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March is the month to plant a range of bulbs 'in the green': instead of planting dormant bulbs in autumn, specialist nurseries lift bulbs - usually after they have flowered - with their green leaves attached, ready for immediate planting. This is the preferred method for growing plants with small bulbs which are prone to drying out, such as snowdrops, winter aconites, bluebells and snowflakes.
Snowflakes enjoy similar woodland conditions to snowdrops but flower later, establishing to form bold clumps. Despite the name, summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum) bloom in mid- to late spring, a couple of weeks after spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum). Depending on when you plant them, your snowflakes may flower in their first year. The pictured variety is Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant'.
Order plants in March from mail-order suppliers. Bulbs will be delivered bearing roots and leafy shoots.
Prepare the soil well and fork in plenty of compost or well-rotted manure. Plant bulbs as soon as they're delivered so just their green tips sit above soil level.
Firm soil round each bulb and then water thoroughly to settle the soil. Even with leaves these small bulbs are prone to drying out, so continue to water each week if conditions are dry.
Depending on the variety and when you plant them, your snowflakes may flower in their first year of planting. Allow the bulb foliage die down naturally in summer, providing the bulbs with the energy they need to flower the following year.