Snowdrop Galanthus elwesii

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


Galanthus elwesii, commonly known as the giant snowdrop, displays a charming, modest appearance with distinct floral features that are usually observed during late winter to early spring. The plant bears slender, glaucous green leaves that elegantly arch outwards. These foliage leaves are often described as linear, providing a delicate backdrop for the standout feature of the giant snowdrop – its flowers. The flowers of the giant snowdrop are white and pendulous, hanging from the plant like dainty, droplet-shaped lanterns. Each flower is composed of three outer petals that are clear white and somewhat longer, shielding inner petals that are smaller and often bear a greenish mark near the tip. The contrast of the white petals with the green markings is quite striking and serves as an identifier for the species. The overall aspect of the giant snowdrop, with its nodding flowers and linear leaves, presents a graceful and simplistic aesthetic that is often cherished in gardens and natural settings for its early burst of life in the chill of late winter. Its blooms are a herald of the coming spring, symbolizing purity and the awakening of nature after the cold dormancy. The plant's ability to thrive in cooler temperatures and its preference for well-drained soils make it a resilient beauty, able to push through snow if needed to display its blooms. As a bulbous perennial, it comes back year after year, much to the delight of gardeners and plant enthusiasts who revere the giant snowdrop for its simple elegance and the hopefulness it embodies at the tail end of winter.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Giant Snowdrop, Elwes's Snowdrop, Greater Snowdrop, Turkish Snowdrop

    • Common names

      Galanthus elwesii.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as the Giant Snowdrop is considered to have low toxicity to humans. However, if any part of the plant is ingested, it contains compounds called alkaloids, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Ingesting large quantities could potentially lead to more severe symptoms, but such cases are rare due to the plant's low palatability and the small size of the bulbs and flowers, which tends to limit the amount one might consume accidentally.

    • To pets

      Giant Snowdrop is also toxic to pets, including cats and dogs. Similar to humans, if a pet ingests part of the plant, it can experience gastrointestinal upset with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. It is important to prevent pets from nibbling on the plant to avoid these adverse effects. While generally not life-threatening, larger amounts consumed could lead to more severe symptoms, and a veterinarian should be consulted if you suspect your pet has ingested this plant.

  • 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

    • Ornamental value: Snowdrop's (Galanthus elwesii) delicate white flowers add aesthetic beauty to gardens and landscapes in late winter to early spring.
    • Pollinator attractant: The flowers provide an early source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators when few other plants are in bloom.
    • Low maintenance: Snowdrops are easy to grow, requiring minimal care once established in the garden.
    • Naturalizing: They can spread over time to create natural-looking drifts, enhancing the visual appeal of an area without the need for regular planting.
    • Cold hardiness: Being cold-tolerant, snowdrops can survive and thrive in cooler climates where other flowers may not endure.
    • Early bloom: As one of the first flowers to emerge in late winter or early spring, snowdrops can provide an early splash of color in the garden.
    • Suitable for shade: They are well-adapted to growing in shady conditions, such as under deciduous trees or in woodland gardens, where other plants might struggle.
    • Deer and rodent resistant: The plant is generally not palatable to deer and rodents, reducing the need for protective measures.
    • Resilient to pests and diseases: Snowdrops have a natural resistance to many common garden pests and diseases.
    • Signals of spring: Their blooming often indicates the transition from winter to spring, making them a beloved symbol of the coming change in seasons.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Galanthus elwesii, commonly known as the Giant Snowdrop, can be used in floral art for its minimalistic and delicate appearance.
    • The bulbs of Giant Snowdrop can be traded and collected as part of horticultural hobbies, especially rare or unusual variants.
    • Giant Snowdrops can be used as a natural marker of seasonal transition in gardens since they bloom early in spring.
    • The plant can provide essential early forage for pollinators, such as bees, emerging after the winter.
    • Giant Snowdrops can be used in photography, especially macro photography, to capture the intricate details of their flowers.
    • The leaves and flowers can be used in botanical prints and plant pressing for educational or craft purposes.
    • Dried and pressed Giant Snowdrops can be incorporated into handmade paper to create a textured and visually appealing material.
    • Giant Snowdrops are often used in winter and early-spring wedding bouquets and decorations for their symbolic meanings of hope and purity.
    • The presence of Giant Snowdrops in a garden can enhance the garden's aesthetics, especially as a contrast to evergreen plants or snow cover.
    • In literature and poetry, Giant Snowdrops often symbolize purity, consolation, and the hope of new beginnings, inspiring writers and poets.

