Small Spring Bulbs, Chionodoxa

Ilona Erwin

Low Growing Bulb for Spring Bloom

Glory of the snow, or Chionodoxa is one of those small bulbs with a big name, one which has that irresistible combination of beautiful sky blue color, ease of growing, and charm of form. That makes it the perfect choice for naturalizinggrowing flowers bulbs to multiply and spread on their own. “Glory of the Snow” is its common name, which is misleading unless you live in its habitat of origin in the mountains of Greece. There, it is said to carpet upland meadows with starry blooms in the colors of Greece. Chion means “snow” in Greek, and doxa is translated as”glory”. In my garden, the snow is well gone before ‘Glory of the Snow’ makes its debut. This low growing bulb produces a patch of shining sky blue, just the thing for this time of year.

Chionodoxa luciliae or C. forbesii? Most bulbs are sold commercially under the first name.

I like to know the native origins of a plant since it gives a clue to the ideal growing conditions, and the mountain meadow plants are going to want good drainage. Though my sometimes soggy spring garden seems to suit it, nevertheless. Well drained, light soils, even sandy are recommended, but not needed. Normally, bulbs resent ground that is heavy and stays wet for too long.

glory of the snow closeup

Chionodoxa will compete with grass, and though slow to take off, it will increase well after it has had a chance to establish. It doesn’t seem to go far afield, but will increase its patch of ground and provide a pool of blue under shrubs, and in garden beds where it is planted.

This bulb has been found in gardens since about 1878, which makes it appropriate for period gardens of the late Victorian and Edwardian times and later.

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General information on buying bulbs: what to look for. How to plant them, and bulb gardening tips. Ideas for planting combinations. Take me to the Small Bulbs Page
Tips For This Low Growing Bulb

Be sure the site where Chionodoxa is planted is well drained.

Chionodoxa makes its best show when shielded from the strength of the sun, although not in a truly shady place.

Chionodoxa luciliae

This is the most available and popular type of Chionodoxa. Showy soft blue with a center of cloud white, and medium grass green foliage, it freely blooms at approximately the same time as other low growing bulbs such as Scillas and Kaufmanniana tulips, in March to April. Mine always bloom towards the latter part of the cited bloom time.

Chionodoxa luciliae rosea and Chionodoxa luciliae alba

These are color variants, of pink and white, respectively.

Chionodoxa Gigantea

The larger form, it will grow taller than the regular form and the flowers measure approximately 2 inches across.

Pink Giant

The pink form of the larger variant, Gigantea; with purplish pink blooms. The violet-pink flowers bloom on 4″ stems.

Chionodoxa Gigantea alba

As any plant with ‘alba’ tacked on the name, this is a white form. It is rare.

The RHS has given Chionodoxa luciliae Boissier, C.sardensis, C.siehei the “Award of Garden Merit 2003”.
Chionodoxa luciliae, Glory of the Snow - Macro

Growing Conditions for Chionodoxa

Hardy in zones 3 to 9.
Well drained soil.
Sun to part shade.
Plant 3 inches deep.
Plant in the autumn.

Chionodoxa can grow under Black walnut trees, is tolerant of juglone, the substance that inhibits the growth of other plants nearby.

Deer resistant

 

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.