So how well do snowdrops do in clay?
Fri, 22 Jan 2010 11:29:19 PST
On 21 Jan 2010, at 22:54, wrote:

> Do  snowdrops of any variety have a chance here in the midwest clay?  
> I'm zone 5B here in Terre Haute, Indiana.

I can't answer the implied questions about being in the midwest and in zone 5B, 
but I can tell you that clay is an excellent soil to grow many bulbs in, 
including snowdrops. It holds nutrients very well by adsorption (not 
absorption), which helps bulbs grow well.

An exception is lateritic clay, such as is found in the Oregon Coast Range and 
the Amazon basin. Because of structural differences at the molecular level, 
lateritic clays do no adsorb nutrients very well at all. 

It's a common misapprehension to think that "bulbs require summer-dry soil" 
means "bulbs like sandy soils." While some bulbs do, indeed, like sandy soils, 
most bulbs are very heavy feeders and prefer a fairly heavy soil. As long as 
it's dry, sunnym, and fairly warm in the summer, most of the time clay is a far 
better soil for bulbs than sand.

It should be obvious that bulbs are heavy feeders: how else do they manage to 
build up the fleshy storage organs that characterize them?

Another myth is that bulbs should be overplanted with ground covers. This may 
work for the more vigorous bulbs, but groundcovers shade the soil and may 
prevent it from warming up enough to initiate flower bud formation.

Snowdrops in particular generally like a situation that is fairly damp, even 
wet, in winter.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island…

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