Gardening Ideas Gardening Flowers Bulbs How to Grow and Care for Summer Snowflakes These delightful bulbs love our Southern climate. By Steve Bender Steve Bender Steve Bender, also known as The Grumpy Gardener, is an award-winning author, editor, columnist, and speaker with nearly 40 years experience as Garden Editor, Senior Writer, and Editor-at-Large for Southern Living. Southern Living's editorial guidelines Updated on April 1, 2023 Fact checked by Jennifer Hawk Fact checked by Jennifer Hawk Jennifer Hawk is a former English professor with 24 years of experience guiding even the most reluctant through the labyrinths of writing, rhetoric, and research. brand's fact checking process Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article Plant Attributes Summer Snowflake Care Types of Summer Snowflakes Pruning Propagating Summer Snowflake How to Get Summer Snowflake to Flower Photo: Patrik Stedrak/Getty Images Refreshing temperatures remind me that autumn is near. I love autumn weather because, at last, I can escape my air-conditioned prison and garden outside in comfort. What will Grumpy be doing? Planting spring bulbs. And while most of you know about daffodils, tulips, crocus, and hyacinths, one spring bulb doesn't get the widespread love it deserves: the snowflake. Its official common name is "summer snowflake," which is terribly misleading as it blooms in February and March in Alabama in my USDA Zone 8A garden. I surmise that whoever dubbed it that lived in the northern reaches of its native Europe, where it's been cultivated since at least 1594. Its botanical name, Leucojum aestivum, distinguishes it from the slightly earlier blooming spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum. Summer snowflake is showier in bloom than its cousin and much more amenable to the mild winters we have in the South. Unlike many spring bulbs, it blooms reliably as far south as central Florida. Plant Attributes Common Name: Summer snowflakeBotanical Name: Leucojum aestivumFamily: AmaryllidaceaePlant Type: BulbMature Size: 1 ft. to 2 ft.Sun Exposure: Full sun, part shadeSoil Type: Loamy, clay, well-drained, moistSoil pH: Acidic, neutral, alkalineBloom Time: Late winter, springFlower Color: WhiteHardiness Zones: 4–9 (USDA)Native Area: Europe Summer Snowflake Care Plant your bulbs in fall about 4 inches deep and 4 inches apart, preferably into well-drained soil. Summer snowflakes look best when planted in bunches of six or more, in clumps that eventually spread into an impressive drift. The bulbs require little care after they are planted in the fall. Snowflakes thrive in most conditions, tolerating sun, partial shade, hot and cold climates, rich soils and clay, wet streambanks, deer, and even black walnut trees. The plant has not been categorized as invasive in any state, though it naturalizes easily, producing bulb offsets and spreading into wooded areas. Light Summer snowflake does well in either full sun or light shade and can be planted under a tree in dappled shade or part shade. Unlike daffodils, its stems don't lean towards the sun, but always stand straight up, so it's pretty viewed from any side. Soil Summer snowflake grows best in well-drained, rich soils with medium moisture, but is quite tolerant of many conditions. Snowflakes can adapt to clay as well as moist soils along a streambank or pond—just make certain to plant the bulbs above the waterline. Water Snowflakes need consistent moisture while growing and blooming in the late winter and spring. Water if the soil dries out during the period your flowers are actively growing. Once they go dormant in summer, snowflakes can tolerate moderately dry soil. A 2-inch layer of mulch is helpful in retaining moisture in a location that is hot and dry in summer. Temperature and Humidity Snowflakes are adapted to USDA Zones 4 to 9 (that's most of the U.S. down to the Gulf Coast). They aren't bothered by humidity but require extra care and watering in a dry climate. Fertilizer Snowflakes aren't fussy and don't generally require fertilizer, though they do best in rich soil. Consider adding compost or bulb fertilizer at the time of planting. If you would like to enrich the soil, you can add compost on top of the soil each year after the plants wither away. White Flower Farm Types of Summer Snowflakes The plain vanilla summer snowflake sports 18-inch stems, each carrying three to five, 1-inch, bell-shaped blooms with a green dot on the tip of each petal. I prefer the stately heirloom selection, 'Gravetye Giant,' named for the estate of famous 19th-century garden writer and designer, William Robinson. Shown above, it's taller, has larger blooms, and bears as many as nine flowers per stem. Pruning If you prefer to keep your garden neat and tidy, you can remove spent flowers from the plants. Allow the foliage to continue growing until it withers away, at which point you can remove it. Planting other perennials or ferns around your snowflakes can help to hide the dying foliage. Propagating Summer Snowflake Deer and rodents will not eat snowflakes, so these long-lived treasures increase in numbers over time. Summer snowflakes prefer to be left undisturbed, but you can dig up, divide, and replant the bulbs if they outgrow their space. Wait until the foliage has turned yellow before you dig up a clump. Should you be the sharing sort, bestow extras on friends and family—a tradition that's been going on for more than 400 years. How to Get Summer Snowflake to Flower Summer snowflake is a dependable and low-maintenance plant that should flower without special care. It does require sunlight to bloom, so don't plant the bulbs in deep shade. Deadheading is not necessary on this plant. Blooms appear in late winter in the warmest climates up to early June in the coldest, so patience may be all that is required if your plant hasn't bloomed yet. Like daffodils, snowflakes make an excellent cut flower. By spring bulb standards, it stays in bloom a long time—a couple of weeks. After hearing how easy and dependable these plants are, you naturally want some summer snowflakes for your own garden. If you can't find the bulbs locally, you can purchase them by mail. Trusted sources include White Flower Farm, Brent & Becky's Bulbs, and John Scheepers. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. Missouri Botanical Garden. Leucojum aestivum. Invasive Plants Atlas of the United States. Summer snowflake. PFAF Plant Database. Leucojum aestivum Summer Snowflake. Plants for a Future. Lunday E. For Brilliant Spring Color, Plant Your Bulbs Now. Botanical Research Institute of Texas and the Fort Worth Botanical Garden. Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder. Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant'. North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Leucojum (Snowflake). North Carolina State Extension.