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How to Grow Leucojum–Snowflakes

Leucojum snowflakes
Snowflake flowers, Leucojum aestivum, with green spots on the petals

Leucojum, commonly known as snowflakes, are spring, summer, or fall-blooming bulbs grown for their dainty, nodding, bell-shaped flowers. There are about 10 species in the genus. There is one species each for spring (Leucojum vernum) , summer (L. aestivum) , and fall (L. autumnale).

Leucojum bear basal, strap-shaped to linear leaves. The flowers are borne atop erect, leafless stalks with one to as many as eight flowers on each stalk. The pendent or nodding flowers are white and have six petal-like tepals.

Leucojum species are closely related to Galanthus species, commonly known as snowdrops. Galanthus bears its flowers singly or sometimes in pairs.

In some regions, Leucojum species are commonly called snowdrops. In Galanthus, the three outer tepals are markedly larger than the inner three. Leucojum tepals are of equal size.

 Spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum
Spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum

Get to Know Leucojum–Snowflakes

  • Plant type: Perennial bulb
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 4 to 9
  • Hardiness:
  • Height and width: Flower spikes grow to 16 inches (40cm) tall; slim, strap- or threadlike basal leaves 9 to 18 inches (22-45cm) long.
  • Flowers: Loose clusters of nodding, bell-shaped flowers ½ to 1 inch (12-25mm) long; flowers are white with green, red, and yellow tints and spring green tints
  • Bloom time: Spring to autumn
  • Uses: Naturalize in dappled shape or along shrub borders; naturalizes easily.
  • Common name: Snowflakes
  • Botanical name: Leucojum
  • Family name: Amaryllidaceae

Where to Plant Leucojum–Snowflakes

  • Plant Leucojum in full sun or partial shade. In hot regions, plants should be protected from the hot afternoon sun.
  • Plant Leucojum in humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil.
  • Leucojum prefers a soil pH of 4 to 9.

When to Plant Leucojum–Snowflakes

  • Plant bulbs in late summer or early fall.

Planting and Spacing Leucojum–Snowflakes

  • Set bulbs with the tops 2 to 4 inches (5-10cm) below the soil surface.
  • Snowflakes may take a year or two to become established and begin to bloom.
  • One planted Leucojum where it can remain undisturbed.
Flower of autumn snowflake, Leucojum autumnale
Flower of autumn snowflake, Leucojum autumnale

How to Water and Feed Leucojum–Snowflakes

  • Keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet.
  • Fertilize Leucojum with an all-purpose fertilizer during the growing season

Leucojum–Snowflakes Care

  • Mulch Leucojum with compost or chopped leaves in summer to keep the soil moist and cool.
  • Bulbs that are lifted at the end of bloom time should be stored in sawdust at 40° to 60°F (4°-16C).

Leucojum–Snowflakes Pests and Diseases

  • Leucojum resists deer, rodents, insect pests and diseases.

Leucojum–Snowflakes Propagation

  • Propagate by seed or division.
  • Propagate by digging clumps and separating the offsets in late spring or early summer just as the foliage dies back.
Spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum
Spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum, flowering in the snow.

Leucojum–Snowflakes Varieties to Grow

  • Leucojum aestivum, summer snowflake. Grows 18 to 24 inches (45-61cm) tall; bears dainty stems of 3 to 8 bell-shaped 1-inch wide white flowers with a green spot on each tepal; blooms in spring despite common name summer snowflake.
  • L. autumnale, autumn snowflake. Grows 4 to 6 inches (10-15cm) tall with thread-like grassy leaves; spray of 2 to 4 bell-shaped flowers to ¾ inch long; white flowers tinged with pink in late summer. This species can be tricky to establish; plant with plenty of coarse and or grit to ensure soil is well-drained.
  • L. vernum, spring snowflake. Grow 8 to 12 inches (20-30cm) tall; strap-shaped leaves; bell-shaped white flowers to 1-inch long; green spots at tips of each white petal.

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