of the world still considers the weather rather unpleasant.

Spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum) definitely extends the season. I planted it on the north side of the house, and here it is blooming after the snowdrops but before the Dutch crocus and Siberian squills, which are in warmer locations. It has grown taller since I took this picture, standing about eight inches tall. Each flower is about an inch across. It is reputed to self-sow, and I am looking forward to having a patch of this early darling and eventually spread it in more locations.

Why Don’t More People Grow Spring Snowflake?

You would think with all this going for it, it would be a must-have plant for spring. According to Daffodils and More (where I got my spring snowflake), this hardy bulb is difficult to ship. When dug and cured like most other fall-planted bulbs, it tends to rot. I paid a premium price for this bulb’s special treatment, expecting that it won’t need special treatment in my garden and will be worth the investment. It sounds like it is a true passalong plant, thriving when it can be handed over the garden fence and replanted quickly.

It’s Not Summer Snowflake

Pay attention when you are ordering, and don’t get Leucojum aestivum, the summer snowflake, by mistake. It is an equally garden-worthy plant, with more numerous flowers on each stem, but it blooms later in spring, perhaps early summer. I have it in my garden as well, and I’m not saying don’t plant it, just don’t confuse it with the spring snowflake.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

When dealing with frost it is always best to be paranoid. In the spring never think it is too late for one more frost to come. And in the fall never think it too early.

~Rundy in Frost

9 Comments… add one

commonweeder May 13, 2014, 11:27 am

Thanks for explaining the difference between the spring and summer snowflakes. I never paid attention to the two names – and now I want both!

Rotary Tillers July 30, 2013, 5:49 am

This is sweet. And i never knew about spring snowflake being shipped.

Deborah B April 15, 2013, 9:49 am

I have grown Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ for several years, but had no idea I was missing out on its spring cousin. I love that leucojum are happy enough in wet soil. The ones I have are thriving in the wet part of my front yard, where I have them planted with aruncus, astilbes, willows and aronia (chokeberry).

Jason April 13, 2013, 12:34 pm

Looks like a great bulb, kind of like an extra showy snowdrop.

Donna@Gardens Eye View April 13, 2013, 9:24 am

I had no idea there was an earlier one…will add it to the fall bulb order that is getting quite extensive…thx Kathy!! My snowdrops are still going strong due to the cold weather….I don’t mind it being so cold and damp as long as it is not freezing. My early bulbs will last longer in this weather. Easier to clean up the garden when it is cooler.

Layanee April 13, 2013, 6:49 am

I am so enjoying the spring bulbs. More! and more fall flowering bulbs as well.

Bill Williams April 12, 2013, 5:08 pm

They are very beautiful. Those little greens spots on the edges of the petals really adds something special.

Interesting that they are difficult to ship. Can’t say I have ever grown them, but if I do try I will have to hunt them down in the local garden center!

Robin Ripley April 12, 2013, 4:18 pm

Pretty! And huh. I definitely learned something here. I didn’t know they were difficult to ship.

Leslie April 12, 2013, 3:18 pm

Very cute! I had somewhere heard, apparently mistakenly, that the summer snowflakes weirdly bloomed before the spring. Sounds like that was wrong!

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