Companion Plants for Snowdrops

The 2017 Snowdrop Catalogue, featuring snowdrops and other winter interest plants like cyclamen and hellebores, is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders.  To access the catalogue, please click here.

Galanthus nivalis & Arum italicum 'Pictum'Snowdrops, G. nivalis, with Italian arum and snow crocus, C. tommasinianus, in the background.

The main attraction of snowdrops is that they bloom at a time of year when flowers are rare in the garden.  There is nothing like a solitary group of beautiful white flowers to light up a dismal, cold day in February.   Although companion plants are not necessary to achieve this effect, snowdrops are even more lovely when paired with other flowering plants or evergreen leaves.  This post will give you some ideas of what plants combine well with snowdrops to create winter interest in your garden.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Galanthus nivalis and EranthisSnowdrops and winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, are the perfect combination for early in the snowdrop season.  Both naturalize well in woodland conditions.

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Eranthis hyemalis & Galanthus 'S. Arnott'Winter aconite and ‘S. Arnott’, the most popular of all snowdrops with UK gardeners.

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Galanthus elwesiiEvergreen (technically winter green) ferns are a great backdrop for snowdrops, here giant snowdrops, G. elwesii, and Japanese holly fern.

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Galanthus elwesii var. monostichtus Hiemalis Group CSG -01The evergreen leaves of hellebores also set off snowdrops well.

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Hybrid hellebore & G. 'Brenda Troyle'When the hellbores bloom it is even better, here a hybrid hellebore and ‘Brenda Troyle’.

. Galanthus 'Standing Tall'‘Standing Tall’ picks up the silver markings on the evergreen leaves of Chinese ginger.

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Galanthus nivalis and Cyclamen coum at Carolyn's Shade GardensSnowdrops with winter-blooming hardy cyclamen, C. coum.  They also pair well with the much larger, silver-marked, evergreen leaves of fall-blooming cyclamen, C. hederifolium.

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Galanthus reginae-olgae, Lamium 'Shell Pink'‘Shell Pink’ lamium blooms in my garden into December so it is a great companion for fall-blooming snowdrops like the G. reginae-olgae above.  Once the flowers are gone, the silver stripes on the evergreen leaves continue to combine well with later-blooming snowdrops.

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Galanthus nivalis & Arum itlalicumI think snowdrops and Italian arum are my favorite combination, here under the reddish branches of ‘Magic Carpet’ spiraea.

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Galanthus 'Atkinsii' & Arum italicum 'Pictum'A beautifully marked arum and ‘Atkinsii’.

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Galanthus nivalis & Heuchera 'Creme Brulee' Many native heucheras hold their color all winter and look great with snowdrops, especially ‘Caramel’, ‘Citronelle’, ‘Frosted Violet’, ‘Autumn Bride’, and ‘Blackout’.

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Galanthus 'S. Arnott', Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'Favorite ‘S. Arnott’ with the very early-blooming daffodil ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’.

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Galanthus nivalis, Crocus tommasinianusSnowdrops naturalized with ‘Ruby Giant’ snow crocus.

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Galanthus nivalis CressonOf course, there is something to be said for naturalizing large quantities of common snowdrops to enjoy en masse.

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galanthus in French woods from AlanSomeday your woods may look like this French forest photographed by Alan Street.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings:   You can sign up to receive notifications of catalogues, sales, and events at the nursery by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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26 Responses to “Companion Plants for Snowdrops”

  1. You’ve convinced me to add more Snowdrops! I really like the combinations–especially with Winter Aconite, Lamium, and Coral Bells. Thanks!

  2. debsgarden Says:

    That last photo is breathtaking! You have shown some wonderful companions for snowdrops. I like the arums! I wish you much happiness and success in 2015!

  3. Now I know what’s missing in my garden. Snowdrops! Thank you for the inspiration.

  4. I really like the combination of the snowdrops and winter aconite. That would look pretty like in the image of the French forest.

  5. Starr Foster Says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    Great photos of your spring garden! In my zone 5 (very occasionally zone 6), my late winter plants such as arum italicum, hellebores and evergreen ferns look a little sad. Other than creating a more sheltered garden, would fertilizing help? All I do is mulch each fall with shredded oak leaves. My snowdrops, winter aconite and crocus come up fine.

