Snowdrop Galanthus elwesii 'Grumpy'

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


Galanthus elwesii 'Grumpy', commonly known as the Grumpy snowdrop, is a charming bulbous perennial that distinguishes itself with its unique flower morphology. The plant features solitary, drooping, bell-shaped white flowers that are endowed with a special character: each flower has a set of inner petals that are marked with a distinct green "frown"-shaped mark at the tip, which whimsically resembles a grumpy human face. These expressive inner petals create a delightful contrast against the pure white of the outer tepals. The foliage of the Grumpy snowdrop comprises a pair of greyish-green leaves that are elongated and slender, with a slight arch, emerging from the base of the stem. As the plant matures, these leaves grow to neatly frame the flower stems, providing a fresh backdrop that highlights the blooms. The foliage has a smooth texture and a touch of gloss that catches the light, further accentuating the striking appearance of the nodding flowers. Overall, the Grumpy snowdrop is a delightful addition to a garden, notable for its whimsical floral expressions and early bloom, often signaling the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Its captivating flowers and neat foliage make it a favorite among plant enthusiasts who seek a touch of personality in their plant collections.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Elwes' Snowdrop, Greater Snowdrop, Giant Snowdrop, Grumpy Snowdrop

    • Common names

      Galanthus elwesii.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The common name for Galanthus elwesii 'Grumpy' is the Giant Snowdrop. This plant contains compounds that can be toxic to humans. All parts of the Giant Snowdrop, including the bulb, leaves, and flowers, contain alkaloids such as galantamine that can cause poisoning if ingested. Symptoms of Giant Snowdrop poisoning may include gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, it can lead to more serious effects such as cardiac problems or neurological symptoms. It is advised to avoid ingesting any part of the plant to prevent the risk of poisoning.

    • To pets

      The Giant Snowdrop is toxic to pets as well. Similar to its effects on humans, all parts of this plant contain toxic alkaloids that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal upset if ingested by pets. In some cases, more severe symptoms could occur, including changes in heart rhythm and rate, or even neurological issues. Pet owners should keep their animals away from the Giant Snowdrop to prevent accidental ingestion and subsequent poisoning.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6 inches (15 cm)

    • Spread

      3 inches (7.5 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Early Bloomer: This plant is one of the first to bloom in late winter or early spring, providing a splash of color when most other plants are dormant.
    • Attracts Pollinators: Despite blooming early in the season, it can attract bees and other pollinators that are active on warm winter days.
    • Low Maintenance: Snowdrop requires minimal care once established, making it ideal for gardeners seeking low-maintenance plants.
    • Drought Tolerant: Once established, it can withstand periods of dryness, making it suitable for xeriscaping or drought-prone areas.
    • Cold Hardy: It is well adapted to cold climates and can survive freezing temperatures, making it a reliable choice for northern gardens.
    • Naturalizing: Snowdrop tends to spread over time, creating natural drifts of white flowers that can enhance the aesthetics of any garden space.
    • Deer and Rodent Resistant: The plant is generally not appealing to deer or rodents, reducing the likelihood of damage from these animals.
    • Ground Cover: Its ability to spread and low-growing habit makes it effective as a ground cover, suppressing weeds and stabilizing soil.
    • Historical Interest: It has a long history of cultivation and can add an element of historic charm to a garden.
    • Garden Design Versatility: Its compact size and early blooming nature allow it to be used in a variety of garden designs, from borders to woodland gardens.

  • 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

    • Photography Inspiration: The unique expression of the 'Grumpy' snowdrop makes it a whimsical subject for botanical photographers and hobbyists alike.
    • Cold Climate Gardening: Gardeners in colder regions often use Galanthus elwesii 'Grumpy' as an early blooming plant to signify the end of winter and celebrate the coming of spring.
    • Weather Indicator: Some people observe the opening and closing of Galanthus elwesii 'Grumpy' flowers as a natural indication of ambient temperature changes.
    • Bee Forage: The Grumpy snowdrop provides early spring nectar for pollinators, especially bees that are active during the cooler early months of the year.
    • Bulb Forcing: Hobbyists may force Grumpy snowdrop bulbs indoors to enjoy their blossoms in winter when the garden is dormant.
    • Symbolic Gift: The flower is sometimes given as a gift to represent resilience and hope, due to its ability to bloom in the harsh conditions of late winter.
    • Art and Crafts: The distinctive look of the Grumpy snowdrop can inspire botanical illustration, watercolor painting, and other art forms.
    • Event Decoration: Because of its early bloom time, Galanthus elwesii 'Grumpy' is sometimes incorporated into early spring events and wedding decorations for a touch of natural charm.
    • Garden Literature: This specific snowdrop variety, due to its whimsical name and appearance, is often featured in garden literature and children's books.
    • Garden Design: The Grumpy snowdrop is used in contrast with later-blooming flowers to create a succession of bloom in garden planning, offering visual interest from winter through spring.

