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During this time of year, you’ll often hear the expression “snowdrops in the green”. Snowdrops marketed as “in the green” are just those that are in leaf when they are harvested, which is usually around February. It’s an excellent method for rapidly and affordably establishing large drifts of these gorgeous bulbs.
Snowdrops, as well as a few other bulbs such as winter aconites and bluebells, thrive better when planted in their green state, as opposed to most bulbs, which grow best when planted in their dry and dormant stage.
Their bulbs dry up too quickly if they’re removed, stored, and planted in the fall, so planting them when they’re in leaf produces better results than planting them in the spring. Snowdrops in green are available from a variety of sources, and the more you purchase, the better the price often is.
In late winter and early spring, most nurseries will offer snowdrops in green in quantities of 50 or 100, allowing you to plant a large area that will quickly get established and cluster together to provide you with those drifts of white that seem so immaculate and wonderful.
In most cases, the’simple’ variety of snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, is used for planting in the green, rather than any of the fancy, costly, distinctively marked or patterned variants that may command high prices.
There are several green bulb suppliers who also carry G. nivalis ‘Flore Pleno,’ a double-flowered variety of the species that truly stands out, blooming a few weeks earlier than its single-flowered counterpart.Try Gee Tee Bulbs or Boston Bulbs, to name a few of the options available online.
What is the Best Way to Grow Snowdrops in the Green?
Snowdrops in the green are sent in a bundle that may be separated into individual plants before being planted in the ground, if desired. You should avoid delaying planting since they are in danger of drying out from the time they are lifted to be sent to you.
It is better to plant them as soon as possible, and ideally within 72 hours of their arrival. In the interim, spray the roots with water to keep them wet if they seem to be drying out.
Check that the soil in the planting area is in excellent condition—add some homemade compost or leafmould if necessary. Installing each bulb individually and burying them to the point on their leaves and stems where the white section becomes green may be a good indication of how deep they were previously buried. This can be done in stages.
The solitary bulbs scattered out may seem sparse at first, but they will gradually bulk up and form clusters of their own, resulting in natural-looking drifts of flowers.
After they’ve established themselves, lift and split each cluster to disperse your snowdrops throughout the garden.
Snowdrops: How to Care for Them
Once snowdrops have established themselves, there is no need to maintain them. Leave them alone if you can. Allocate time for foliage to die back naturally in order to guarantee that nutrients from the leaves are transferred back to the bulbs. Every couple of years, divide existing clumps.
Snowdrops may be propagated by lifting, splitting, and replacing them. After blooming in March or April, established clumps may be uprooted and split to create new ones. With a hand fork, delicately remove the bulb (while leaving the roots in situ) and the foliage in its original location.
Immediate replanting in the garden is recommended. It’s important to get enough water. Never mind if the foliage seems to be in poor condition now; by next winter it should be robust and vigorous.
The time of year when you plant new bulbs in the fall will be when squirrels and mice will be looking for food. They may dig up your freshly planted bulbs, so don’t be shocked if this happens. Construct a wooden frame with chicken wire in the center to deter squirrels from feeding on your plants.
In order to enable the bulbs to establish themselves, you need to place a wire frame over the soil where they were originally planted. Once the bulbs begin to show symptoms of leaf development, they should be removed.