We sell “snowdrops in the green” in bags of 100 bulbs like this in January and February. There is sometimes confusion about what this means and why you would plant them in this form so hopefully this blog will clarify some of the questions.
What does “in the green” mean?
Unlike the bulbs that people buy in the autumn, “In the green” means that bulbs have been lifted in the spring. They already have roots, shoots, leaves and sometimes flowers.
Why plant snowdrops “in the green”?
Snowdrops (and several other woodland natural bulbs such as bluebells and aconites) do not like to be dry. A bulb in autumn is brown and dry. By using freshly dug plants they do not dry out and have a better success rate. It is also a cheaper way of buying bulbs in bulk. A pot of four or five bulbs can cost between £2 and £4 while 100 in the green bulbs can retail at about £19.
How do you plant snowdrops “in the green”?
Plant the bulbs straight away so that they do not dry out. You are best to plant a few in each clump. The bulb itself will probably be about 5cm deep. The best way to know how deep each plant should be is to observe the stem. You will find that the lower level of the stem that comes out from the bulb is softer and often it is white. Use that as a guide. The white, soft part of the plant is what would originally have been underground so dig the hole to accommodate that depth. Fill the ground back into the hole and around the snowdrops. Press down gently.
Where to plant snowdrops
Snowdrops are woodland plants, so they grow well under trees and beside hedges. They especially like the dappled shade that these give, and this makes sure that they do not dry out in summer.
When will snowdrops “in the green” flower?
It might be that the snowdrops will already have flowered (like in the photo) so do not expect them to flower again this year. They should settle into the ground this year and the leaves will die back as the months warm up. Do not worry. They will be conserving energy ready to come into flower again early next spring. Over a few years, if they are in the right location they should gradually multiply and you may, one day, find that you are able to lift and divide your own bulbs in the green to plant again somewhere else.
If you have enjoyed this blog, you may wish to read about the history and folklore of snowdrops on Ruth Goudy – The Flower Writer’s website.
NOTE: Please do not dig wildflowers from their natural habitat. It is illegal. Make sure that your bulbs are from a trusted source.