Why Crocuses Are Better Than Snowdrops

In my last post I may have ruffled a few feathers among some readers. (Or at least, feathers were ruffled among those readers who have feathers. For readers without feathers, I may have raised a few hackles. Among those who have neither feathers nor hackles, the impact of my words has yet to be determined.) In any case, what provoked this reaction was my statement that, compared to Crocuses, Snowdrops can be a bit dull.

2014-04-06 13.17.59 crocus tommasinianus with bees
Bees enjoying Crocuses during last year’s balmy early spring. 

Now, I’m not saying that Snowdrops aren’t garden-worthy bulbs, in a slightly inferior way. They are really quire nice. I’m just saying that Crocuses are better.

2014-04-06 13.18.28 yellow crocus
Clump of yellow crocus.

What makes Crocuses better can be summed up in one word: color. Winter is a time of black and white, a time that lasts for months and months here in Chicago. And so little white flowers, while welcome, just don’t have the same impact as the exciting yellow and purple, lilac and orange presented by Crocuses among the dead leaves and plant debris. And those golden stamens!

If Snowdrops bloomed in summer, their cool elegance might be more appreciated. Bad timing, Snowdrops.

Crocus vernus 'Twilight'

And Crocuses are so upright and perky. They seem to be shouting, “Hello! Happy spring!” While Snowdrops are a bit dangly and droopy. They seem to be drawling, “Oh, thank goodness it’s warmed up a bit, but let’s not get carried away.”

2014-04-06 13.20.14 white crocus

Even white Crocuses are a gleaming, happy white, while the white of Snowdrops is more subdued.

2013-03-30 snowdrops
Snowdrops from last year blooming among the dried Hydrangea flowers. 

Now, there is one important way in which Snowdrops are superior to Crocuses: Snowdrops are varmint-proof. Squirrels, chipmunks, and other evil furballs love Crocuses even more than I do . Sadly, they love Crocuses as a tasty snack. They find Snowdrops unappetizing, however.

So, what do you think? Do you accept the obvious superiority of Crocuses, or do you cling stubbornly to the notion that Snowdrops are just as good, or even better? And don’t say each is equally good in its own way, that’s cheating. Also, what is a hackle?

64 Comments on “Why Crocuses Are Better Than Snowdrops

  1. I personally think crocuses are prettier. That said, I’m not sure I can grow them here in Texas. I’ve never tried. But you asked so I’m sayin’ crocuses win, in my opinion, hands down. I like color!

  2. I’m all for snowdrops. Crocuses are to bloom in Husum (German town on the North Sea shore, famous for its crocus carpets all over town – and former home of the great novelist Theodor Storm).

      • He is (was) a novellist and poet from the north or Germany, living 1817-1888. His most famous story is The rider on the white horse – some translators also gave it the title The Dykemaster – is his most famous drama.

  3. For me snowdrops win every time. Why, I hear you ask. Four months of flowers for a start. As you say, the wildlife leave them alone but they eat the bulbs and flowers of the crocus. They like my heavy clay soil which the crocus don’t. The least bit of wind has crocus lying flat against the soil whereas snowdrops take it all in their stride. I really don’t think I need to say any more, snowdrops are the best, every time!

  4. I am totally with you on the superiority of Crocuses over snowdrops. I much prefer their vivid color and their big, upright blooms. Others’ experience might be different, but my Crocuses have also increased much more prolifically than my snowdrops.

  5. I love snowdrops for being the first flowers to appear after the worst of the winter, but wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of white, they came in crocus colours! 😉

  6. Yes, you have made your case, and I concur, without a raised hackle. Here is a definition of hackles:” erectile hairs along the neck and back especially of a dog.” And, of course, when a dog is angry, up go the hackles 😉

  7. Ha ha funny post! Well, I had no idea crocuses were considered a delicacy for squirrels. I’ve never known mine to bothered here on the East Coast. They are pretty little flowers in clusters, but I must say the snowdrops are far more robust and will stand upright through all sorts of crazy weather for quite a few days anyway.

