Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
common snowdrop


The plant commonly known as snowdrop is recognized for its delicate and graceful appearance, featuring slender, upright stems. At the top of each stem, typically hangs a single, bell-shaped white flower. This flower is distinguished by its six petals, with the inner petals often showing a green marking near the tip. The outer petals are generally longer than the inner ones, forming an elegant drooping effect. Snowdrops boast a clump of narrow, linear leaves that are a rich, green color, providing a soft backdrop to the stark white flowers. The leaves are slightly fleshy, with a smooth texture, emerging from the base of the plant. The snowdrop blooms in late winter to early spring, presenting a striking contrast against the barren landscape, often pushing through the last vestiges of snow to signal the coming change of seasons.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Snowdrop, Common Snowdrop, Milk Flower

    • Common names

      Galanthus alexandri, Galanthus imperati, Galanthus nivalis var. scharlockii

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Snowdrop, commonly known as Galanthus nivalis, is considered mildly toxic if ingested. The plant contains alkaloids including galantamine, which can cause gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Ingesting large quantities of the plant could potentially lead to more severe symptoms including abdominal pain, and in very rare cases, it could affect the nervous system, leading to dizziness, confusion, or even tremors. However, poisoning from snowdrops is relatively rare, as severe toxicity would typically require ingesting large amounts of the plant.

    • To pets

      Snowdrop, which is recognized by its botanical name as Galanthus nivalis, possesses mild toxicity for pets, including cats and dogs. Like in humans, the toxic principle involves alkaloids such as galantamine. When ingested by pets, the plant can cause symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, which may include drooling, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. While snowdrop is not considered highly toxic to pets, consumption of sufficient quantities could lead to abdominal pain or more serious symptoms such as lethargy or changes in heart rate and respiratory rate. It is generally advisable to prevent pets from ingesting this plant to avoid any potential adverse effects.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6 inches (15 cm)

    • Spread

      4 inches (10 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Early blooming: Galanthus nivalis, commonly known as snowdrop, is one of the first plants to bloom in late winter or early spring, providing an early source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators emerging from hibernation.
    • Aesthetic appeal: Snowdrops are popular for their delicate, nodding white flowers, which can add beauty to gardens during a season when few other plants are in bloom.
    • Ease of care: Snowdrops are low-maintenance, requiring minimal care once established in suitable environments, making them a good choice for novice gardeners or those with limited time.
    • Naturalization: Snowdrops can spread over time to form natural-looking drifts, which are particularly effective in woodland settings or as ground cover under deciduous trees.
    • Winter interest: By blooming in winter, snowdrops can provide interest in a garden landscape when most other plants are dormant.
    • Symbolism and folklore: Snowdrops carry symbolic meanings of hope and purity and are often associated with various legends and poems, enhancing their appeal for cultural and historical reasons.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Galanthus nivalis, commonly known as snowdrop, contains the alkaloid galantamine, which is used in the management of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease due to its acetylcholinesterase inhibiting properties.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Galanthus nivalis, commonly known as snowdrop, is often used as a natural pest repellent in gardens due to its toxic properties that can deter pests such as mice and voles.
    • The aesthetic appeal of snowdrops makes them suitable for photographic subjects, especially for macro and nature photography.
    • The sap of snowdrops can be used as an environmentally friendly adhesive for small-scale domestic purposes, like sealing envelopes.
    • In some cultures, snowdrops are seen as symbols of purity and are used in poetry and art to signify innocence and rebirth.
    • With its early flowering, snowdrop is used as an indicator of climate change and seasonal shifts by scientists and nature observers.
    • In the Victorian language of flowers, giving someone a snowdrop is meant to convey hope and consolation.
    • Children are sometimes taught to plant snowdrops as an educational tool to learn about plant life cycles and gardening basics.
    • Snowdrops play a role in horticultural therapy, where their cultivation is used to improve mental and emotional well-being.
    • They are often integrated into winter garden designs to provide a contrast against the barren landscape, symbolizing resilience and the promise of spring.
    • The dried and pressed flowers of snowdrops can be used in crafting and scrapbooking to add a natural element to projects.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Snowdrop is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Snowdrop is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Hope: Galanthus nivalis, commonly known as Snowdrop, is one of the earliest flowers to bloom at the end of winter and the beginning of spring, symbolizing the hope of new life and the coming of spring after the dark, cold winter months.
    • Purity: The snowdrop's white petals are often associated with purity and innocence.
    • Consolation: The snowdrop can also symbolize consolation or comfort, perhaps due to its emergence when the weather is still cold, bringing the promise of warmer days to come.
    • New beginnings: As they are often the first flowers to poke through the snow, snowdrops are associated with fresh starts and rebirth.

