Snowdrop (Galanthus) – forest flower

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Plant type: bulbous.

Description: This group consists of early flowering perennial bulbous plants. The snowdrop is a forest flower and has been found wild in the wooded areas of Turkey and Europe. These graceful flowers can often be seen peeking out of the snow cover to bloom in late winter or early spring. There are different types, and each of them differs in the shape and size of leaves, flowers or the whole plant, for example, one of the smallest species is the narrow-leaved snowdrop.

  • Snowdrop homeland: south of Europe, Asia Minor.
  • Growing environment: garden, containers, greenhouse, home conditions.
  • Care: special care required.
  • Lighting: partial shade.
  • Humidity level: moderate.
  • Growth rate: average.

Foliage: On snowdrops, a cluster of thin green leaves 15 to 30 cm high forms. Each species has a variety of foliage; the widest has the same name – broad-leaved snowdrop.

Snowdrop flower in a big photo

Flowering: present. Hanging flowers in the form of bells, each of which grows on a thin single stem. For example, a snow-white species forms 2-centimeter flowers on stems 15 cm high. The Caucasian snowdrop is famous for its long flowers, the height of which reaches 25 cm.

Temperatures: Snowdrops prefer wet, cold, forested conditions, where winter temperatures are around -6°C but not below -34°C. There are some species that grow in dry sunny regions and are adapted to these conditions, but most originate from wet alpine meadows.

Soil Type: Preferably cool, moist soil. The composition of the soil should contain equal parts loam, compost, peat and sand.

Fertilization: Water the plants with a water-soluble fertilizer to provide the bulbs with minerals in autumn and winter, as the roots and the plant itself develop intensively at this time. The bulbs will sprout even without top dressing, but when they are applied, the flowers will be more voluminous, beautiful, and the flowering time will be much longer.

Planting: plant snowdrop bulbs 7-10 cm deep and 5-7 cm apart. They look best when planted together in at least 3-4 units. After planting, water well, completely soaking the soil. Most bulbs will begin to take root in just one to two weeks, but you will not notice any changes above the soil surface until late winter or early spring. After sprouting, snowdrops form compact, attractive clusters. When planting in containers, fill in well-drained soil of good quality. Almost any pot will work. Make sure the container has holes for drainage, as the bulbs should never be in flooded soil. Place the containers in partial shade (with the exception of Elwez snowdrops, which require sunlight).

Reproduction: The group of flowers can be divided as soon as the foliage begins to turn yellow in spring. Each division should contain about five bulbs. Replant immediately after dividing.

Diseases and pests

The main enemy of snowdrops is weeds. They deprive your plants of water, nutrients and light. Moreover, pests and various diseases are collected among them. Before planting the flowers, remove weeds either by hand or by using a herbicide (a drug that inhibits plant growth) according to package directions. Another method to eliminate grass and weeds is to lay polyethylene over the future growing area for several months. You can also apply an herbicide right before planting, but make sure it doesn’t negatively affect the snowdrops.

Mulch plants with 7 cm of straw, shredded bark or compost. Mulching retains moisture and also prevents weeds from growing.

Of the diseases, mold raids of fungi can occasionally be found. Similar infection can be found on the surface of the leaves. The food for this mold is honeydew secreted by plant aphids, mealybugs or scale insects. Although not such a serious problem, the disease gives the plant an unhealthy appearance by covering its leaves and stems. To eliminate the possibility of infection, first of all, you need to avoid the presence of insects that can cause honeydew. Mold deposits are usually removed with a damp cloth.

Application: The snowdrop flower, which is very popular among the population due to its beauty and originality, is mainly used for cutting, as well as for decorative purposes.

Extra: When the flowering season ends, snowdrops need to accumulate as many nutrients as possible until next year. Do not interfere with the process of photosynthesis (obtaining nutrients from sunlight), the foliage should turn yellow and fade on its own. Cutting back the still green foliage will reduce the plant’s ability to nurture next year’s blooms, resulting in reduced flowers both in size and number. You should also keep in mind that some parts of snowdrops can be toxic to pets.

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