Growing Snow Glories: Care Tips and Common Varieties

Updated June 14, 2022
Glory of the snow (Chionodoxa luciliae)

When you see a snow glory blooming, that's a sure sign that spring has sprung. Snow glories (Chionodoxa), also referred to as glory-of-the-snow or scilla, are among the first flowers to bloom in early spring. These bulb plants are in the lily family. Snow glories produce star-shaped flowers that can be blue, white, pink, or even lilac. The flowers last for only around three weeks, but the plants keep their green foliage until autumn. They are hardy in USDA Zones 3-8.

Snow Glories Characteristics

Growing Snow Glory in Your Garden

If you're looking to add early spring blooms to your landscape, snow glories are a great option. As with other bulbs that bloom in spring, snow glories should be planted in autumn. The best time to plant them is between your first frost and the time the ground freezes in your area. Review when and how to plant bulbs for tips and key best practices by planting zone.

Where to Plant Snow Glories: Light and Soil Requirements

Snow glories will thrive in full sun or partial shade. They will grow well in soil with any pH level, but they do need well-draining soil.

  • Snow glories can be planted in the ground, but they also make terrific container plants.
  • If your soil is heavy clay or doesn't drain well for another reason, work some organic matter into the soil before planting.
  • Plant snow glory bulbs three inches deep and leave two to three inches between bulbs.

Watering and Fertilizing

Snow glories should be fertilized annually in the spring. It's best to use a commercial bulb food, such as Epsoma's Bulb-tone or Jobe's Organics Bulb Food. These plants need about an inch of water per week. Water thoroughly immediately after planting. Otherwise, if there is sufficient rain, you won't need to water them much. However, they are not drought tolerant. When conditions are dry, you'll need to water them periodically. Weekly watering during dry spells is likely sufficient.

Pruning Snow Glory

Snow glories need only minimal pruning. Their leaves will stay green for a while after the flowers stop blooming. Leave them alone as long as they stay green. Once their foliage begins to turn yellow, then you should snip the leaves off each plant near the base. That is all they need in the way of pruning.

Snow Glory Pests and Diseases

Snow glories do not have any notable pests or diseases. The biggest challenge for this plant is to make sure that its bulbs do not sit in water. If your soil does not drain properly, snow glory bulbs will rot. That's why it's so important to plant glory-of-the-snow bulbs in soil that drains properly.

Blooming blue scilla luciliae (Chionodoxa luciliae) flowers

Propagating Snow Glories

As with other bulb plants, snow glories multiply profusely. You'll want to dig, divide, and replant them every few years. These plants will also propagate by seed, but this is a slow process if your goal is to get flowers. You can collect and save seeds to start your own plants, but be prepared to wait for three years for blooms. They will also reseed themselves, so don't be surprised if new plants pop up all over the place. Snow glories propagate so readily that they can become invasive.

Beautiful Snow Glories to Grow in Your Garden

There are several kinds of snow glories that you may want to consider growing in your garden. They're all easy to grow, so you can choose any cultivar(s) that captures your interest.

Chionodoxa Luciliae

Chionodoxa luciliae, commonly referred to simply as glory-of-the-snow, grows to between three and six inches in height with an equivalent spread. This type of snow glory produces beautiful blue flowers with a white center.

Chionodoxa Luciliae 'Alba'

Chionodoxa luciliae 'Alba' is a larger cultivar. It will grow to reach somewhere between three and six inches tall, with a proportional spread. The Alba cultivar produces snow-white flowers.

Chionodoxa Luciliae 'Gigantea'

Chionodoxa luciliae 'Gigantea' produces large blue-violet flowers that are white in the center. The plants reach between four and six inches in height with a roughly equivalent spread.

Chionodoxa Forbesii

Chionsoxi forbessi has smaller flowers and longer stems than Chionodoxa luciliae, with a smaller spread. They grow to be between six inches and one foot tall and have a spread of one to two inches. They can produce up to ten flowers per stem.

Chionodoxa Forbesii 'Blue Giant'

Chionodoxa forbesii 'Blue Giant' produces lovely and large bright blue flowers that can be up to two inches wide. They tend to grow to between four and ten inches tall with a spread of one to two inches.

Chionodoxa Forbesii 'Pink Giant'

Pink Giant usually produces large (up to two inches) pink flowers, but its flowers sometimes appear more lilac than pink. They usually reach four to ten inches in height and have a spread of one to two inches.

Chionodoxa Sardensis

Chionodoxa sardensis, commonly referred to as Turkish snow glory, reaches only five to six inches in height with an equivalent spread. Its bright blue flowers are solid blue with no white.

Chionodoxa Nana

Chionodoxa Nana is a dwarf snow glory that rarely reaches more than four inches high. Its blue flowers are small, and each plant has just two leaves. It is best suited for containers and even does well in rock gardens.

Good Companions for Snow Glories

Snow glories are great companions for a variety of other plants, including shrubs, perennials, and annuals. Since they will grow in any soil and in any light condition other than full shade, they pair well with a lot of plants. A few examples of good companions for glory-of-the-snow plants include:

  • Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • Hellebore (Helleborus)
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria)
  • Primrose (Primula)
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus)

Welcome Spring With Snow Glory Blooms

After a long, cold winter, seeing spring blooms peek through is a wonderful feeling. By adding glory-of-the-snow bulbs to your garden, along with other spring flowers that radiate joy, you'll be able to enjoy some of the earliest possible spring blooms. These plants are so easy to take care of that there is no reason not to add them to your garden. Plant some bulbs this fall so you'll be able to look forward to seeing them flower in early spring.

Growing Snow Glories: Care Tips and Common Varieties