When soil dries out
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Late spring
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) prefer soil that is moist but well-drained, especially during their growing season in late winter and early spring. Water them once a week with about one inch of water, adjusting for rainfall, to ensure a consistent moisture level. Once established, snowdrops can tolerate short periods of dry soil, but they should not be left to fully dry out. During their dormant period in summer, reduce watering significantly, only providing water if there is an extended period of drought.

  • sunLight

    Snowdrops thrive in partial to full shade, making them ideal for planting under deciduous trees where they can enjoy dappled sunlight. The best spot for snowdrops is one where they are protected from the harsh afternoon sun, yet can still receive the morning light or filtered sunlight throughout the day. They can tolerate a few hours of direct sunlight, especially in colder climates, but prefer cooler conditions with ample shade.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Snowdrops are cold-hardy plants and can survive in a temperature range from just above 0°F to around 65°F. They perform best in cool to moderate climates and can emerge through snow, typically indicating that they tolerate low temperature extremes. The ideal conditions for snowdrops are when overnight temperatures are cool and daytime temperatures do not exceed the mid-50s to low 60s in Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning snowdrops is not generally necessary since they are small and have a natural, tidy habit. However, after flowering, remove any spent blooms if desired to maintain visual appeal. Allow the foliage to die back naturally as it feeds the bulb for the next year's growth. The best time to clean up any withered leaves is once they have yellowed later in the season, usually by late spring or early summer.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) thrive in a rich, moist, well-drained soil mix with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Incorporate organic matter like compost or well-rotted leaf mold to create the ideal growing conditions for this plant.

  • plantRepotting

    Snowdrops rarely need repotting and prefer to be left undisturbed. They can be divided and transplanted after flowering if clumps become too dense, roughly every 3 to 5 years.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Snowdrops require outdoor humidity conditions and are not particular about humidity levels, making them adaptable to various outdoor climates without specific humidity requirements.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in cool room with indirect light.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partially shaded spot with well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Galanthus nivalis, commonly known as the common snowdrop, starts its life as a seed, which germinates in spring, developing into a small bulb. The bulb grows and stores energy during the spring and early summer, before going dormant during the hotter months. In the fall, with the cooling temperatures and increased moisture, the bulb awakens and develops roots in preparation for winter. Throughout winter, the leaves begin to emerge, often piercing through snow, hence the name "snowdrop." Flowering occurs in late winter to early spring, displaying the plant's iconic white, bell-shaped flowers, which are pollinated by early-season insects. After pollination and seed dispersal, the foliage dies back and the plant re-enters dormancy until the next cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late spring

    • Galanthus nivalis, commonly known as the snowdrop, is often propagated by dividing its bulb clumps. The best time to propagate snowdrops is when their foliage has died down after flowering, typically in late spring or early summer. To propagate by division, carefully lift the clump of bulbs from the soil using a spade, ensuring minimal disturbance to the roots. Gently separate the bulbs by hand, each with a portion of the basal plate and roots intact. Replant the bulbs individually at a depth of about 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters) and spaced approximately 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) apart to allow room for growth. Water the new plantings well to settle the soil around the bulbs and encourage establishment.