Termed “Snowflakes” by the gardening public, the Leucojum aestivum is by far one the most adaptable bulbs ever offered in the Southern US. This is the bulb that we suggest people try when they aren’t sure if they can grow perennial bulbs. During a season when people only consider daffodils to be early spring bloomers, this unusual bloom will steal your heart and captivate your attention. This diminutive bloom was once prized and plentiful in old southern gardens.
Scott Ogden in his book Garden Bulbs for the South says this bulb “positively thrives in the South, and you could hardly ask for a more appealing spring flower.” Most spring-blooming bulbs are good only down to zone 8 or good for zones 8-10. The Leucojum aestivum, however, works great in zones 6-10! This fanciful bloom may look delicate, but this bulb is hardy, reliable, and vigorous.
Bulbs often have similar names. The buyer often assumes that the bulbs are the same but just from different companies. Over the years, the Galanthus spp. “Snowdrops” is assumed to be the same as the heirloom Leucojum aestivum “Snowflakes”. Though they sound like they should be the same bulb, and the blooms do look similar, it doesn’t take long in the warmer areas of the south to realize that they aren’t the same. The Snowdrops just can’t endure over the years the hot dry summers of the south, whereas the heirloom “Snowflakes” thrive and exceed expectations.
- Versatility: The versatility of the “Snowflakes” is probably what makes it stand out the most among all bulbs. Most bulbs need certain light or soil conditions. Those conditions aren’t flexible. That isn’t the case with the “Snowflakes” bulbs. “Snowflakes” work well in zones 6-10 in all kinds of soil from clay to moist sand and edges of ponds to drought-ridden soil. They can be planted in any type of lighting from full shade to full sun. If you have a spot that is unsuitable for most other early spring-blooming bulbs, try “Snowflakes”.
- Blooms: These petite blooms look like bells and are only about the size of a dime. Each bloom has six little petals that each have a tiny green spot on the tip. If you plant the bulbs in groups of 4-6 then the foliage seems to “clump up” and the blooms seem to float on a sea of green. The height of these blooms is only about 12 inches. On top of their unique beauty, they have a lightly sweet fragrance for you to enjoy.
- Tough Bulb: I’m not sure that I can emphasize enough just what a tough bulb this is. This bulb is a great perennial in the south and will naturalize over time. It is one of the easiest to grow and can thrive almost anywhere you plant it. It produces unique blooms that add to any setting. It does well in ditches or a more formal garden. It can be planted en masse for a dramatic display or in between your already-established spring bloomers for interest and diversity.
Animals: The pollinators truly enjoy this bloom and make good use of it in early March. If you want a bulb that is resistant to deer and other critters, this is a great one for you. Our Snowflakes have even resisted the munching of goats, so we feel fairly comfortable recommending them to you as an animal-resistant bulb.
A Fun Story
Once, when speaking to a garden club in Monroe, a long time member of the club decided that she would like to show me her little patch of snowflakes. I often have such an invitation and see nice little clumps here and there in a garden setting. A surprise was in store for me when we turned onto her property and a field of white met our eyes!
From the northern parts of the Southern US to Gulf Coast towns like Galveston, this is one of the toughest bulbs in our gardening inventory. It handles part time shade better than the Narcissus and is a reliable bloomer every year. We hope you give it a try! Available at www.southernbulbs.com