Snowdrops are among the first plants to flower in late winter, bringing some much-needed cheer.
Snowdrop bulbs can be planted in autumn, but according to many experts, the best way to establish snowdrops is to plant them ‘in the green’ – after flowering, with their foliage still intact. Discover how to grow snowdrops.
For more advice on planting snowdrops in the green, watch this video with Carol Klein, as she lifts and divides snowdrops.
Find out more about the benefits of growing snowdrops ‘in the green’, below.
Dividing healthy clumps
The main advantage to planting snowdrops ‘in the green’ is that you can be sure that the plants are alive and healthy when you buy or get them from a friend or neighbour.
Plant snowdrops deeply
Though snowdrops can be moved anytime while ‘in the green’, moving them from when they begin to push through the soil, to just after their flowers start to fade, allows plenty of settling in time. Plant deeply in moist soil, and the roots will quickly re-establish.
By contrast, planting dormant bulbs in autumn can often be unsuccessful if they’ve dried out in the garden centre prior to buying. Being such small bulbs, snowdrops are prone to drying, and while they may appear firm, such stress can kill the growing point inside.
Finding snowdrop clumps
If dividing existing clumps, many experts believe snowdrops will re-establish better if lifted and replanted in August or September. However, this presents issues with remembering where the bulbs are, and lifting them without disturbing neighbouring plants.
Moving snowdrops after flowering, while they are in the green, may mean they take a year or two to get back into their stride. It’s worth a try, though, if you want to achieve the effect of the clumps and drifts found in woods and hedgerows.
Siting your snowdrops
Snowdrops grow best in a moist, well-drained soil in light shade, similar to their natural woodland habitat. If you’re planting them in heavy soil, add a little sharp sand, grit or leaf mould to the planting hole to improve drainage.