    Your garden is lovely. Your color combinations are so well thought out, and your planning and hard work show. I sure wish I could see it. Megan and her family are in CT now, so we are driving that way whenever we can. Since my husband is still working full time, we aren’t traveling as much as we’d like.

    Good luck with your snowdrop sales. So glad you are spreading the word. I read the snowdrop book with your interesting interview!!

    Starr

    • Starr, Winter green leaves on hellebores etc. as opposed to evergreen leaves will get damaged by the severe cold in your zone. Hellebores but not arum were looking pretty bad after our winter last year. Fertilizing does not help. Glad you liked my interview in the new snowdrop book. I was quite honored to be included. Carolyn

  6. kathykling@aol.com Says:

    Hi Carolyn- Are you by any chance organizing any more garden visits this spring – last year I, sadly, couldn’t make the snow date. Thanks- Kathy

  7. I love your companions and should take note…now if I could just get it together enough to order some snowdrops before they are all gone.

  8. Good to see your post Carolyn, I have gained a woodland area so interested to see these options. I wont go mad as I am tightening the budget at the moment.

  9. Ah, snowdrop time again, I love it! The first snowdrop is already finished flowering in my garden but I have many more in flower and many more to come – and many have not emerged yet on my shady side. I got two new ones for Christmas, Galanthus elwesii ‘H. Purcell’ and Galanthus elwesii ‘Maidwell L’. The Henry Purcell was just one single snowdrop in a pot so I hope he survives and gets many babies!

    It was nice to see your photo of heuchera and snowdrops together, I am actually waiting for a delivery of 200 Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ which I will plant with 7 different heucheras I have grown from cuttings – they are now big enough to get out of the pots and into the ground so that’s what I am doing next week 🙂

    • Helene, I have heard that you are having a very early year for snowdrops over there in England. Your snowdrops and heucheras will be gorgeous. I keep selling my Flore Pleno. Next fall maybe I will plant 200 for my own enjoyment. Happy New Year, Carolyn

  10. I look jealously upon your snowdrop collection. Atlanta is unkind to them. I’ve had failure after failure with the species and cultivars. How I would love snowdrops by my Onyx Odyssey hellebores. Oh well, lots of edgeworthias in full bloom now give me solace and the crocus are starting to open too. That said, I’d love to hear of any snowdrop cultivars that have been demonstrated to do well in the south.

    • LeeLee, Snowdrops need a cold period over the winter in order to thrive and bloom the next year. However, I have a customer in South Carolina with the same zone as Atlanta, zone 8A, with a large snowdrop collection. I also have another customer in Santa Clara, CA, zone 10, who is growing giant snowdrops, G. elwesii. I would look for snowdrops species that come from warmer parts of the world at lower elevations like G. reginae-olgae, which is found on Corfu in Greece. Carolyn

  11. Very helpful posting, Carolyn. I planted my snowdrops among the lamium, but I am afraid the lamium is ‘taking over’ and wonder if I should pull it out. I love the pairing with winter aconite. P. x

    • Pam, As you saw, I have snowdrops in lamium too. I don’t think it will hurt the snowdrops, they are very tough and come up through anything. However, I do pull the lamium back to allow better viewing of the snowdrops. No need to remove it. Carolyn

  12. Hello Carolyn,
    You have a wonderful website and blog. I hope to visit your garden someday. Can you give me advice on weeds amongst snowdrops?

    Our home’s previous owners created 2 areas with naturalized snowdrops. One side of a walkway has snowdrops that come up out of periwinkle/vinca. The other side has snowdrops mixed in with various weeds and groundcover (pachysandra, ivy). I plan to leave the vinca alone, but will vinca choke out the snowdrops? Is there anything i should keep in mind as i clear the weeds and mixed groundcover on the other side?

    Since we recently cut the tree that was shading this area, there is probably too much afternoon sun. Can i sow annual flower seeds on the surface in order to shade the area and keep weeds down? We do plan to plant a new tree. When there is more shade i plan to plant some companion plants that you suggested in the blog.

    Thanks for any help!

    Best regards,
    Melissa

    • Melissa, Vinca will not choke out the snowdrops unless the snowdrop leaves get no sun after the plants flower and before they go dormant. If everything is already there and growing fine, I would say this is not a problem. As to the other side, just replant any snowdrops bulbs that you dig up by mistake. You should determine how much sun the area gets. Snowdrops are fine in half a day on sun. Carolyn

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