Snowdrops are one of many plants that can be found in forests in the UK during the winter months of January and February. Species that can be found include snowdrops and daffodils. Both these are bulbs which spring in February to March time and make fields and forests look beautiful. There are several varieties that can be found in the UK. Snowdrops often grow around the base of trees.
Snowdrops are commonly found in UK forests that have evergreen trees such as pine. Evergreen trees are green needle trees and each needle is actually an individual leaf.
The official name for a snowdrop is galanthus. Galanthus literally translates in Greek to milk (gala) flower(anthus). Snowdrops are grown for their beautiful white flower pendant and one flower is on each stem between two basal leaves. The snowdrop is recognised by its three large outer petals and three small inner petals that makeup the complete pendant-esque flower. Snowdrops need to be kept cool and ideally in a shaded position, which is one of the reasons why they tend to grow around the base of trees. Snowdrops are resistant to frost. A light distribution of snow or ground frost will not necessarily kill them. If sunlight is strong and the weather is dry you must water snowdrops and try to keep them shaded using a parasol or other suitable apparatus or equipment to keep them well protected. Snowdrops do not survive very well in dry and warm conditions.
When to Plant Snowdrops
Snowdrop bulbs should be planted in the late autumn. Expect the bulbs to germinate and begin to flower in late winter to early spring. Anything from the first week of February is quite usual to see flowering snowdrops, sometimes at the end of January in milder than average winters. Snowdrops like many other plants are toxic and therefore should not be eaten. There are various types of snowdrop each with their own distinguishing features. The galanthus is part of the family amaryllidaceae.
Height of a Snowdrop
The height of a snowdrop tends to be up to 10cm, but many plants are often shorter. Some snowdrops are miniature and others tend to grow higher, the taller plants often in the most shaded of conditions. The height depends on variety too. See our additional articles on specific galanthus varieties. Each type of snowdrop will allow the flower to grow individually or in clusters as can be seen in the photographs.
Don’t forget to check out other articles about bulbs on aboutplants.com.
Bulbs are available at many garden centres. There are many plants which you can buy in late winter to early spring which look very beautiful along the borders of any garden.