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Three tips for growing snowdrops

Snowdrops mark the first sign of spring, flowering ahead of daffodils and bluebells. They emerge through frozen soil from January and are in bloom until late-February.

See how to divide and replant snowdrops

When you see a drift of snowdrops it's easy to understand their appeal. Most of them appear very early in the year while other bulbs lie dormant, and they never fail to lift the spirits and remind us that spring is on its way.

There are several hundred cultivars of snowdrop, often only distinguishable by the markings on the inner three petals of each flowerhead. There are both single and double varieties; most are green although some, e.g. Galanthus nivalis 'Sandersii' are yellow.

Planting combinations

Try growing snowdrops under deciduous shrubs, e.g. Cornus alba 'Sibirica Variegata', or along the front of borders where herbaceous plants can provide ground cover when the snowdrops are dormant.

Snowdrops are also ideal for naturalising in grass and moss under a tree. They do well in pots, but they will need repotting annually.

Planting snowdrops

Plant snowdrops in-the-green in spring after they have finished flowering, but before the leaves have died down. This helps them absorb moisture quickly after they have been planted, as dry, rootless snowdrop bulbs do not re-establish well. Specialist nurseries sell snowdrops in-the-green and also often wrap the bulbs to preserve moisture.

Snowdrops enjoy a well-drained spot in light shade, similar to their natural woodland habitat. If you are planting your bulbs in a heavy soil, add a little sharp sand or grit to the planting hole to improve drainage.

Discuss this plant feature

Talkback: Three tips for growing snowdrops
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kaycurtis 24/11/2011 at 15:27

doesn't it lift your heart to see these pretty little flowers they are so welcome in the dreary days after Christmas, wish I could have the complete range but then that would leave the garden empty the rest of the year.

Jackiepam 24/11/2011 at 15:28

The Snowdrop Valley, correct name Draper's Way, is in SOMERSET, near Timberscombe! It's absolutely beautiful, only accessable for three weeks by specially provided bus from Wheddon Cross, or with good walking legs - about twenty minutes brisk walk, directed over the fields, or half an hour following the road, which is closed.
Superb, but in SOMERSET!!!!!!!

See Wheddon Cross on the Web for lovely photos and details.

jonno 13/01/2012 at 01:30

Bank Hall, Bretherton, Lancashire is one of the newest yet established snowdrop gardens in the UK. The gardens of the mansion house were abandoned for over 20 years until the Bank Hall Action Group cleared the debris and overgrowth and revealed the hidden carpets of snowdrops. They are open to the public every Sunday throughout February and well worth the visit for any Galanthophile, historian or garden lover.