Snowdrop division: The patient gardener is rewarded

– Posted in: Snowdrops

Snowdrops line the path to the Secret GardenGood things come to those who wait. At least ten years ago, I planted the first of these snowdrops lining the path to the Secret Garden. You will have to click on the photo to enlarge it in order to see them, because they are the ones way in the back, on the far side of the footbridge, looking no more than a white blob from this distance. They are the same snowdrops that you see in every header image, because they have been nice, substantial clumps for at least as long as we’ve owned a digital camera.

Since they were given to me by a friend, who had dug them from a field adjoining her property, I really don’t know which species of Galanthus they are. But based on Don’s description, my best guess is that they are Galanthus nivalis. It is quite wet along this path at the moment, and these snowdrops multiply rapidly.

Case in point: all of the snowdrops you see here came from the original ones way in the back. And just as I planted the very first ones, so I planted them all: digging them up and dividing them right after they bloom, and then replanting them, singly, about six inches apart. Every place where there is now a clump of snowdrops, there was once a solitary blossom, scarcely visible against the dormant, soggy grass.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

When dealing with frost it is always best to be paranoid. In the spring never think it is too late for one more frost to come. And in the fall never think it too early.

~Rundy in Frost

Comments on this entry are closed.

Gretchen March 16, 2010, 12:19 am

Well here in the Hudson Valley, as I watch the Juncos and Chickadees taking mud baths in the sizable puddles forming out back, I wonder where the heck are the snowbells here? I believe they were up this time by last year. And the Crocus. Perhaps our dismal weather as of late is keeping them at bay.
.-= Gretchen´s last blog ..Organic Vegetable Garden – Growing Organic Vegetables the Easy Way =-.

Don March 28, 2007, 7:10 pm

Kathy… it does look like they are nivalis; a single green mark on each inner petal, small plant and flower, narrow dark green leaves which are applanate.

Oldroses March 28, 2007, 5:55 pm

They’re beautiful! Now if I could just find a spot in my yard where snowdrops like to grow, I’ll know how to “help” them spread.

Carol March 28, 2007, 4:35 pm

I am happy to hear that you are finally seeing some flowers blooming!

Colleen March 28, 2007, 1:40 pm

I had the same “lightbulb moment” as entangled did when I read this. Your snowdrops look so natural, one would never guess that they had a little help 🙂

Annie in Austin March 28, 2007, 9:20 am

What a lovely floral guide for your path, Kathy! The snowdrops in my IL garden were in clumps, but I sort of did the same thing as you advise, while the leaves were still up, I’d split up an established clump and start new ones.

You are so right – new dry bulbs took a long time to get going, but moving them in late spring gave much better results.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

entangled March 28, 2007, 4:31 am

Aha, I just had a light bulb moment reading this. Instead of waiting for the snowdrops to magically naturalize, I should actually practice horticulture and divide them. I’m always reluctant, though, to mess with the ones that are happy where they are. If it ain’t broke and all that.

The County Clerk March 27, 2007, 11:23 pm


you know, a wonderful thing about plants and gardens is the combination of instant gratification (just watching them) and long term rewards. Just think what a few more years will hold.

thanks for putting this up!