GALANTHUS – snowdrop

The delicate white flowers of the snowdrop bring life to the garden in late winter or early spring. These bulb-grown plants do well in partially shaded, cool parts of the garden such as under trees.

Suitable site and soil. Plant in shaded areas of woodland or grass in an area where there is plenty of humus and the soil is moist.

Cultivation and care. Plant bulbs 5-8cm – 2-3in deep and 8-15cm – 3-6in apart in late summer – early autumn. Once they have got a hold, very little care is needed but watch out for infestation by pests.

Propagation Split clusters of bulbs in early spring after flowering or in early autumn. Alternatively, sow seeds from autumn to spring in pots and keep moist and in the shade.

Recommended varieties. G. nivalis (common snowdrop) does very well growing to about 15cm – 6in high with a spread of 8cm – 3in. The flowers are up to 2.5cm – 1 inch long and the inner petals have green at their tips. G. n. ‘Flore Pleno’ is a good double variety and G. n. ‘Lutescens’ is a pretty flower with yellow markings at the top of each white bloom.

Pests and diseases. Can be attacked by eelworms and also by narcissus flies. Symptoms of the former are loss of colour, then rot followed by death and of the latter the death of the growing tips. In both cases the bulbs must be dug up and burnt along with any foliage. Grey mould might also be a problem; symptoms are die back and fungal growth.


Plant groups of snowdrops bulbs on a grassy bank that can be seen from within the house. Best sites are at the edge of a wooded area for a beautiful display in winter.

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