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.
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.
More on growing snowdrops:
Discover three tips for growing snowdrops, below.
Combine snowdrops with other plants
White snowdrops and yellow winter aconite flowers
Try growing snowdrops beneath deciduous shrubs, such as Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’, 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 will need repotting annually.
Plant snowdrops ‘in the green’
Watering snowdrops planted in-the-green
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 establish well. Specialist nurseries sell snowdrops in-the-green and also often wrap the bulbs to preserve moisture.
Planting snowdrops in-the-green
Snowdrops do best in a well-drained soil in light shade, similar to their native woodland habitat. If you are planting your bulbs in heavy soil, add a little sharp sand or grit to the planting hole to improve drainage.
Where to see snowdrops