Caring for snowdrops

Snowdrops are classics in the garden, used to be found wild in nature and are considered the epitome of the end of winter. With their characteristic flowers, the bulbous plants defy the cold and even snow can hardly harm them. The bulbs can remain in the ground all year round and only over the years do large groups form, which effectively delight for weeks. The botanical name Galanthus comes from the Greek: «gala» means milk and «anthos» means flower. The genus Galanthus belongs to the amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae) and there are around 20 different species.

Useful information Location Planting Planting Watering Fertilizing Species Pests & Diseases FAQ

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Botanical name: Galanthus nivalis
Other names: native snowdrop, common snowdrop, small snowdrop, snowdrop flower
Use: bedding plant, rock garden, for naturalizing, for pots, nectar plant, cemetery plant, short-term as a houseplant
Origin: Europe, Near East
Planting period: from the end of August to December (as long as the ground is not frozen)
Flowering period: January to March depending on climatic conditions
Flower colour: white, white with green
Special features:Already under the melting snow, the first green leaves appear in the garden, and with increasing warmth, the stalks with the buds. An important food source for many bees and insects, as few other plants are in bloom at the time. As a special feature, there are varieties with fragrant flowers. It is important to know that the plants are described as poisonous.

In which location do snowdrops feel most comfortable?

Galanthus are bulbous plants that are extremely easy to care for. They do best in a partially shaded spot in the garden. A spot with well-drained, humus -rich soil and even moisture is ideal. The flowering period is shortened in sunny locations, so partial shade is ideal. It is important that snowdrop bulbs never have standing water, because they can quickly rot. If the subsoil is too sandy, the flower bulbs get too little water and root formation is inhibited. It is therefore important that you improve the bed accordingly with good quality potting soil (pH 6.5 to 7) before planting and for aensure good drainage. Galanthus are predestined as underplanting for trees or as spring bloomers in the lawn for naturalising. Snowdrops can also be used for pots and troughs. In the short term, the harbingers of spring are also suitable as decorations in the house, which can later be planted out in the bed for many years.

How do I plant my Galanthus bulbs in the garden?

Like all spring flowers, Galanthus are planted in late summer and autumn. With all flower bulbs that are planted in autumn, it is important that they are planted in good time so that the storage organs can form roots before winter. The main planting season is September to November. Specimens planted early are well rooted and get through the winter best. The storage organs are well hardy and need to be outdoors in winter.

Planting of Galanthus:

  • Loosen the soil well and remove all weeds.
  • Dig a planting hole.
  • Put good quality potting soil in the planting hole.
  • With organic flower bulb power you can activate and support soil activity. Put this activator in the planting hole before planting or sprinkle it on the surface and work it in.
  • Now the bulbs are placed in the planting hole with the tip pointing upwards.
  • Cover the storage organs loosely with the humus-rich garden soil.
  • Watering after planting is recommended .
  • You can also use special plant baskets to protect against being eaten by mice and voles.

Pro tip: plant in groups for best results. Always plant groups of 10 to 15 Galanthus in one spot. The small bulbs are about 7 to 10 cm deep in the ground.

Plant advanced onion flowers

Pots of Galanthus will be commercially available from the beginning of January. These are ideal for window boxes, baskets, terracotta pots or for borders. Pots and tubs with early bloomers give a glimpse of spring and beautify terraces, balconies and house entrances quickly and easily.

How do I water my Galanthus correctly?

Snowdrops are easy-care and hardy plants, but waterlogging is not tolerated. Therefore, watering flower bulbs is only necessary in very dry places. Snow or precipitation is sufficient on humus-rich and nutrient-rich soils. Specimens in the pot are only poured carefully and protected from too much rain, especially in winter, because waterlogging damages the plants.

How do I fertilize my Galanthus nivalis?

