VIU Milner Gardens and Woodland

Plant Pick: Glory of the Snow

by Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association

Latin name:  Chionodoxa forbesii

Common Name:  Glory-of-the-Snow

This Turkish native is deer resistant and naturalizes in well-drained soil and full to partial sunlight. 

A bulbous perennial that is among one of the very first bulbs to bloom as early as late winter or early spring, often poking its way up through the melting snow, hence it’s common name “Glory-of-the-Snow”.

Commonly known as “Glory-of-the-Snow” because of being one of the first blooms of Spring. Chionodoxa forbesii var. alba has up to ten star-shaped, six petaled clustered flowers usually white but can be light blue or pink with bright white centers on top of dark green-brown stems with sparse blade shaped foliage.  Each bulb produces a cluster of about 5-10 flowers.

Chionodoxa forbesii belongs to the Scilla section - a small group of bulbous flowering perennial plants  in the Asparagaceae subfamily Scilloideae.

As Chionodoxa forbesii matures over time, especially when planted in the right spot – it naturalizes by bulb offsets called bulbils which are baby bulbs that form on the sides of the mother bulb (the original planted bulb) and maybe even spread by self-sowing seeds.  One of the earliest springtime bloomers, Glory of the Snow creates a beautiful border when planted along side other early bloomers like Narcissi, Tulips, Muscari and Hyacinths.

Chionodoxa forbesii can be naturalized in a lawn, if mowing is postponed until the foliage begins to die back (about 5-6 weeks) or if the mower blade is set high enough to avoid removing too much of the small leaves. They are unaffected by juglone, so can be planted under walnut trees. 

Chionodoxa alba       Glory-of-the-snow

Chionodoxa alba     Chionodoxa alba

Form: Raceme of flowers on brown stems.

Foliage type:

Tall blade shape leaves on brown stems.

Height/Width:

Flowers spread from ½ “ to ¾ “ wide and 6 “ tall.

Hardiness Zone: Zone 3-8.
Exposure:

Full to partial sun. 

Can be planted under deciduous trees 3” apart 2-4”deep.

Flower colour:

Bright white, some blooms are light pink or light blue with bright white centers.

Leaf colour: Long blade shape; medium green,
Flower time: Late winter, early spring.

Preferred soil &

watering:

Well drained soil. Light watering.
Other:

Chionodoxa forbesii can also be forced indoors over the winter.  They can be potted up in October, then pre-cooled in a dark place for 10 -12 weeks with moderate watering.  When brought into the house, they will bloom about 2 to 4 weeks later. 

Milner Gardens location:

Chionodoxa forbesii can be found at the Pool House Gift Shop patio and Greig Rhododendron Species Garden.

Photo credit/Reference:  

https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/glory-of-the-snow-Chionodoxa/

https://www.vanengelen.com/chionodoxa-luciliae-alba.html