Snowdrops look stunning in carpets around the base of shrubs and in borders and are a welcome sign that spring is on its way. Get ready to plant Snowdrops for a great display of early flowers for next year! Snowdrops are really tough, they can sprout through snow (hence their name) and they blossom while the calendar indicates that it is still winter.
According to the gardening books neutral to alkaline soil suits Snowdrops best , apparently they suffer on heavy clay – however our soil is a clay soil and our Snowdrops grow really well. This is probably because the soil where they are planted has been improved over many years by adding mulch and leafmould. Plant Snowdrops deep in light shade, making sure they do not dry out in summer and divide clumps every three years, because overcrowding can cause disease.
How to grow Snowdrops
How To Plant
- Find a location where the soil drains well.
- Plant your snowdrops in light to moderate shade.
- Dig holes and plant the bulbs about 3″ apart and with their pointed tops 2-3” below the soil surface.
- Position the bulbs with the pointy end facing up.
- After planting, water well to settle the soil around the bulbs.
- Most bulbs will begin to grow roots in just a week or two but you won’t see activity above the soil until late winter or early spring.
- When the flowers have died allow the leaves to remain until they yellow and wither, before removing the spent foliage. Trimming still-green foliage will reduce plants’ ability to nourish next year’s flowers, resulting in fewer, smaller flowers.
- Water during the autumn and winter with a water-soluble fertilizer to nourish the bulbs as they develop new roots and top growth. Your bulbs will survive without fertilizer, but providing extra nutrients encourages more flowers, larger blossoms and longer life for your bulbs.
- They can also be grown in containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any potting medium will work fine just make sure there are enough drainage holes; Snowdrops (Galanthus) bulbs must never sit in water logged soil or they will rot.
Snowdrops transplant well when they are in leaf and even in flower and the bulbs can also be divided at the same time – a method known as ‘in the green’. You can then replant new clumps of snowdrops in other places around the garden; it’s a simple way of making more of these beautiful flowers.
When To Plant
The most favoured option is to plant Snowdrops “in the green” after flowers have faded, but some experts prefer to wait until June.
How to plant Snowdrops “in the green”
How To Do It
- Use a garden fork or spade to lift clumps of snowdrops.
- Dig deeply all round the clump, before levering it out in order to get down to the bulbs.
- Divide the snowdrop clumps by tearing them apart. This can be done when they are in leaf or even in flower.
- Pick off flower heads to conserve the energy in the bulbs.
- Use a hand trowel to replant small clumps of six to eight bulbs.
- Make the hole 10cm – 15cm deep and place the bulbs at the base of the hole.
- Fill around the bulbs with soil taken from the hole, ensuring that some of the leaf is above the surface.
Don’t remove the leaves from your snowdrop bulbs. Leave them to die down naturally as this will allow next year’s flower buds to form inside.