Native to Western Turkey, these cheery little spring-blooming bulbs are one of the earliest to bloom. In fact, glory-of-the-snow are often so early there is still snow on the ground and the small flowers still manage to bloom—hence their common name. These little bulbs are a great option if you are looking for early color and a bulb that will naturalize easily and quickly.
Glory-of-the-snow, with their starry little blossoms, are sure to chase away the last of the winter blues. The small, six-petal flowers in shades of blue, white, and pink are held in small clusters. The blue varieties are most common and feature a striking white center with blue-tipped petals. No matter what color you grow, all glory-of-the-snow make great cut flowers and are the perfect size for a bud vase. The foliage of glory-of-the-snow is long, narrow, and grasslike.
Chionodoxa or Scilla?
Over the years, there has been much confusion on the proper nomenclature for glory-of-the-snow. At first glance, these plants resemble Scilla, another bulb and close relative of Chionodoxa. So close, in fact, that many consider glory-of-the-snow to technically be a Scilla. On top of that, even within the genus of glory-of-the-snow, there is confusion about whether or not the species are the same or different.
Glory-of-the-Snow Care Must-Knows
Growing glory-of-the-snow is as simple as planting a little bulb, dusting off your hands, and walking away. Native to rocky mountainsides, these bulbs aren't too picky. Like most bulbs, they require well-drained soil. Bulbs in general are at a higher risk of rotting if grown in overly moist soil. Glory-of-the-snow can tolerate drought. When planting, make sure to set the bulb about two to three times as deep as the bulb is wide, so if you have a 1-inch-wide bulb, plant it 2 to 3 inches deep.
As quick as glory-of-the-snow is to rise in early spring, their foliage is almost just as quick to fade. The foliage begins to quickly decline and goes dormant just after they finish flowering. This makes them great for naturalizing in lawns as long as you can give them several weeks before mowing them down. It also means you can plant these bulbs just about anywhere in the garden. Sun or shade, they are typically on their way out by the time foliage is beginning to emerge on trees and perennials, so there is no need to worry about them being shaded out.
More Varieties of Glory-of-the-Snow
This variety of Chionodoxa luciliae is a white flowering form of the traditional species. Zones 3-8.
Chionodoxa lucilae offers starry blue flowers that open early in the spring, even blooming through snow. The petals reflex, revealing white centers that add a touch of the clouds to the sky blue petals. It grows 5 inches tall. Zones 3-9.
'Pink Giant' Glory-of-the-Snow
Lilac-rose flowers that unfurl in a tall column make this variety of Chionodoxa lucilae unique. It grows 6 inches tall. Zones 3-9.
'Violet Beauty' Glory-of-the-Snow
This Chionodoxa luciliae selection is a beautiful bright pink form of the standby. Zones 3-8.
Chionodoxa sardensis is another great species with bright blue flowers with no white on the petals. Zones 3-8.