Snowdrops (Galanthus) – how to grow

Snowdrops are on of the first bulbs to show their flowers in spring, and are a rewarding sight after a cold winter. 20130201-004713.jpg Fans of snowdrops are called galanthophiles. Most flower before the vernal equinox (20 or 21 March in the Northern Hemisphere), though some do flower at other times. Native to Europe, it is though of as a British native, but was actually though to have been brought here by the Romans. There are about 20 species, but hundreds of cultivars, and Snowdrops are some of the most highly sought after bulbs today, the highest price recorded is £360 for a single bulb! They generally are white, with 6 main petals ( actually tepals). The outer 3 are usually larger, and more open, and the smaller 3 more downpointing, and often have green or yellow markings. Growing guide: Unlike most other spring-flowering bulbs, it is generally accepted that they transplant best when planted ‘in the green’ after flowering in late spring, for flowering the next spring. There is debate as to when they should be moved – it is currently accepted this is best to do when they are in full leaf growth, but the RHS is not recommending that they are planted when the leaves start to die back. You can buy them as normal bulbs too – but they generally do not recover well, and may fail when planted.

See: Planting bulbs in the green for more info!

Generally grown in a woodland or park setting, these bulbs are relatively tolerant of most types of soils, but nowhere to dry, or to saturated. They slowly spread over the years to form a carpet of white flowers. A beautiful selection of snowdrops from the The RHS London plant and design show. Image taken by Naomi – She also has a good blog about which ones to choose          

As of February 2012 the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families recognizes 19 species


Buy some here!


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