(Galanthus nivalis)


Snow drops are a particular spring favourite for Irish gardeners and there is no better sight than an array of snowdrops in your garden in late winter and early spring. Their nodding white bells mark the end of winter.

Be patient – snowdrops can take 2-4 years to become established and grow to flowering size.

Snowdrops are as hardy as they are beautiful and will sprout and blossom even through snow and frost, hence their name.

When should it be grown?

  • The best time to plant snowdrop bulbs is in the early autumn
  • Plant freshly lifted snowdrop plants in late spring, when they have stopped flowering but the leaves are still green.
  • Sow the snowdrop bulbs in groups of 10-25 in a hole 3-4 inches deep and 3 inches apart.
  • Add compost and mix the soil. Plant the snowdrops with the skinny nose looking up to the sky.
  • Snowdrops usually flower in January or February but they can bloom earlier than this and in a cold year may not flower until March.

Where should it be grown?

  • Any garden can accommodate snowdrops
  • When planting snowdrop bulbs, look for moist soil and shaded areas such as amongst shrubs and trees with plenty of organic matter.
  • Avoid areas that have dry soil or don’t have any shade.
  • Snowdrops take a year or two to become established and form impressive drifts.
  • They don’t need much looking after and are best left alone.

Dividing snowdrops

  • It’s a good idea to regularly divide your snowdrop clumps, ideally every second year. This will reduce the competition between plants so they grow better.
  • The best time to divide snowdrops is in early spring – just after the flowers have faded but the leaves are still green. Just lift each clump gently with a garden fork and use your hands to tease apart the individual plants. Transplant them to their new location as soon as possible. You may find seedlings starting to grow around the parent plant – you can transplant these as well.
  • Snowdrops are so easy to divide once they are established and they make great gifts

Are there any particular varieties that are most suitable in Ireland

  • Any type will grow well in Ireland. You will occasionally find them growing wild in Ireland but this is a rare sight.

Any other additional tips?

  • Allow snowdrop foliage to wither and die rather than to cut it.
  • Once planted snowdrops can be left alone and no amount of overcrowding affects them.
  • If you have squirrels in your garden, consider planting snowdrop plants rather than bulbs because they have a habit of digging them up.