Spring bloomers that are planted in fall and delight in spring tend to thrive in the same spot for many years. Fertilization is necessary to ensure that the flowering plants remain strong in growth and lush in bloom. Start fertilizing as soon as the leaves have grown about a hand ‘s breadth. Organic flower bulb power or perennial fertilizer is ideal for this. It is important that you only fertilize until the beginning of flowering, because after flowering the storage organ for summer rest matures and the fertilizer is no longer absorbed.

What types and varieties are there of snowdrops?

Galanthus nivalis is the most common and common species used for garden plantings. Within a few years, large clumps form and the variety becomes wild. Onion areas that are too large can simply be divided. To do this , dig up the Galanthus nivalis in April and plant it again in the desired location. Breeding and selection resulted in a large number of varieties that differ in growth height, flowering time and flower shape. There are varieties that have a green spot or a green marking on the white background. The demands on the location and the care are identical for all. The common varieties are as follows:

Large-flowered snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii var.)

  • Height: 15 to 20 cm high
  • Foliage: Leaves slightly broader than the common species
  • Flowering: about 1 week earlier than Galanthus nivalis
  • Flower Shape: The outer petals are elongated and pointed.

Double snowdrop ( Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ )

  • Height: 15cm
  • Foliage: grey-green
  • Flower: double-flowering species with a scent
  • Flower shape: The inner petals are green striped and dense.

Voronov snowdrop ( Galanthus woronowii )

  • Height: 20cm
  • Foliage: fresh green foliage
  • Flowering: about 1 to 2 weeks earlier than Galanthus nivalis.
  • Flower shape: The inner petals bear a green mark.

Trivia fact: Spring Snowflake (Leucojum vernum) looks similar to Galanthus but is a different species.

diseases and pests

Galanthus are hardy and not susceptible to pests and diseases. Problems can arise from a location that is too damp and incorrect care. If the early bloomer does not feel comfortable in one place, the budding may be weak or the hardy plant will not bloom.

FAQ-Frequently Asked Questions

Can Galanthus be placed in the room as potted plants?

In the short term, it is possible for blooming snowdrops to stand in the room as decoration. It is important that the room temperature is not too high, otherwise the splendor will soon be over. A bright location with temperatures around 15 °C is ideal. In sunny places in the apartment with temperatures above 20 ° C, a protruding flower can be compared to a bouquet in terms of durability.

After flowering, what happens to the pushed-up, withered flowers?

Do not cut back the plants and keep them light and frost free or plant them directly in the garden. You don’t have to throw away faded Galanthus! After flowering, the plant stores the nutrients and goes into the dormant phase. They will sprout again next spring.

How do I properly care for my Galanthus after flowering in summer and autumn?

It is important that you protect the green and leave it on the onion plant until it has yellowed and dried up. This process is essential for the flower bulb and influences the budding in the next spring. The bulbs can remain in the ground all year round. If necessary, just chop carefully and water in extremely dry phases.

Why do the leaves of onion plants turn yellow in early summer?

At the end of the growth phase, the onion plants withdraw the nutrients contained in the leaves. As a result, they turn yellow and wither. However, the bulbs store the reserves and are ready for a new shoot next spring. It is important that the leaves are only removed when they are completely dry and can be easily pulled out of the ground. This is the only way for the storage organs to have enough strength for the next year’s budding.

How does Galanthus reproduce?

Galanthus also develops buds for small daughter bulbs on the bulb base between the leaves. Initially, only thin, individual leaves form, which come to the surface close to the mother bulb. After 2-3 years, the daughter bulbs grow larger and detach from the mother bulb. Now it is possible to multiply the bulbs and put them in a new location. To do this, take the bulbs out of the ground in late summer, separate them and replant them. If you leave the flower stalks on the plant, seeds will form by early summer. This seed can be used for propagation. However, it is quicker and safer to propagate the amaryllis with daughter bulbs.

What other plants are suitable in combination with Galanthus?

Well suited for a semi-shady to shady location are crocuses and winterlings. Both species delight with a long flowering period and, like Galanthus, go natural under optimal conditions.

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