For a lot of people seeing daffodils in flower is a sign that spring is on its way, but snowdrops are nodding their little heads way before most spring flowers have even started to pop their heads above ground.
Snowdrop bulbs should be planted in autumn ideally before the first hard frost hits. Snowdrop bulbs are very prone to drying out so plant them as soon as possible after purchase.
The best way to buy and plant snowdrops is while they are actively growing, plant growers call this planting “in the green”.
Snowdrops are lifted from the ground just after they have finished flowering in late spring. They are bundled together and wrapped in paper to keep the roots damp until they can be planted in the soil.
Where To Plant Snowdrops
Snowdrops will thrive in a partly shaded position, where the soil is moist but well-drained just like their natural habitat in woodland areas.
Add leafmold or composted bark to improve the soil before planting, and make sure the site where your snowdrops are planted doesn’t dry out during the summer months.
Snowdrops are ideal for planting at the base of a tree or a deciduous shrub.
How To Plant Snowdrops
Place your snowdrops into the ground so that the flat base is at the bottom and the skinny nose is facing up.
Plant bulbs at a depth of around 5 inches (12.5cm) so that there is only a couple of inches (5cm) of soil above the bulb.
Planting “In The Green”
If you wish to plant “in the green”, then your snowdrops should be planted at the same depth as they were growing before being lifted. A simple guideline for this is to plant them so that the point where the green leaves are starting to turn yellow is level with the soil surface.
Planting In Pots
Plant at the same depth as if you were planting in the ground, about 5 inches (12.5cm) but space the bulbs an inch apart for a more spectacular display.
Cutting Snowdrops Back
When your snowdrops have finished flowering and start to look at a bit straggly do not be tempted to cut them back. As with all spring bulbs, snowdrops need to store as much energy as possible for the next growing season. Let the foliage die back naturally and you’ll be rewarded with more flowers next year.
The easiest way to propagate snowdrops is to lift, divide and replant your bulbs. This will also stop them from getting overcrowded and reduce the risk of fungal diseases.
- Although it is often thought of as a native wildflower in the UK, when in fact they originate from parts of Europe and the Middle East.
- The scientific name for the snowdrop is Galanthus nivalis. Name is coined from the Greek words “gala”, which means milk, and “anthos” which means flower. The second part of the name, “nivalis”, originates from Latin language and it means snow.
- Galanthus is a small genus of approximately 20 species of bulbous perennial herbaceous plants in the family Amaryllidaceae.
- Snowdrops have been known since the earliest times under various names but were named Galanthus in 1753.