Making more snowdrops.

The time has come to make more snowdrops by splitting some of those that I already have. I think everyone would agree that this clump is in serious need of splitting.

Splitting clumps

Too crowded

When clumps get quite large, it is best to split them as old bulbs in the centre are quite often just pushed further down into the soil which stops them from flowering because new bulbs are formed on top.

Hands on.

The only way to form the drifts of snowdrops that we see in the press or visiting country estates, is to actually dig up large clumps and pull them apart as gently as possible.

34 clumps

I usually split them into small clumps of 3 or 5 bulbs each. This one large clump was split into 34 smaller clumps.

Planted by cornus

These are now being planted round the cornus planted at the back of the bee and butterfly border in the front garden, by the drive, adding to the ones that were planted here a couple of years ago

Same depth as before

Try to plant the bulbs so that they are at the same depth that they were previously, covering all the white on the stem. Then stand back and leave them to get on with multiplying. In a few years a drift should be formed and before you know it, it will be time to split them again to make yet more snowdrops. These were a clump of the wild Galanthus nivalis, I now have to pluck up the courage to split some of my ” specials”!

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24 Responses to Making more snowdrops.

  1. Anna says:

    Now I have a few clumps too like that Pauline so will be joining you soon 🙂 I am away from home at the moment unexpectedly looking after a rather poorly mother. Hopefully back early next week and that will be one of the many jobs waiting in the wings. Fingers crossed for your specials.

    • Pauline says:

      So sorry to hear that your Mum is poorly Anna, I hope she will soon feel better. I’m rather worried because I have so many clumps that are looking as if they need splitting and so many other jobs to catch up on, it’s going to be a major operation, I will just have to do a few each day! Good luck with yours when you get home once more.

  2. Jacqueline Miller says:

    Thank you for the instruction on this, Pauline. I can see that I have a job ahead of me but it will be well worth it. Your photographs are very helpful as well as beautiful!

    • Pauline says:

      Lovely to hear from you Jackie, so glad if the photos help you. It really is worth it, believe me, some areas of the garden here are looking rather white at the moment, from years of splitting!

  3. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    Good luck splitting your specials! I’ve yet to build the courage to split the Nivalis… 🙂
    Mind you, I’m also yet to get any good clumps like yours which can be split.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Liz, hopefully the specials aren’t so congested as the G.nivalis are, so there shouldn’t be an awful tearing sound of roots being pulled apart!!

  4. Christina says:

    I’m a bit confused, did you split them before they flowered? Or am I perhaps misunderstanding the images and you split them when the flowers were finished. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      Let’s just say Christina, that they were past their best, that clump was on a corner that caught the east wind and they looked a bit worse for wear. No, I don’t split them when they are coming into flower, some people do, but I always wait until they aren’t looking as pristine any more.

  5. Cathy says:

    Are the fritillaries on the header your own, Pauline? They are absolutely lovely – no sign of mine yet though 🙁 Well done for starting to divide your snowdrops – 34 new clumps from one old one! I must confess that when dividing mine recently I have just taken a slice off the edge of the clumps and transplanted them as they are, which is probably why they have coped so well with being manhandled whilst they are still in bud. Some of the buds are finally beginning to open now after a couple of days of sunshine!

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Cathy, the header is a photo from here last year, the snakesheads are up and almost ready to flower so I thought I would use it for this month.
      Well I’ve started splitting but goodness knows when I will finish, so many other jobs to do as well, hope I get your sunshine soon!

  6. Plants for free, wonderful, and in a few years you will be splitting those clumps too. Since I am starting from no snowdrops at all, it will be a while before I have to split any magnificent clumps.

    • Pauline says:

      It is wonderful Janet to have so many free plants and yes, I will be splitting them too in a few years, but then, they’re worth it! I’m sure yours will soon multiply and you will be joining me in splitting them all!

  7. pbmgarden says:

    Your posts about snowdrops have made me really hope to add some to my garden next year. I don’t have any now but I do have a few clumps of daffodils that need splitting and I imagine the technique would be similar.

    • Pauline says:

      Susie, snowdrops are such a wonderful start to the year as long as your winters aren’t snow for months on end, I’m sure you would like them. Daffodils need the same treatment eventually or otherwise they don’t flower very much, they all like a bit of room to develop!

  8. wellywoman says:

    I’d love more snowdrops. They are gradually bulking up but I’d like some more. I’m hoping to visit a nursery soon where they sell them in the green and they’re such good value.

    • Pauline says:

      Glad to know your snowdrops are increasing WW, its wonderful when they make new bulbs, all free!! Having just started with just 50 single and 50 double G. nivalis I’m amazed at how many I now have.

  9. kininvie says:

    No. That’s one task too many. Splitting primulas takes all my time, and is quite horrible enough at this time of year without having to add nasty cold snowdrop clumps to the list. Same goes for daffodils. Bulbs – why can’t they just spread themselves by their own efforts, like everyone else?

  10. Hi Pauline,
    What a lot of snowdrops you are going to have when these bulbs multiply. I am just starting out with snowdrops, but will definitely keep these tips in mind. I must say that I was surprised to see you lift them in flower. Is it better to lift them in flower than to wait until the blooms are finished?

    • Pauline says:

      This is the first time Jennifer, that I have lifted them while in flower, thought I had better make a start as I have so many to do. I was expecting to have to water them but they are still standing proud as if nothing had taken place. In the past I have waited until flowering is over but it doesn’t seem to have bothered them, thank goodness! I hope your snowdrops do well for you, they are such lovely little flowers at a very dull time of year, a sign that spring can’t be far away.

  11. That’s a great step-by-step explanation. Snowdrops really are very easy to divide. The only problem I ever have is when I don’t dig deeply enough and chop off the tops by mistake.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Carolyn, its awful when you hear a sickening crunch isn’t it?! I’m trying to split a few each day in between other jobs in the garden, that way they will soon be done.

  12. I loved your discussion of dividing snowdrops. It was both thorough and enjoyable to read. The photos are great. Thank you for sharing.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Charlie, thanks for visiting and leaving your comment. I now have lots more clumps to divide, I am trying to split a few each day in between other jobs that need doing, eventually they will all be done!

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