You may have noticed that some bulbs like bluebells, aconites, and snowdrops are sold ‘in the green’. This simply means that they've been lifted in early spring while still in active growth and then sold ready to be replanted straight away with the stem still attached. If this is something you’re keen to try, here’s how to get the best results from snowdrops in the green.
The main advantage to growing snowdrops in the green is that you give the plants plenty of time to establish before they next come into flower. The other benefit is that once you've planted them you'll be able to see exactly where they are, so there's less chance of you accidentally disturbing them.
In the case of snowdrops, which are particularly collectible, it's also really helpful to be able to see the new flower – that way you know exactly what you're getting, avoiding any confusion.
Snowdrops enjoy a moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter. They thrive in the dappled shade of trees and will gradually spread to form a large colony, but you can help them by planting them out in large groups.
Start by separating your snowdrops into clumps of three to five bulbs. You'll notice there's a pale white section on the stem of each bulb, indicating the original depth to which the bulb was planted. You should stick to this depth when you replant the bulb.
To avoid damaging the young roots, be very careful when planting your snowdrops, firming gently to avoid crushing. Be sure to leave at least six inches or so between each group of five bulbs to allow them plenty of space to spread.
Snowdrops really do look after themselves very well, but remember to water your freshly planted blooms, especially if it’s a dry spring. At this stage, it's also a really good idea to take off any flowering stems, because this helps to concentrate all of the energy from the bulb into making roots. You can always take these, and pop them in a vase indoors.
Growing snowdrops in the green is a great way to make sure you have strong, vigorous plants for the following season. For more spring bulb help and planting guidance, head over to our spring flowering bulb hub page.