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Chionodoxa, or Glory of the Snow, are starry little sweeties that brighten the early spring garden. Happy to naturalize into colorful drifts, these plants are cheerful, easy, inexpensive and perfect mixers with other spring bloomers such as crocuses and snowdrops. Add some this fall and enjoy them for endless springs to come.
Choose a site with full sun to ¾ day sun. Since chionodoxa are active in the spring and slip into dormancy by late April or May, areas near/under open-branched or limbed up deciduous trees can often work. These sites can be sunny and perfect before the trees are fully leafed out. In warmer areas, a little protection from afternoon sun will extend the crocus blooming window.
Look for a site that drains well. Chionodoxa are happy in average garden soil, and as with most bulbs, good drainage is important to help avoid bulb rot. If your soil is heavy (clay or compacted) consider digging in generous amounts of soil amendments such as a mix of course sand and compost, leaf mold or well-rotten manure. (Your local cooperative extension office can recommend good mixes that are appropriate for your local soil conditions.) Note: we do not recommend using bone meal as it encourages pets and pests to dig up the bulbs you just planted.
Plant in the fall, when soil in your area has started to cool. Typically, chionodoxa bulbs can be planted right up until the soil freezes in cold regions, although earlier planting provides more time for bulb roots to grow. Note that the roots on winter hardy bulbs continue to grow, albeit more slowly, when soils are quite chilly but not yet frozen.
Dig holes 4” deep and add a handful or two of compost to the soil you removed. Add a bit of the amended soil back into the holes and plant your chionodoxa bulbs about 3” below the soil line. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed end facing up, fill the hole with soil, pat to eliminate air pockets and water well to settle the soil around the bulb. While there won’t be any visible growth in the fall, the bulb’s roots will be growing and creating a network for absorbing nutrients and moisture.
Plant 10-12 chionodoxa bulbs per square foot.
Chionodoxa need about 1” of water a week from rain, irrigation or a combination of the two.
After flowering, your chionodoxa leaves will photosynthesize and create food for next year’s show. Then the bulbs will go dormant and sleep through the summer. They don’t need, or benefit from, any extra moisture during the summer. When fall temperatures cool, the bulbs will develop new roots and then wait for spring rains and warmth to prompt the next cycle of growth and blooms.
Light: Full sun to mostly sun sites outdoors
Soil: Average soil
Depth: Plant 3” deep
Water: Average moisture
Uses: Garden beds in warm climates, showy indoor blooms anywhere
Tip: Chionodoxa are rarely bothered by critters; plant where squirrels and chipmunks are a problem
They Start Out looking Like This:
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