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Galanthus elwesii is often confused with:
Galanthus nivalis Flower
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Allium Alllium
Trillium grandiflorum Flowers
Trillium undulatum Form

Galanthus elwesii

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Chianthemum elwesii
Phonetic Spelling
guh-LAN-thus el-WEZ-ee-eye
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Giant snowdrop is a bulbous perennial in the Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis) family.  It has 2-3 strap-shaped, basal leaves and large solitary white flowers.  The flowers appear on naked stems in late winter to early spring, poking above the snow if it is present. Giant snowdrop gets its name because its flowers and leaves are larger than the similar common snowdrop (G. nivalis). The genus name Galanthus comes from the Greek words for milk (gala) and flower (anthos).  The species is in namesake to English botanist and naturalist, Henry John Elwes (1846-1922). 

It grows easily in moist, well-drained, hummus rich, soils in full sun to partial shade.  They thrive in that difficult to grow location under deciduous trees because they receive full sun in the early spring and then when the trees leaf out it protects the plants in the heat of summer. 

It naturalizes easily through self-seeding and bulb offsets which can grow into large colonies but it prefers cooler climates and may be short-lived when grown south of Zone 7.  Plant 0 to 2 inches apart and 5 inches deep in the fall.  Leaves should be left to yellow on spent bulbs as they are providing nutrients for next year's bloom.  The dead leaves eventually fall off themselves as the bulbs go dormant for the summer.

Display them where they can naturalize in large drifts such as woodland margins or in lawns under large deciduous trees. However, they can also be planted among other early flowering bulbs in rock gardens, along walks or paths, or in front of shrubs.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious problems.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun tolerant#perennial#white flowers#waxy#spring interest#early spring flowers#understory planting#partial shade tolerant#late winter flowers#tepals#early flowering
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun tolerant#perennial#white flowers#waxy#spring interest#early spring flowers#understory planting#partial shade tolerant#late winter flowers#tepals#early flowering
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Galanthus
    Species:
    elwesii
    Family:
    Amaryllidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Balkans, western Turkey
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Tolerates deer, clay soil, black walnut trees
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 3 in. - 0 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    A solitary 2" wide, waxy, pendulous, bell-shaped white flower, held on a slender leafless pedicel. 6-parted tepals, white but with inner segments that have a terminal green mark. They bloom late winter to early spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Two to three linear, or very narrowly lanceolate, reaching 4 inches long after flowering, 1 1/4 inch wide, greyish-green leaves arise from the base of the bulb.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Naturalized Area
    Rock Wall
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Phenanthridine alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Roots