© RHS / Lee Beel



Botanical name: Galanthus

Heralds of spring, these little bulbs are among the first plants to flower in the new year. Planted in generous drifts, they are sturdier than they look, even pushing up their heads above a carpet of snow.


Sheathed in strappy, often arching, bright green or greyish leaves, thin stems dangle bell-like white flowers, outer petals flaring to reveal shorter inner ones touched with green. Some have double flowers.


Snowdrops will grow in most soil types, apart from permanently wet soil, preferably in partial shade – around deciduous trees and shrubs is ideal.


These plants dislike very dry, sandy soils, especially in full sun that dries out around the bulbs out in summer.

Did you know?

Besides the familiar early snowdrops, look out for Galanthus reginae-olgae, which flowers in autumn. It prefers a sunny position.

Growing guide

Snowdrops we recommend

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Useful advice

Bulbs: naturalising

Bulbs: naturalising

Bulbs: planting

Bulbs: planting

Bulbs: propagation

Bulbs: propagation

Shade planting: annuals, bulbs and perennials

Shade planting: annuals, bulbs and perennials

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