Flower colour: light dark blue with dark centres
Flowering period: February-March
Average plant height: 15 cm
Planting depth to base of bulb:10 cm
Spacing between bulbs: 8 cm
Type of bulb: bulb
Light requirements: full sun to partial shade
Landscape uses: borders, rock gardens and under trees and shrubs
Chionodoxa comes from the Greek words chion meaning ‘snow’ and doxa meaning ‘glory’. The English common name for the plant, Glory-of-the-snow, is thus a literal translation of the scientific one. The same is true for the Dutch name (sneeuwroem) and the German name (Schneeruhm or Schneeglanz). The French refer to this plant as Chionodoxa hyacintedes neiges.
More planting tips
Chionodoxa species provide a pretty display when planted among many kinds of perennial plants in the border. Here, they bloom earlier than most species of perennial plants emerge, and thus provide the garden with colour early in the season. They can also be planted near very early-flowering perennial plants for creating lovely colour combinations. Various species of Primula (Primrose), Pulmonaria (Lungwort), Pulsatilla (Pasque flowers), Hepatica, Arabis (Wall rock-cress), Aubrieta and Helleborus (Christmas or Lenten rose) make good planting companions. The bulbs are equally useful for planting among deciduous shrubs. They can even be used quite well in lawns together with snowdrops and crocuses. Always plant at least 15 bulbs.
Just as with many other kinds of bulbous plants, it is also possible to plant Chionodoxa in layers. An example would be to plant narcissi bulbs at their normal planting depth, add soil to the planting holes up to the level of the bulbs’ noses, and then plant the Chionodoxa bulbs on top. The blue provided by the Chionodoxa flowers is a lovely accent for plants such as yellow and white narcissi or the small early-flowering red tulips.
The bulbs of Chionodoxa naturalise very easily. They not only form bulblets but, under favourable conditions, they also produce seed which will germinate. Curiously, young plants sometimes suddenly turn up in an entirely different part of the garden. This is often the work of ants that carry seeds to a different place. If an increase in the number of bulbs is desired, the planting location should be left entirely undisturbed: using rakes should be avoided, and weeding should definitely not be done. Also leave the foliage undisturbed in the autumn so that it can decay and enrich the soil at that location. Doing so encourages new growth.
Most significant species:
Usually, the number of species is listed as eight. The right number, however, is difficult to establish since there is a fair amount of confusion surrounding the nomenclature. One example of a name mentioned in books and catalogues is C. gigantea, but experts agree that this is not actually a species at all but a somewhat larger variety of C. luciliae.