By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Glory of the snow bulbs are one of the first blooming plants to appear in spring. This article provides tips about growing these bulbs and caring for them in the landscape. So click here to get more information.
by George Papadelis
Chionodoxa luciliae As spring approaches, gardeners seek the familiar signs of yet another growing season. Even before trees produce their leaves and the spring equinox arrives, the garden can be alive with color from early blooming bulbs. In February, some warming can bring up an occasional flower or two, but by March, color is almost guaranteed through the planting of crocus, snowdrops ( Galanthus ), or glory-of-the-show (Chionodoxa).
By late March (sometimes early April), glory-of-the-snow produces 6 to 10 one-inch wide, single flowers that last 3 to 4 weeks. Besides their vibrant color, these starry flowers are unique in that each blossom has a distinct white center. The species Chionodoxa forbesii (formerly C. luciliae) has glowing blue flowers, while the variety ‘Pink Giant’ has rosy-pink blooms. Both grow 6 to 10 inches tall. Since the flowers are small, a planting of 20 to 50 bulbs would provide the best show. This is also economically practical since the bulbs are usually inexpensive.
Chionodoxa gigantea Glory-of-the-snow is very easy to grow and amongst the hardiest of all bulbs. Only well-drained soil and some sun are required for good performance. Bulbs should be planted with bulb fertilizer in the fall about 3 inches deep and 3 to 4 inches apart. Glory-of-the-snow self-sows and divides itself very freely to form self-sustaining clumps that may last effortlessly for years. However, best results occur if the younger bulbs or “offsets” are dug up in May and replanted with fresh soil, fertilizer, and adequate space.
The only pest problem may be a hungry squirrel looking for a freshly planted snack. If this is a threat in your garden, some chicken wire buried above the bulbs usually does the trick.
Plant glory-of-the-snow in clumps around trees, in the rock garden, or even in your lawn. It works wonderfully alone or in combination with other spring-blooming bulbs. Later-blooming bulbs such as tulips can also be placed in the same planting hole since they require deeper planting depths of 6 to 10 inches. Glory-of-the-snow thrives in woodland situations if tree leaves are shredded, mulched, or raked off to assist them in spring emergence.
Chionodoxa ‘Pink Giant’ This tiny spring treasure is a must for any garden because of its versatility, performance, and durability. Try it almost anywhere! Just a few minutes of digging in the fall will allow glory-of-the-snow to grace you with its presence for many years to come.
George Papadelis is the owner of Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy, MI.
Botanical Name: Chionodoxa (ky-on-oh-DOK-suh)
Plant Type: Bulb
Plant Size: 5-10 inches tall
Flower Color: Rich blue with white centers (most common) also pink, white
Flower Size: 1 inch wide
Bloom Period: Late March – Early April
Leaves: Narrow, upright sprays
Light: Sun-light shade
Hardiness: Zone 3
Uses: Border, woodland areas, rock garden, nauralizer, lawn
Remarks: Plant in the fall, 3-4 inches deep
The bulbs should be planted not less than 3 inches deep. These low growing plants can grow in most soil types, in groups as close as one inch apart. While they thrive on cold weather, they also can handle very sunny conditions.
Iridescent Snow Glory (Chionodoxa Gigantea) - A very handsome plant of robust habit, with broader leaves and taller spikes than in any other kind. The color of the flowers is soft violet or porcelain blue with a small white centre, coming some weeks later than the early kinds. A white form of this plant is now to be had, and a variety albo-rosea, with flowers delicately tinged with rose, but nothing can surpass in lovely and changing color the wild form.
Chionodoxa Lucillae - Opening from early in February, with starry flowers an inch or more across and in many shades, from pale to deep blue, shading to a white centre. It is found in three or four well-marked forms: alba, a white kind with large flowers, found wild with the blue form, but scarce in gardens. Rosea is a scarce variety bearing pink flowers pallida has flowers of a very light blue and Boissieri, the best of the late flowering sorts, shows bright, deep color.
Dwarf Snow Glory (Chionodoxa Nana) - A dwarf kind from Crete rarely more than 4 inches high. Its flowers are small but attractive, and carried in dense spikes of white or pale bluish lilac.
Sardis Snow Glory (Chionodoxa Sardensis) - A beautiful plant with flowers of rich deep blue, free from the pale shading of other kinds, the white eye being sharply defined. It flowers during February and March according to aspect, the effect of its flowers being very good. Several varieties are grown, but the typical kind surpasses them all in beauty. Mountains of Asia Minor.
late Snow Glory (Chionodoxa Tmolusi) - A dwarf variety of strong growth and latest of any in bloom. Its large flowers are of rich blue, with a large white eye faintly outlined in purplish-blue, and with a touch of deeper color on the tips of the petals.
Chionodoxa are beautiful, hardy spring flowering bulbs that are easy to grow. They grow 6inches tall from small bulbs and have pretty star-shaped flowers with long narrow leaves. (Also spelled Chinodoxa and common name Glory of the Snow). The blossom has a central line on each of 6 petals.
They do well in most garden soil. Plant 2-3″ deep.
Chinodoxa are most effective when planted in clumps and allowed to naturalise.
Suitable for rockeries and growing in pots.
Flowers lasts for 3-4 weeks, after which both the flowers and the foliage die back.
Chinodoxa Lucilliae is widely available and flowers bright blue
Chinodoxa Luciliae Alba is a clear white with star shaped flowers in March.
Chinodoxa Forbesii Pink Giant produces a wealth of pink flowers.
Chinodoxa Forbesii is bright blue with a white centre.
Glory of the Snow
‘Transforming the landscape from white to blue, the delicate alpine Chionodoxa comes into flower as the snows melt in the mountains of Turkey, Crete and Cyprus, earning it the name Glory of the Snow.
Thousands of deep blue, starry-flowered Chionodoxa siehei from western Turkey have been naturalised in the lawn close to White Peaks creating a blanket of spring colour. They emerge in the early months of the year, flower and then die back to survive the summer underground as dormant bulbs.’ Well worth hunting out if you visit Kew in early spring.
Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Flowers are good for cutting
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed stratify if sowing indoors
Self-sows freely deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions: