When winter starts to break and the promise of blue spring skies is just around the corner, you’ll find that there’s nothing more perfect than a glimpse of your first snowdrop. With pure white flowers hanging gently above the melting snow, its promise that the worst of winter is now over is enough to melt the coldest of hearts. It’s February and the snowdrops are in full bloom, I am no galanthophile ( a galanthophile is an enthusiastic collector of snowdrops) , but I do have a beautiful colony of tiny pure white beauties, they pirouette delicately in the breeze under our oak tree. On a bright sunny day they’re one of the great winter wonders of the garden. Plant your favourite snowdrops during late winter and early spring in pots, troughs, beds, borders or naturalize on lawns.
Snowdrop flower bulbs (Galanthus) are grown in both cold winter regions and moderate winters, but keep in mind they truly dislike warm winters. So, if you live in Southern California, Florida or other hot climates, you will have to pass on having the snowdrop flower in your garden.
Snowdrop flower bulbs are small bulbs that are often sold “in the green” or undried. They can very easily dry out, so they won’t be happy sitting around for weeks on end waiting for you get around to planting them. You will want to purchase your snowdrop bulbs and plant them immediately after you receive them.
When to plant
Snowdrops are best bought and planted while actively growing – growers call this planting ‘in the green’. Plants are lifted from the soil just after they have finished flowering, bundled together and wrapped in paper or another material that will keep the roots damp until they can be planted in the soil. Alternatively, you can buy pot-grown snowdrop plants, but expect to pay for more to establish a colony of plants. Avoid buying dried bulbs in the autumn as these can be difficult to establish.
Snowdrops flower early in the year so you should plant them where you can easily see them. The edge of a path works well or even someplace visible from a window would work. Plant snowdrops in groups of 10 or 25 or more which will help in making a good display.
Remember, you can use snowdrops as cut flowers; they just aren’t very tall. Use a small vase and put the vase on a small mirror for a nice display.
How to plant
Each bulb should be planted 3-4 inches deep into a good fertile soil in either full sun or partial shade. The site should be well drained but not so much that it dries out in the heat of summer. They do best in a moisture retentive, humus rich soil, similar to our woodlands so it’s a good idea to add well decomposed leaf mould to the soil first. This is particularly important when trying to establish dry bulbs.
For natural looking drifts, cast the bulbs across the planting area and plant them where they land. Divide regularly and spread them out.
Where to plant
Most snowdrops prefer a spot in dappled shade and will thrive if you improve the soil with leaf mould or garden compost prior to planting to ensure it doesn’t dry out in summer. Plant snowdrops at the foot of trees, deciduous shrubs or team with other plants to make some attractive combinations.
Once you get your snowdrops there are a number of ways that you can choose to display them. They tend to look their best planted in meandering drifts through borders, or under deciduous shrubs in a woodland setting. Quite often, you will see them planted informally in lawns, or naturalised in grass under a favourite tree. They will even do well planted up in containers, displayed as specimen plants on a patio.
I hope you have enjoyed my post and is inspired to head out into your garden to see what you could bring in today. Please do add your ideas to the comments below – flower arranging is all about sharing ideas and inspirations!