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 elwesii, commonly known as the Giant Snowdrop, often blooms in late winter, signaling the end of the cold season and the imminent arrival of spring.
    • Purity - Its white flowers are commonly associated with purity and innocence, much like other white blossoms.
    • Consolation or Comfort - The Giant Snowdrop is sometimes given as a symbol of sympathy or to offer comfort during difficult times.
    • New Beginnings - As one of the first plants to bloom at the end of winter, it symbolizes new beginnings and the hope of a fresh start.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Early Spring
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Snowdrops, or Galanthus elwesii, prefer evenly moist soil and should be watered thoroughly once the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. This may mean watering them with approximately 1-2 gallons every week during their active growth period, which is typically in late winter and early spring. After blooming and as the foliage begins to die back, reduce watering frequency, allowing the soil to dry out more between waterings. Over-watering during dormancy can lead to bulb rot, so be cautious.

  • sunLight

    Snowdrops thrive in partial to full shade, making them ideal for planting under deciduous trees or shrubs which provide dappled sunlight. They benefit from the early spring sun before the trees leaf out, and appreciate the subsequent shade during the hotter months. Avoid deep shade which can inhibit flowering.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Snowdrops are cold-hardy and can survive in temperatures as low as the teens (in Fahrenheit) and can tolerate winter months well. They prefer a climate where temperatures do not often exceed 65°F during their blooming period. Ideal growing temperatures for snowdrops range from the upper 30s to the mid-50s Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Snowdrops typically do not require pruning. However, if you notice any dead or damaged foliage, it can be removed to maintain plant health. The best time for any necessary cleanup is after the foliage has naturally yellowed and died back, signaling the end of the plant's growth cycle for the season, which is usually by late spring or early summer.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    Snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) thrives in rich, well-draining soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. For optimal growth, a mix containing loamy garden soil, peat, and perlite is recommended to retain moisture yet allow excess water to drain away, mimicking their natural woodland environments.

  • plantRepotting

    Snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii) are typically not repotted as they are bulbous plants that prefer to be left undisturbed. They can be lifted and divided after several years if clumps become overcrowded, which is best done when they are dormant in summer.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii) prefer outdoor conditions with normal humidity levels. They do not require high humidity and are quite tolerant of the varying humidity levels found in most temperate climates.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in cool, bright area; mimic outdoor light and temperature.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in dappled shade in fertile, moist soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Galanthus elwesii, commonly known as Giant Snowdrop, begins its life cycle from a bulb, which lies dormant underground during the summer. In late autumn or early winter, leaves begin to emerge, followed by a single flower on each stem, typically blooming from January to March. After flowering, the plant undergoes pollination, predominantly by bees, leading to the development of a seed capsule. Once the seeds mature, they are dispersed, often by ants that are attracted to the fleshy appendage on the seed. Subsequently, the leaves die back in late spring, and the plant reenters dormancy until the following autumn. New bulbs may form alongside the parent bulb, vegetatively propagating the plant and initiating the cycle anew.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early Spring

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagation for Galanthus elwesii, commonly known as the Giant Snowdrop, is by dividing its clumps. This should be done just after the plant has finished flowering in late spring, typically around March to April, when they are still in leaf. To propagate, carefully lift the clump out of the soil with a garden fork, being cautious not to damage the bulbs. Gently separate the bulbs by hand, ensuring that each offset bulb has a portion of the basal plate to grow from. Replant the bulbs immediately at the same depth they were previously, which is usually about 3 inches (approximately 7.6 cm), ensuring that they are spaced about 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) apart to allow for ample growing space. Water the area well to help establish the newly planted bulbs. This method of division helps maintain the vigor of the plant and can quickly increase your stock of Giant Snowdrops.