Surprise Snowdrops

In a previous post I mentioned my mutant Galanthus. I say mutants as they’ve suddenly appeared after 3 years… Of course there’s always the small possibility the bulbs have been sat there for the past three years without producing blooms?
I think they’re quite pretty and elegant in their own way. And no, I’ve no intention of actually naming them. Although, I guess that if they do well and divide further I could always try sending some to people if they want them? I’ll warn you now though, I’ve never attempted to divide Snowdrops, so yes I am concerned about trying it and it’ll have to be a while before I do; I need to let their numbers build. So far I have three; one is a ‘normal’ Nivalis height, the other two are smaller and look to be ‘babies’ of the former but this is just a guess.


I am able to trace the clump back until at least 2010, the photos are not great because I wasn’t keeping a record of the Snowdrops specifically and are often cropped border snaps I took purely to track the development. Where possible I’ve also attempted to show the background so you can see the plants around them as reference… However, I’ve also changed the border around them most years. For example there were Shasta Dasies next to the clump, but they ended up leggy thanks to the Buddleja and were moved to the Aster border, and replaced by a Heuchera, Lupin and Forget-me-nots.



My guess is that it’s also a fairly common mutation to occur, after all it is just a little touch of colour on the outer tepals; not exactly amazing.


After a quick look, it’s obvious these are not the first to have the green on the outer tepals. For example: Cowhouse Green, Kildare and Scharlokii (spathe on mine doesn’t split), none quite match mine but hey they’re variable anyway; who knows?


(the ‘mutants’ are: the far left, and the two shortest ones right of centre)

Yes they could have been given to me accidentally; I appreciate this is a possibility. A small one, but perhaps.
The reason I say this, is because I buy wholesale (a bag of 100 for around £11) so these Snowdrops have not originated from a specialist. Of course that doesn’t mean their supplier doesn’t also have other species of Snowdrops, but let’s face it – that’s unlikely considering how obsessive people become over their unusual Snowdrops, and the expense at which they come. I can’t see a wholesaler also selling the more expensive ones… Can you? Typically the only other easily bought ones are Flore Pleno and Elwesii. But yes, I agree that there is a chance one got mixed up in my order… And took three years to grow and bloom (although, looking at my photos it looks like these have come from the first couple… Anyway)



I like the understated splash of colour… Would I prefer more or less green? I’m not sure… They’re perfect as they are. And I’m not about to become a breeder 🙂


Copyright 2013 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden.


13 thoughts on “Surprise Snowdrops

  1. Maybe it’s a seedling of your original ones, that’s how most new snowdrops start, pollinated by the bees, maybe one of your neighbours has something special?! Whatever they are, nurture them for a few years and then split them when they begin to look crowded. I sometimes find odd snowdrops in the woodland with different markings, looking nothing like the ones nearest to it, but very similar to others in the rest of the garden, I just assume the bees have been very busy! Enjoy!

    • Hi Janet,

      Ha ha. Look forward to seeing yours soon 🙂
      I’m going to try pick some up tomorrow… That is if shops still have them; getting a bit late now.

  2. There are many reasons why bulbs miss a season or 2 or 3 of flower: The biology (for those that don’t already know) is the centre of the bulb contains the embryonic flower; that’s to say next years flower is grown in the bulb this year. If the green is cut too soon after flowering, the new flower will not develop.
    So if the bulbs are too small (too young as formed from self-seeding); or the weather was too dry; insufficient light (burried under leaves/snow/garden debris…); the soil had insufficient nutrient or too much nutrient (flowers are about sex, and if the soil is too rich there is no need to get your genetic material away from the area you are stuck in, so bulbs will produce lots of green but no flowers). I could add more.
    Forming unusual markings again has many reasons: New genetic mix (self-seeded) is obvous; but also manybulbs are prone to viruses that cause spontaneous mutations of the flower -markings, petal forms, double-flowers- that can also spontaneously disappear as the plant “gets better” or the virus dies off (parrot tulips are famous for this).

    My advice is enjoy the unusual and beautiful in your garden! And keep letting us see the result!

    • Hi,

      Yup, there’s so many possibilities and of course so many variations of the same plants anyway – just like with anything natural variation plays a role. Just in the same clump some can be taller/shorter/more green on the inner tepals/less green.
      We’ll see if I get more next year… Perhaps so. But I do plan on moving hopefully in the next year so may never know (depends on if I take them with me).

    • Hi Donna,

      It’s almost March… Your snow should melt soon, right??
      I’m undecided on the snowdrop… Different yes, but doesn’t really matter? Not sure. As pretty as some of the other types are… Think I’ll stick to the plain ones 🙂

    • Hi Jan,

      Trying to decide whether to take it with me when I do eventually move…In the grand scheme of things; does it really matter? I’m not sure. As interesting as it is having something different… We’ll see. It could be a long time yet before I do move – assuming I get the house on the market this year.

  3. Mutant snowdrops conjured up all sorts of images Liz but none as pretty as your photos. Pauline has taken the words out of my mouth. I would just leave them to produce a good size clump and then divide. ‘Gwirrel’ sounds a fine name for a snowdrop 🙂

    • Hi Anna,

      Maybe I’ve discovered Audrey III with my mutant Snowdrops?? 🙂
      Yeah I’ll be leaving them. Just not sure if I’ll move them when (if) I move. Is it worth it? I dunno. I’m thinking I should, but when it comes to actually moving I’m not so sure just how prominent in my mind some Snowdrops will be.

      They’re probably ‘Viridapice’, just not as well developed. Or, how viridapice started out before being bred for nicer markings.

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