Glory of the Snow/Chionodoxa Forbesii ‘ Pink Giant’
This is one of many plants which have long been known under other species names – in this case, C. luciliae ‘Pink Giant’, and you may still find it sold as such. However, C. f. ‘Pink Giant’ certainly lives up to its cultivar name: a profusion of pink blooms appears in March over the narrow, strappy leaves, improving the year after planting and being most effective when the Glory Of The Snow is planted in clumps of up to 20 bulbs. Pot-grown bulbs can be effective, but a better show will result from a planting in something like an alpine sink, where the blooms can rise above a mat of alpines. Given plenty of moisture and good light, Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’ is very easy to grow.
This is a fully frost-hardy bulb from the mountainous regions of, tolerating even snowfall (hence the common name): if grown as a pot plant, the colder the growing conditions the better.
Position this plant where it will receive good light, without being ‘cooked’ by direct sunlight, on such as a window-sill or even in a sheltered courtyard outdoors. Again, try to simulate the brightly-lit, but cold, conditions of its native habitat.
Water thewell when first potted, then allow the surface of the compost to begin to dry before giving another thorough watering; do not allow the compost to dry out.
This bulb has no need of any additional humidity: if grown indoors and kept in a cool environment, it should be alright.
Pot- or container-grown plants will need no feed during the first year after potting: established bulbs in long-term displays should be given a feed of a proprietary organic fertilizer (hoof and horn or fish) in Autumn.
Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’ will need repotting and dividing every three years, but the bulbs are very cheap and it may be easier to purchase new stock and plant the old ones in clumps in the garden. Grow the bulbs in a free-draining compost, planting them about 8cm (3in) deep.
In addition to C. f ‘Pink Giant’, there are other colours available: try a mixed planting of gentian blue C. sardensis and bright blue C. luciliae (Gigantea group), adding a few Scilla and any of the many Anemone blanda cultivars to produce a riot of white, pink, blue and violet.
Reliability: The Glory Of The Snow is one of the bulbs that are least prone to pest and disease attack; always buy good-quality bulbs for a reliable show.