Growing Good Snowdrops

If snowdrop leaves are showing can the delicate white flowers be far behind?


Snowdrops for me signify the end of Winter rather than the coming of Spring. Tucked under this hedge row the snowdrop is left to multiply naturally by seed and by division.

Tips for Growing Snowdrops

  • Transplant snowdrops as soon as they finish flowering and have visible leaves. This is when they are ‘in the green’ and is the safest time to plant snowdrops. Many bulb suppliers sell them in the green.
  • The small bulbs are prone to dry out and these dry bulbs do not grow on as successfully as snowdrops in the green.
  • The Galanthus family of small waxy white flowers have a green V or horseshoe marking on the inner petals and flowers pay close inspection.
  • There are several varieties of snowdrop and you may want to have a range of them. After the single variety Galanthus nivalis you may want a double Flore Pleno or the rare and more expensive double Hyppolyta.
  • Elwesii, S Arnott, Ikaraie, Atkinsii and Viridapice species are also currently available ‘in the green.’
  • According to The Scotsman ‘Some snowdrop enthusiasts, known as galanthophiles, will pay big money for a single, rare bulb. A lorryload of snowdrop bulbs, valued at £60,000, was seized in Fife in 2003.’


Snowdrops are officially called Galanthus. This snowdrop is Galanthus elwessii with larger than normal blooms and a honey scent the other main species are Nivalis and Plicatus. The snowdrop is very hardy, grows in most soils and prefers partial shade.

Selected Snowdrop Varieties

  • Other AGM snowdrops include Galanthus nivalis and the double flowered version pleniflorus ‘Flora Pleno.’
  • For late flowering Galanthus there is a bell shaped flower Diggory or David Shakelton, Ikariae or Hill Poe
  • One of the earliest flowering is called Atkinsii.
  • For double varieties there is Lady Elphinstone, Nivalis Flore Peno, Hill Poe and Mrs Thompson.
  • Reginae-olgae can prove tricky to cultivate and seems to appreciate a drier and sunnier spot than but it is autumn flowering
  • There are some 75 species of snowdrop and many more cultivars and hybrids. Well worth making a collection of your favourites.

Snowdrop Cultivation

  • Snowdrop bulbs should not be allowed to dry out or they die.
  • Plant with green leaves shortly after flowering no later than mid summer as they go dormant.
  • You can do worse that scrounge off neighbors when they split clumps as snowdrops spread quite effectively.
  • Snowdrops do not come true to seed except species but you can propagate by twin scaling.
  • The process was originally developed for narcissus, but works well with galanthus producing 10-30 new bulbs from one old one.

Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus by M. Bishop

Top Snowdrop Sites

Waterperry Gardens Oxfordshire
RHS Wisley Surrey
Hopton Hall Derbyshire
East Lambrook Garden Somerset
Sherborne Gardens Somerset. Local gardens open for the National gardens Scheme
Brandy Mount House Garden Hampshire National collection of snowdrops
Easton Walled Garden & Little Ponton Hall Lincolnshire
Bennington Lordship Hertfordshire
Hodsock Priory Garden snowdrop display in February 2010
Angelsey Abbey.
Heale Garden
Welford Park Wiltshire
Painswick Rococo garden Gloucestershire
Cambo Estate Fife Snowdrop Spectacular 1st February – 15th March
See our favourite snowdrop locations in the top ten
For other sites in Scotland visit the Royal Botanic garden in Edinburgh or search the National Trust

Top Galanthus Photos


Snowdrop woods
Snowdrops at Harrogate Orchid Fair


Snowdrops at Oxford Botanic Gardens

One Response to Growing Good Snowdrops

  1. Melanthia February 23, 2009 at 16.03 #

    It seems I’m seeing so much more of these than in the past. I’m going to have to get some and file away your helpful tips for then. Thanks.

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