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Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum

Leucojum vernum

Spring is always a season to behold as so many plants suddenly burst into life. It is a delight to see the fresh new foliage emerge and a great example is the spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum. At RHS Garden Hyde Hall we particularly enjoy Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum which you can find growing in our Woodland Garden. Here, among many other spring flowers, shrubs and delicate perennials such as hellebores and epimediums, they emerge to form a dazzling display.

Vital statistics

Common name
Spring snowflake
Height & spread
20-30cm (8-12in) x 8cm (3in)
Bulbous perennial
Sharply drained, moist, moderately fertile
Full sun
Fully hardy


This is a genus of about 10 species of bulbs, grown for their pendant, bell-shaped, white or pink flowers, in autumn or spring. The name comes from the Greek leukos meaning white and ion meaning violet, which refers to the slight fragrance. They are native to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

They look similar to and are related to snowdrops, but are better suited than snowdrops to mild and warm climates. They have six tepals (a word used for sepals or petals when they are not easily distinguished) of equal length, often with green tips to the petals, whereas snowdrops have three long and three short tepals.

Leaves are narrow, strap-shaped and come from the base of the plant.

Leucojum aestivum and L. vernum, the larger species, are an attractive addition to a moist border or they can be naturalised in grass. The smaller species are suitable for a rock garden.

Some species prefer a moist, partially shaded site while others like well-drained soil in full sun.

Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum

This species is found on shady hillsides and woodlands of the higher parts of central Europe.

They are excellent plants in a border, near water or naturalised in grass.

The leaves are narrow, erect, strap-shaped, glossy, dark-green and up to 25cm (10in) long.

Vernum means of the spring, and it is in early spring that one, or sometimes two, flared, bell-shaped flowers, which are white with green tips and 3cm (1.25in) across, are produced on leafless stems.

L. vernum var. carpathicum has yellow tipped tepals. L. vernum var. vagneri flowers in late winter and early spring, has two flowers per stem and is 20cm (8in) tall. 


  • Plant dry bulbs 8-10cm (3-4in) deep in autumn in reliably moist, humus-rich soil.
  • In an alpine house, grow in equal parts loam, leaf mould and sharp sand.
  • Leucojum vernum is prone to slugs and narcissus bulb fly.


  • Sow seed in containers in a cold frame in autumn, or remove offsets once the leaves have died down.


The RHS Rock Garden Plant Trials Subcommittee awarded Leucojum vernum an Award of Garden Merit and described it as:

"Compact bulbous perennial to 30cm tall, with strap-shaped, glossy, dark green leaves and erect stems with 1 or 2 broadly bell-shaped, green-tipped white flowers 2.5cm wide."

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