Galanthus nivalis 'Flore pleno'

John Grimshaw
Tue, 06 May 2008 22:30:22 PDT
It's fascinating to read about members' experiences  with the common double 
snowdrop. This is an extremely interesting plant: the oldest known snowdrop 
cultivar (first recorded 1703); male fertile, female infertile; incredibly 
vigorous; prone to variation, and a damn good garden plant, even if 
galanthophiles are snooty about it.

In the UK it is a fast-multiplying plant, soon forming fat clumps whose 
uppermost bulbs become detached and become scattered, effectively spreading 
it around. There are whole woodlands full of it and no other snowdrop - 
remarkable for a plant that cannot set seed.

In poor soil, however, it can multiply to the point where it becomes too 
congested & starved to flower, and will need to be replanted deeper. I think 
that this is important. Snowdrops are greedy feeders, and need good 
nourishment and ample moisture during their growing season (AUGUST to May!) 
to keep them at their best. They should not die down too soon, so deep 
planting helps keep their roots where the soil remains moist longest. 
Shading by other plants also has a detrimental effect on leaf-longevity, and 
hence bulb size and next year's flowering.

The Greatorex Doubles, hybrids of G. plicatus pollinated by 'Flore Pleno' 
are, as Jim McKenney pointed out, apt to become very congested and produce 
few flowers. Again, they like good fertile conditions to do well.

I shall be spending the day marking hundreds of clumps of snowdrops for 
lifting once they're dormant, and probably moving a few around. The bulbs 
are now mature enough to withstand the move without any loss of flower 
quality next year, but the whole operation is so much easier if they're left 
a few weeks longer and you can deal with a nice dry clump.

John Grimshaw

Dr John M. Grimshaw
Sycamore Cottage
Nr Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL53 9NP

Tel. 01242 870567

More information about the pbs mailing list