  8. The reason I think crocus are inferior is that the flowers barely lady more than a week, snowdrops flower for much longer. Im only just beginning to experiment with snowdrops here in Italy, they may not like my garden st all but crocus are a very fleeting pleasure.

  9. Ahh now y’see, for me it has to be the tiny, subdued little snowdrop, how valiant it is, fighting through the frozen soil each bleak, bleak winter, it looks like a winter blossom to me, ethereal and hauntingly beautiful ….almost sad. The crocus represents spring, vibrant and colourful.
    Great post, you had me smiling.xxx

  10. I don’t think either plant is superior. I like the way snowdrops pop up way before crocus even set out any greenery. They bring a calm yet animated feel to the garden. Then being the sensible plants that they are they stop blooming about the time that crocus pushes through the debris to give us that much needed color boost. This way our color starved eyes don’t pop out of socket from the clash of color and dreary landscape. Crocus then ushers us into the larger garden experience. You should stop bashing snowdrops and allow them their proper due.

    • I’m not bashing them, I’m just stating the facts. Some flowers are better than others, Crocuses are better than Snowdrops.

  11. I smile at my clumps of species crocus, purple in one spot; yellow in another, that appear very early in the grass in my front garden. But, my respect is for the ethereal snowdrops, quiet and graceful.

  12. Oh, the controversy!! I quite like them both – but I’m usually hard pressed to say anything bad about a plant, unless it’s one of those dang invasives that have me cursing each year.

  13. I have no feathers (well, not last time I looked, anyway) and I do have hackles, but they are plateau-level at the moment. I do love crocuses but I also love snowdrops. Crocuses have colour, ’tis true, but snowdrops are owned by my inner child’s magic fairy. 😉

  14. If only the rabbits didn’t eat the few crocuses (croci?) I have! Or maybe I just need to plant more than they can eat? Are the tommies any more resistant to rodents? Inquiring minds want to know!

  15. Sorry to cheat but I do like them both for different reasons. If I have to choose though – I choose snowdrops. They are graceful and hardy at the same. They are the first sign that spring is on the way – at least, that’s what they usually mean. This year they didn’t get much time to themselves before everything else began sprouting way too early. I love the way they poke up through the snow and bloom in the bitter cold. They make me smile.

    I like crocuses too. They always make me think of bright, vibrant Crayola crayons that melted in a heap.

  16. I like snowdrops best – they break my flower famine and I’ll always be grateful. Luckily we don’t really have to choose – these are wonderful too.

  17. I think if spring instantly when I see a snowdrop, but for sheer delight, how can you beat the colour of a crocus? They get my vote.

  18. It’s nice to see a bit of colour coming up, I guess everyone is different. I do prefer the crocus. I currently have a sea of daffodils in my garden, come out very early!

  19. My favourite flower is the snowdrop. My favourite spring moment is spotting a bumble bee upside down in a Crocus. They are both winners. Does this mean that I am featherless and hackleless?

  20. I like them both, but I really do appreciate the color of crocuses after staring out at brown and gray (and white) for so long. I really like the tiny daffodils, scilla, and winter aconites, too.

  21. No hackles here–I totally agree with you! The snowdrops are welcome just because they are usually the first blooms I find, but nothing beats the happy color of crocuses.

  22. A bit late for hackles as I have got rather behind with blogging and my peerless snowdrops are just about over now. But in the dead of winter when there is nothing else about, I still maintain that there is nothing, nothing to cheer the soul like a snowdrop. Crocuses are awfully jolly but they come a bit later and are wrecked by wind and rain. If we get a sunny day they are a lovely sight and indeed I have little tommies and species crocus everywhere. I’ m not so keen on the fat Dutch ones though.

  23. Summer blooming snowdrops would be lovely, but it is way too dry in summer for them out here. I do love the carpets snowdrops make in spring, but I also love the colors of crocuses, even the white ones with their golden throats.

    • Yes, wishing for summer snowdrops is pointless – but then again, some ambitious plant breeder may take on such a project.

  24. Thanks for sharing these lovely Spring flowers! I have just started a poetry blog here on WordPress in case you have time to have a look? Have a good afternoon, Sam 🙂

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