Yellow snowdrops? Yes, they do exist – and come at a high price
Most snowdrops are white, or green and white, but some are yellow – and highly sought after. Words by Lucy Bellamy, images by Jason Ingram.
While most snowdrops are white, or white with green markings, some are yellow. The yellow markings are most frequently spotted on the flowers, but can also occur on the leaves.
Yellow snowdrops set the hearts of galanthophiles (snowdrop lovers) racing, and they are highly sought after. In 2022, a single bulb of Galanthus plicatus 'Golden Tears', bred by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery, sold for £1,850. He previously broke records in 2015, when another of his introductions, ‘Golden Fleece’ (see below), bred over the course of a decade, sold for an eye-watering £1,390.
Snowdrop obsession: Would you pay £1,000 for a single bulb?
Theoretically, yellow aberrations can occur on any snowdrop and so, as stands to reason, they are most commonly found in the most prolific group, Galanthus nivalis. In Northumberland yellow snowdrops, known as ‘halfers', arise spontaneously and regularly in wild clumps.
Yellow snowdrops: everything you need to know
These popular and covetable, if challenging, cultivars can be hesitant to grow, as their yellow colouring is the result of a lack of chlorophyll, the green pigment present in all plants that is responsible for absorbing light as part of photosynthesis. Therefore to get the best out of a ‘yellow’, the bulbs should be grown outside (rather than in a greenhouse), in a location that enjoys a lot of winter sun.
Read our detailed guide to growing snowdrops.
Here are five yellow snowdrops recommended by specialist nursery, Morlas Plants in Shropshire, run by Jane Rowlinson.
Yellow snowdrops to grow
Galanthus plicatus ‘Golden Fleece’
The first yellow, inverse poculiform (goblet-shaped) snowdrop that broke records in 2015 when a single bulb sold for £1,390. Bred over ten years by Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery. Height: 15cm.
Galanthus gracilis ‘Ronald Mackenzie’
A beautiful yellow snowdrop with delicate inner markings. Height: 16cm.
Galanthus x valentinei ‘Dryad Gold Ribbon’
A superb snowdrop with a rounded bloom and a large, yellow, inverted heart on the inner segments. Late flowering. Height: 16cm
Galanthus nivalis (Sandersii Group)
The snowdrop that originally sparked Jane’s enthusiasm. Distinguished by it’s yellow ovary and inner petal markings. Height: 15cm
Galanthus ‘Wendy’s Gold’
Inner segments can be slightly greenish yellow on first opening before changing to pure yellow. AGM. Height: 15cm.
Where to buy yellow snowdrops
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