Galanthus

Common name: Snowdrops

Galanthus nivalis is the common nodding, white single snowdrop, that is often the first of the flowers to bloom each year in the UK.

The flowering period can be affected by the weather but generally theyflower from January onwards.

These bulbous, sometimes scented, perennials can thrive in borders, rock gardens and woodland situations, particulary if the soil is loamy and holds plenty of moisture and gets good light but not necessarily full sun.

Direct sun can shorten the flowering period if the temperature gets too high.


They grow from 100mm-200mm high, and should be planted out in clumps approx 100mm-150mm apart.

The soil should also be neutral to slightly alkaline and free draining to prevent bulbs rotting off.

They also make good container subjects, particulary if planted with other spring bulbs.

Snowdrops can be prone to fungal diseases such as grey mould (botrytis).

Good air circulation around the clumps and free draining soil will usually prevent this problem.

Plants can be started from seed, but since they hybridize easily they won't come true to the parent plant.

It is perhaps better to allow them to self seed then transplant the clumps when they get established.


Cultivation

Week 10> Give the plants a high potash feed this will assist in plumping up and ripening the bulbs.

Weeks 12 -18: Left untouched, snowdrops can increase rapidly and form large clumps, all that is required is to let the foliage die back naturally after flowering.

To increase stock, lift clumps immediately after flowering with a fork and gently pull them apart into groups of around six to eight bulbs.

This method is known as planting in the green.

They are best divided every few years after flowering otherwise the ground may get exhausted and congested with bulbs, in addition large old clumps tend to become shy to flower.

If left in the open, the bulbs can dry out rapidly so it is best to transplant before the leaves die back, plant them to the same depth as before.

Improve the soil by digging in leaf mould or garden compost add grit to poorly drained sites.



Week 35-45: Plant out new bulbs 100m (4") deep and 75mm (3") apart ideally in neutral to alkaline soil with plenty of moisture and some shade.

Growing them in groups of three to five can look quite effective.





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