Chionodoxa (Kye-oh-no-DOKS-uh) is a very early-blooming perennial spring bulb that originated in Turkey, Crete, Cyprus, and other parts of the eastern Mediterranean.
The plants’ family connections are a bit sketchy. Although Chionodoxa is typically listed as being a member of the Asparagaceae family of plants, it is worth noting that it was formerly a member of the once-sprawling Liliaceae family of plants.
Chionodoxa was apparently removed from this family early in the 21st century and reassigned not to the Asparagaceae family but rather to the Hyacinthaceae family. This is a grouping of small, perennial, flowering spring bulbs that are similar to Chionodoxa.
You may hear this plant referred to by its common names:
- Lucille’s Glory of the Snow
- Glory of the Snow
- Violet Beauty
In Greek, the word chion means snow, and doxa, means glory – hence the plants’ common name. The occasional inclusion of “Lucille” is a nod to the wife of Swiss botanist Pierre Edmond Boissier.
- Chionodoxa Care
- How To Propagate Chionodoxa Bulbs
- Chionodoxa Main Pest or Diseases
- Suggested Chionodoxa Uses
Chionodoxa, aka Glory of the Snow | First Year in my Garden | Review
Size and Growth
Violet Beauty grows and spreads rapidly once established. The plants may grow to be between 3″ and 6″ inches tall.
Individual plants have a spread of about 6″ inches; however, the plants can very quickly create a solid ground cover.
Flowering and Fragrance
Glory Of Snow pops its cheerful head through the snow very early in the springtime. First, the stalks appear, and as the weather warms, the small, bright blue blooms (C. luciliae) open their white eyes.
Grandiflora has larger blue flowers, and C. sardiensis has pendulous blue flowers that are about 2″ inches wide,
Some varieties (C. forbesii) have very deep blue or even violet flowers. There are also pure white and pink flower varieties.
The six-petaled flowers are star-shaped and quite delicate. Each bulb presents a cluster of five or ten flowers atop brown stems. The individual blooms are about an inch across. When cut, they last well as tiny bouquets.
After the bloom time, the foliage of the Chionodoxa plant will fade around the late spring season and enter a start of dormancy.
As with many spring blooming bulbs, Chionodoxa’s strap-like medium green leaves begin to die back during the summer after the plant has finished blooming.
It is best to leave the foliage of Glory of Snow in place until it has completely withered on its own.
Light and Temperature
When planted in the landscape, Glory of Snow thrives in full sun but does equally well in partial shade. It also needs about 6 hours a day of the bright, direct morning sun. Protection from harsh afternoon sun is advised.
If you keep Chionodoxa as a potted or container plant, you can force early blooming by exposing the pot to bright light and warm temperatures in late winter/early spring.
Scilla is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9.
Watering and Feeding
Early in the springtime, provide plenty of water until the plant has completed its bloom cycle. When the spring blooms have faded, reduce watering. When the leaves begin to yellow, withhold water completely.
This easy-care, quickly naturalizing bulbs are not especially hungry. Amend the soil well with aged manure, compost, or other nourishing organic matter when planting and seasonally in the springtime for best results.
Soil and Transplanting
Plant Glory of Snow bulbs in autumn in fertile soil with excellent drainage or very loose, well-drained soil that has been amended with generous amounts of organic matter. Bulbs should be planted about 3″ inches deep (pointy end up) and a minimum of three inches apart.
If you are growing your Chionodoxa as a potted or container plant, use a light potting or container mix made up of good-quality potting soil amended with humus, peat, or sand to improve drainage.
Bulbs planted in containers must be buried three inches deep, but you can crowd them together a bit if you wish.
Careful not to waterlog or overwater this plant because Chionodoxa bulbs are likely to rot if grown in overly moist soil.
Grooming and Maintenance
Keep your plants tidy throughout the growing season by deadheading the glory of snow petals as soon as they fall off and pruning away damaged or dead vegetation.
If you want to collect seeds from your plants, stop deadheading around mid-May (the last month of spring) and allow the seed heads to form. You will collect them at the end of May/start of June as unopened seed pods.
Leave the foliage in place until it has died back significantly. Then you can cut or mow it down or just leave it in place to decompose and nourish the soil.
If you naturalize these plants in your lawn, be sure to mow high until their foliage begins to die back.
How To Propagate Chionodoxa Bulbs
The glory of the Snow spreads enthusiastically on its own by producing both bulbs and seeds, especially in humus-rich soil. Its bulb size is usually about 2″ inches.
When the plants become overcrowded every few years, you may need to dig them up and divide them. When you do, you can separate and relocate bulbs to grow more plants.
As mentioned, you can also allow seed pods to mature on the plant and collect them. Once you’ve gathered them, store them in a cool, dry place. You can break them open to access the seeds in the fall.
Direct sow the seeds onto prepared soil in autumn at about the time you would normally plant bulbs.
If you wish, you can start the seed indoors early in the spring, but you must stratify the seed to ensure germination.
Whether planting bulbs or seeds, water thoroughly right after planting, and keep the soil evenly moist until new growth begins to appear. At this time, you can transition to a soak-and-dry watering schedule.
Chionodoxa Main Pest or Diseases
For the most part, well-cared-for Chionodoxa is pest-free and deer resistant, making it a safe plant to grow where critters are a common issue. However, in some areas, nematodes in the soil may present a problem.
Other common glory of snow diseases include bulb rot and gray mold. For the pest insects, they are:
Is the plant considered toxic or poisonous to people, kids, and pets?
There are no reported toxic effects for Chionodoxa among people, pets, livestock, wildlife, and birds.
Is the plant considered invasive?
Chionodoxa is considered to be aggressive but not invasive.
Suggested Chionodoxa Uses
As one of the loveliest spring flowering bulbs, use the Glory of the Snow to provide welcome color early in the spring. These hardy, cheery plants are a good choice for:
- Lawn and Ground Cover
- Containers and Pots
- Walkways and Paths
- Pollinator Gardens
- Naturalized Areas
- Woodland Settings
- Slopes and Banks
- Cutting Gardens
- Mass Plantings
- Small Spaces
- Rock Gardens
Examples of good companions for the glory of snow include:
- Grape Hyacinth
They make a good choice planted under any deciduous tree because the Glory of snow flowers will bloom freely and enjoy the early spring sunshine before the tree leaves and then will be protected from harsh sun when the trees’ leaves appear.
Because Chionodoxa is not affected by juglone, you can plant these bulbs under walnut trees. They are also a good choice in areas where deer may frequent because they are resistant.