Leucojum aestivum

Leucojum aestivum

The snowflake (ht 45-60 cm) is a frost-hardy European bulb that is easy to grow in Sydney in shade or sun. It belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family, members of which generally thrive in our climate. It likes humus-rich, reasonably moist soil but will cope with more ordinary conditions fairly well. In winter it produces pristine white nodding bell-like flowers with tiny green markings, and these continue into early spring. The flowers are said to smell faintly of chocolate! The lush green foliage is narrow and strap-like; it should be allowed to die down naturally after flowering, even though this is a rather untidy stage.

The bulbs can be given an all-purpose fertiliser after flowering and given occasional liquid feeds once the leaves appear in autumn. The bulbs can be left in the ground for years and will form big clumps; every so often, these can be divided up. The cultivar 'Gravetye Giant' (ht to 90 cm) is a taller growing form, with larger flowers; it flowers later than the species in my garden, appearing in late August. Snowflakes look effective grown in clumps nearby stark white-flowered hellebores (Helleborus x hybridus) which come into bloom around the same time.

Flowers in July, August, September.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.