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, commonly known as the snowdrop, often blooms in late winter or early spring, piercing through the snow. Thus, it symbolizes hope and the anticipation of better things to come following hardship.
    • Purity: The snowdrop's white color is traditionally associated with purity and innocence.
    • Consolation or Comfort: In the language of flowers, giving a snowdrop can convey sympathy and the offer of solace to someone who is grieving or sad.
    • New Beginnings: As one of the first flowers to emerge after winter, snowdrops are a symbol of new beginnings and the renewal of nature.
    • Resilience: Despite its delicate appearance, the snowdrop is a hardy plant that shows resilience as it survives and blooms in harsh winter conditions.

When soil dries out
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Late winter-early spring
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Snowdrops, the common name for Galanthus elwesii 'Grumpy', prefer evenly moist soil during their active growth in fall, winter, and spring. They should be watered with about 1 inch of water weekly. As they go dormant during the summer, reduce watering significantly and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Over-watering during dormancy can cause bulb rot, so it's crucial to avoid letting them sit in wet soil. To ensure proper hydration, it's best to water snowdrops early in the morning to allow any excess moisture on the foliage to evaporate throughout the day.

  • sunLight

    Snowdrops thrive in partial shade to full sun conditions, with dappled sunlight being ideal. They perform well when planted under deciduous trees, benefiting from the increased light in winter and spring before the trees fully leaf out. Avoid placing snowdrops in deep shade, as this can lead to poor flowering.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Snowdrops can survive in a range of temperatures and are quite cold-hardy. They can withstand winter temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit and are comfortable during their blooming period with temperatures ranging from 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideal growing temperatures are between these ranges; excessive heat during their dormancy can be detrimental.

  • scissorsPruning

    Snowdrops do not require regular pruning but deadheading, the removal of spent flowers, helps to maintain a tidy appearance. However, it's important to allow the foliage to die back naturally after flowering to enable the bulbs to store energy for the next season. Prune away any yellowing or dead foliage once it has completely died back, generally by late spring.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Giant Snowdrop requires a well-drained, humus-rich soil mixture with a pH of around 6.0-7.0 to thrive. For best growth, incorporate plenty of compost or leaf mold to ensure nutrient availability and a loamy texture that maintains moisture yet drains excess water effectively. Avoid heavy, waterlogging clays and overly sandy soils that dry out rapidly.

  • plantRepotting

    The Giant Snowdrop doesn't need frequent repotting and can be left undisturbed for several years. It is typically repotted once it is visibly crowded or after 3 to 5 years, ideally just after the leaves have died back in late spring or during its dormant period in summer.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The Giant Snowdrop prefers moderate humidity levels, common in its natural outdoor environment. It is fairly adaptable but will appreciate an environment that is not too dry, with humidity levels approximating 40-50%, typical of what is found outdoors in its growing regions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in a cool, bright spot; keep soil moist but not wet.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in dappled shade; well-draining soil; keep moist.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Galanthus elwesii 'Grumpy', commonly known as Grumpy Snowdrop, starts its life as a bulb, lying dormant beneath the soil during the hottest parts of the year. In late winter to early spring, it breaks dormancy, with leaves and a single flower stalk emerging from the bulb as temperatures begin to rise. The plant flowers, producing its characteristic nodding, white blooms, often marked with a distinctive frowning face pattern on the inner petals, which gives it the name 'Grumpy'. After flowering, it undergoes photosynthesis for a few weeks through its leaves to generate and store energy back into the bulb. Once the leaves yellow and die back, the plant enters dormancy again, with the bulb remaining underground until the next growing cycle. This annual cycle repeats, with the plant potentially multiplying by producing offsets, which are smaller bulbs that can grow into new plants, thus gradually expanding its presence in the garden.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late winter-early spring

    • Propogation: Galanthus elwesii 'Grumpy', commonly known as the Grumpy snowdrop, primarily reproduces by division, which is the separation of the bulb clusters that naturally form at the base of the parent plant. This activity is best undertaken in late spring after the plant has finished flowering but while the leaves are still visible, providing a guide to where the bulbs are located. To propagate by division, carefully lift the clumps of bulbs with a spade and gently tease them apart. Replant the bulbs immediately at the same depth they were growing before, which is typically about 3 inches (about 7.6 centimeters) deep, ensuring that there is ample space for each to grow. Water the newly planted bulbs well to help them establish. This method of propagation allows the Grumpy snowdrop to multiply and spread while maintaining the genetic characteristics of the parent plant.