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What Is the Meaning of Snowdrops?

By Darla Himeles
Snowdrops are known for their small white flowers.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Christian Guthier

Snowdrops are small white flowers that grow in climates where winters are mild to cold. Snowdrops are hardy plants that live longest when the weather is coldest. Their scientific name is Galanthus nivalis, of the family Amaryllidaceae.


Snowdrops symbolize new beginnings and hope because they typically bloom at the end of winter and announce the approach of spring. Growing close to the ground, they also represent death. Picking snowdrops and bringing them inside is considered unlucky.


Snowdrops' bell-shaped petals arch downwards, facing the ground, so the highest part of the plant is its stem. Some snowdrop varieties have green markings on the white petals.

Time Frame

Snowdrops are often the first flowers you will see in cold climates, sometimes blooming before crocuses. Snowdrops can appear during the fall, winter or early spring, though they most commonly are associated with late winter. Once established, snowdrops multiply and spread each season.


Although there are over 100 varieties of snowdrops that grow in colder climates all over the world, all varieties have white flowers and grow close to the ground. They have long, spear-like leaves ranging from silvery-green to dark green.


Plant snowdrop bulbs in the fall. They prefer light shade and well-drained, but not overly dry, soil. Divide snowdrops every three years.


About the Author


Darla Himeles is a freelance writer, editor and poet living in Castine, Maine. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College's English and education programs and a current student in Drew University’s MFA in poetry and poetry in translation program, Himeles writes frequently about education, wellness, writing and literature.