Lifting and Dividing Snowdrops
Increase your stock of these delightful winter bulbs by lifting and dividing them now.
One of the delights of the winter season is to see drifts of snowdrops as far as the eye can see amongst native woodland. If you have snowdrops in your garden, now is the best time to increase your stock by lifting and dividing the clumps.
These graceful, beautiful bulbs are the first of the bulbs to flower in the new year.
Native throughout much of Europe, they are excellent for naturalising in grass and are very useful for planting beneath mature trees.
Snowdrops belong in the family Amaryllidaceae. The common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is considered to be as impressive as any of the other species or cultivars.
There are approx. 20 species of snowdrop and many cultivars, they are all best propagated by division because they do not necessarily come true from seed.
Once planted, snowdrops can be left to establish for a period of 4-5 years before they become congested and overcrowded. They then need lifting and dividing to maintain vigour. The clumps can be lifted and split with a garden fork.
This process is best done at the end of the flowering period when the bulbs are still ‘in the green’ when the leaf tips are just beginning to turn yellow. Carefully separate the clump by hand using your fingers to prise apart the bulbs. Try not to damage the roots. Replant single bulbs, or if you want larger clumps to establish again more quickly plant in groups of 3 or 5. Replant at approx. 2-3 inches deep.
Best flowering is in semi-shade and of course that is possible in the winter months when deciduous woodland light levels are only partially restricted before the new foliage unfurls.
The best soil for growing snowdrops in is moist but well drained. In their natural habitat of deciduous woodland the annual deposit of fallen leaves helps to maintain both drainage and moisture retention.
So if you want more snowdrops next winter, now is the time to increase your stock.