Snowdrops how to grow, planting, names of varieties. The Snowdrop.
Snowdrops the First of the Spring Flowers in the Garden
The first early spring flowers in an English garden are called snowdrops. Snow drops have a fluidity of movement and are curvaceous and delicate looking even though they manage to survive the harsh weather conditions around at the time of year when they flower.
How to grow Snowdrops and facts about planting and growing snowdrops.
- The name Galanthus means milk flower.
- In the 1850s soldiers returning from the Crimean War brought back snowdrops with them to plant in their gardens at home .
Snowdrops are fully hardy.
Snowdrops prefer some soil types to others. They like a moist soil with plenty of humus. They do not like hot, dry places and prefer part shade which means that snowdrops can be good to plant among shrubs.
The easiest to grow are the ‘common’ single/ double snowdrop or G Atkinsii, a tall variety.
Snowdrops come in lots of different varieties.
- Planting Snowdrops. They are usually easier to establish if planted in the green (i.e. not as bulbs with no leaves as you plant daffodils etc).
- Plant snowdrops in small groups.
Every other year or so lift the clump of snowdrops if it is congested and split it into sections or more if it is a large clump. Either replant them in small clumps separately or follow the planting information below.Then next year you will have more snowdrops in flower than this year.
The way to plant snowdrops from existing clumps is to dig up a clump of snowdrops after the flowers have faded. You can plant your snowdrops from clumps in your garden even after the leaves have died back.
- Shake of the soil from the clump of snowdrops
- Gently separate the bulbs/bulblets
- Now replant the bulbs leaving a gap of a few inches or so. You need to plant them about 4-6 inches deep (10-15cm).
The freshly planted snowdrops will benefit from a bit of compost or leaf mould.
Planting snowdrops when purchased in 'the green' you can still follow the above planting information for your snowdrops.
Buying or planting snowdrops 'in the green' is better than buying dry bulbs as you have more chance of having success growing them.
What can be planted near to snowdrops to flower early in the year?
Snowdrops bloom very early in the year so if you wish for a splash of colour near them you options of what to plant close by are limited but it is worth considering winter aconites whose bright yellow blooms tend to put in an early appearance in the garden.
List of some of the varieties of Snowdrops available to grow in the U.K.
- There are one hundred and fifty cultivars of snowdrop listed in the RHS Plant Finder (RHS is the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK).
The list of snowdrop cultivars continues to grow as new ones are identified.
Snowdrops range from the humble plain white ones with their drooping heads (still my favourites) to the more fancy elaborate varieties with double blooms and flashes of green adorning the white petals.
Your snowdrop planting choice will probably be made by what is available when you want to buy them and will also depend on where you wish to plant them and what other plants are in the area around them.
Here is a list of the names of some snowdrops it includes some of the more 'fancy varieties' of snowdrop.
- Galanthus. 'John Gray' this is a very pretty one as the small amount of green on the bloom looks like an upside down heart-shape. Its flowers are predominantly white with just a 'smidgen'. of green. This one is a traditional snowdrop shape unlike some of the other snowdrops.
- Also a traditional snowdrop flower shape is this Galanthus nivalis 'Sandersil'. Which has almost all white flowers with just a touch of yellowy/green and is dainty looking as traditional snowdrops are.
- Galanthus 'Wendy's Gold is also a snowdrop with yellowy toned markings.
- Galanthus nivalis ' Viridapice' another dainty looking bloom with the same 'green-heart' effect as G.' John Gray' it also has a small splash of green on the bottom of the petals.
- Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno' is a good one to naturalise. Delicate green markings on double flowers.
- Galanthus nivalis 'S. Arnott' a sweetly scented snowdrop that grows vigorously.
- Galanthus Desdemona. This produces the largest of any double snowdrop blooms. A vigorous snowdrop.
- Galanthus Atkinsii has elongated flowers. Vigorous in habit.
More snowdrop varieties:
- 'Bill Bishop' which has very long outer petals.
- 'Cordelia' a taller snowdrop once established this one is a double.
- 'Dionysus' a double.
- 'Brenda Troyle' this one has a scent.
- G.plicatus 'trym' has green markings on the white petals.
If you are looking for a large snowdrop try Galanthus Elwesii.
Some of these varieties may be difficult to find, but you could always look on the RHS web-site to discover if and when they are selling from there gardens.
Beth Chatto gardens might be worth trying too.
Snowdrops flowering in the garden
In Praise of the humble Snowdrop.
As the first snowdrops of the year appear in my garden they remind me to look forwards to the coming of springtime.
A flower that braves early March winds, only one will do.
Planted while still in the green and never in straight rows.
She is the queen of February, as my little snowdrop grows.
* The photographs and words on this and my other creative belong to me and therefore they may not be used in anyway without my permission.
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