Galanthus

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Countries: Europe, Turkey

Snowdrops (also known by their botanical name: Galanthus) are delightful, perennial, bulbous plants, which originate from Italy, Turkey, the French Pyrenees, and other places in Europe and the Middle East.  It’s hard to say for certain just where any species of snowdrop first appeared, as snowdrops have been grown, bought and exchanged for such a long period of time.  These dear little plants are so charming; snowdrops have found their way into so many people’s hearts.

Traditionally snowdrops are thought of as a white and green flowered plant, but soft yellow, pale orange, and the palest of pink cultivars have been reselected over the years to create plants with more intense colourings.

A woodland plant, snowdrops positively thrive in light and dappled shade and flourish growing beneath deciduous trees.  Galanthus decline in peat-based composts; these dear little plants thrive in peat-free composts and garden soils, and they love leaf-mould!  Plant in any moist, but well-drained soil.  Allow snowdrop leaves to die back naturally, as their leaves nourish the bulb and give it the power to flower the following year.  Don’t be tempted to remove snowdrop leaves, your plants need them!

Snowdrops are often thought of as a winter flower that appears in January or February, but in fact snowdrops can flower from August to April, depending on the species or cultivar grown, and the weather and growing conditions the plants experience.

Snowdrop bulbs can be lifted and planted in the dormant season, from late summer to early autumn.  In the UK, the dormant snowdrop season tends to begin in July or August and ends in September or October.  Plant dormant snowdrop bulbs as soon as possible, as these small bulbs soon dry out and become desiccated; if the bulbs dry out too much they’ll die.  When purchasing dormant snowdrop bulbs, look for firm, plump bulbs and avoid soft or withered specimens.

Snowdrops can also be purchased as plants available ‘in the green’.  These snowdrops tend to become available from November or December through until March.  If you’re interested in buying snowdrops as dormant bulbs or plants sold ‘in the green’, check out my list of snowdrop nurseries and suppliers.

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