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A picture of a Snowdrop


Galanthus nivalis

Also known as

Common Snowdrop, Candlemas Bells, Candlemas Lily, Common Bells, Fair Maids Of February, Little Sister Of The Snows, Purification Flower, Milky Snowdrop

Photo by Anne.reevessmyth. (All rights reserved)

Partial Shade
Easy care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








3 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Snowdrop

A photo of Snowdrop
A photo of Snowdrop
A photo of Snowdrop
A photo of Snowdrop

Snowdrop Overview

Galanthus nivalis is a perennial species that grows to around 15cm tall, producing narrowly strap-shaped grey-green leaves and solitary, white, nodding, scented white flowers which measure around 2.5cm long. These are attractively marked with green on the inner petals at the tips. This species will grow about 10cm tall, the leaves are blue-green and upright. The flowers are bell-shaped, scented and about 25mm wide. This plant is often found in the wild in Northern Europe. The common snowdrop is an attractive first spring flower, even flowering through the snow. It can form large carpets of pretty white and green flowers, spreading a lovely scent. These are often an initial food source for bees after the winter. This low maintenance perennial can be planted in beds and borders under deciduous trees or shrubs or in pots and containers for late winter displays. It can be naturalised through grass in wildflower areas. For the best results plant Snowdrops 'in the green' immediately after flowering - alternatively, bulbs can be planted in autumn between 7-10cm (3-4") deep. Bulbs should not dry out - plant as soon as you purchase them. The generic name 'Galanthus' comes from the Greek 'gála' meaning 'milk', and 'ánthos' meaning 'flower'. The name 'nivalis' means 'of the snow', referring to the early flowering time. This species has earned a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Garden Merit. It is also part of the RHS “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen. A great choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!

Common problems with Snowdrop

May be attacked by narcissus bulb fly and slugs. May be affected by grey mould.

Snowdrop Companion Plants

Plant with other spring bulbs and annuals.

How to harvest Snowdrop

Generally not harvested but can be taken for floral arrangements

How to propagate Snowdrop


Carefully divide the clumps of bulbs when in full growth (in the green), or when the plant is dormant - immediately after the foliage has withered. Plant where wanted 2-3cm deep immediately after.

Special features of Snowdrop

Winter colour

Lovely white flowers.

Attractive flowers

Flowers are white, with a green spot on inner tepal.

Other uses of Snowdrop


Grown in gardens and pots for their early flowers.

Plants for woods

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