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Snowdrop bulbs

I've got some snowdrop bulbs I picked up today for £1, thought it was worth a go at that cost, but was wondering what the best way to plant them was.  Should I soak them before planting?  They're tiny little bulbs, will 10cm be too deep?  Should I even bother buying more snowdrop bulbs, or just wait until I can get them in the green?  

I'm really keen to get some winter interest into the shady border, as once the Hostas have died back it tends to look a bit dull.  I was thinking Snowdrops, cyclamen, winter aconites.  There are a few heucheras and tiny little hellebore plants already in the bed, along with some primroses and primulas.  With the cyclamen and winter aconites should I buy bulbs, or just go straight for the plants later on in the year?  Winter flowering plants are new to me, so I have no idea how hard they are to grow from bulbs.  Any suggestions for other winter flowering plants will be very gratefully received too!

Thank you!


  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,212

    Soak the Snowdrops in water with a little fungicide in it (if you have any) and plant in pots rather than in the ground. That way you at least will know if they are growing.

    Sadly all the Aconites on sale as bulbs are functionally dead. Buy them in the green or find someone with a patch who can let you have some freshly dug bulbs.

    The cyclamen on sale as dried tubers are often difficult to get going. I would go for plants myself.

    Pity you do not live near me, you could help yourself to all the above with pleasure.

    Last edited: 15 August 2016 16:13:52

  • lilysillylilysilly Posts: 511

    I tried snowdrop bulbs once , sadly not one made it. This spring l bought some little double snowdrops that were still in flower but reduced very cheaply so I'm hoping to get some flowers next year. So good luck with yours l expect l was unlucky and pests got mine. I've just bought some little blue wood anemone corms to try for the first time under some shrubs. I've had success with some large blue /purple crocuses, they've flowered for a few years now. I love those little irises but l have to treat them as annuals as they divide themselves too much to flower again, but at least they aren't very expensive.

  • I found buying snowdrops in the green to be much cheaper than the little dry ones they sell in the autumn. ebay is full of people selling them. Gardening magazine also have people in the classified sections selling them as well. Its a shame it tends to be after they have flowered for the year.

    Just hope mine were not swiped from some grand estate :P

  • Thank you for the advice everyone, it's very much appreciated. I'll get the snowdrops and aconites in the green, and see if anything comes of the bulbs I have. I've got a few cyclamen plants and will buy some more rather than bother with the tubers. I'll have to try Irises and crocuses again, the squirrel stole all the bulbs last time! 

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,462

    You really need Cylamen coum and C. Hederifolium, which flower spring and autumn respectively. The ones you see most often on sale in flower are usually C. Persicum which is less hardy. OK if you live somewhere or can grow them somewhere that doesn't get frosted.

    If you want things that naturalise try the little species crocus Tommasinianus. It will happily seed itself around and though the seeds may pop up somewhere unexpected they are easy to move to where you actually want themimage

    I've had success with cyclamen corms from Peter Nyssen (there are other reputable nurseries too!) it depends on freshness and proper storage.

    Erythroniums are pretty too, the yellow ones are the cheapest. It might be worthwhile getting some chicken wire to keep those critters off!

  • Thank you, this is all really helpful. 

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