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Top tips for growing snowdrops in your own garden

Written by
Jack LindfieldHead Gardener, Ickworth, National Trust
A close-up of snowdrops at Ickworth in Suffolk
Snowdrops at Ickworth in spring | © National Trust Images /Justin Minns

Discover some top tips for growing common snowdrops in your outdoor space. Find out when, where and how to plant your snowdrops to end up with your own carpet of white flowers every spring.

Choose a suitable species
There are so many beautiful species of snowdrop to choose from, but if you're hoping to create an impressive swathe in your own garden, you can’t beat Galanthus nivalis. It's the most common species because it self-seeds and spreads very quickly, which means you’ll get to enjoy your snowy white display sooner.
Buy them 'in the green'
Always buy pots of snowdrops ‘in the green’. They will have finished flowering but the leaves are still green and intact. This could be any time from mid-January to early March, so keep an eye out at your local garden centre or National Trust plant shop.
Plant them out as soon as possible
Once you get your flowers home, plant them out as soon as possible. The best location is somewhere with partial shade (such as under a tree) and with moist but well-drained soil. It’s worth adding some leafmould or garden compost to the soil to ensure you’re giving the plants plenty of nutrients.
Plant them at the same depth
Plant them at the same depth as they were previously grown – you can often see this where the leaf stalks change from white to green. If you can’t see the level clearly, then just plant the snowdrops around four inches deep. If you bought multiple clumps, space them about six inches apart.
Water them as soon as they're planted
Water the plants in, and then you can leave them alone. The foliage will die back and become food for the bulb, ready for next year’s display. Within a couple of years each clump will grow to fill the gaps you leave.
Divide and spread large clumps
As the years go by, you can help your snowdrops to spread by lifting and dividing any large clumps. Carefully dig up the clump and prize it apart with your hands into smaller chunks. Discard any diseased or dead bulbs and then re-plant each new group six inches apart. Over time you’ll end up with a beautiful carpet of white flowers every spring.
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