Snowdrop - the first breath of spring
Everyone knows this low beautiful plant, the first to come to life after the winter in the gardens. First, a snowdrop releases a couple of leaves, and soon its flowers bloom with drooping white bells. Neither snow nor spring frosts are afraid of them. And now, many white bells adorn the garden ... If your flower beds do not yet have snowdrops, be sure to plant them. They will be the first to announce that spring has come. And planting and caring for snowdrops are not at all complicated. In this publication, we will share the details of growing snowdrops.
- Botanical description of the plant
- Planting snowdrops
- Snowdrop care
- Snowdrops in the garden landscape
- Types of Snowdrops
- Diseases and pests of snowdrops
Botanical description of the plant
Snowdrop, Galanthus (lat. Galanthus) - a genus of perennial herbs of the Amaryllidaceae family (Amaryllidaceae).
The genus unites about 18 species distributed in the nature of Central and Southern Europe, Crimea, the Caucasus and Asia Minor. Most snowdrops, about 16 species, are found in the Caucasus. The exact number of plant species usually does not exist. The fact is that botanists often can’t agree on whether the plant found can be attributed to a new species or if it differs too little from representatives of the already known.
The snowdrop has two linear leaves 10-20 cm long, which appear simultaneously with peduncles. Flowers are solitary, bell-shaped, drooping. A white perianth of six leaves: three outer ones are elliptical or obovate, inner ones are wedge-shaped, at the top with a green spot, with or without a notch.
As a rule, snowdrop flowers have a very pleasant, but weak smell. Fruits - rounded meaty boxes with three compartments, where a few black seeds are stored. The seeds have a juicy appendage to attract ants, which take away the seeds and spread the plants.
Snowdrop bulbs are ovoid or conical. The bulb is a compact group of thick scales (modified leaves), planted on a common thick base - the bottom (modified stem). In the sinuses of the scales, small buds are laid, which give rise to daughter bulbs. The upper scales are thin, dried, usually dark and protect the bulb from damage.
The snowdrop bulb itself serves to accumulate nutrients so that the plant can survive adverse environmental conditions at rest. Peace can last up to nine months a year, and the plant is able to rapidly bloom at the first suitable moment. The snowdrop bulb is covered with a light brown or brown skin.
Without exception, all representatives of the genus of snowdrops are protected plants, and some rare species are on the verge of extinction, and you can save them by growing in culture.
The snowdrop got its name for the ability of a plant to break out of the ground and bloom with the first warm spring rays of the sun when the snow melts a little. The Latin name of the snowdrop, "Galanthus" (Galanthus), presumably, has Greek roots, in translation means "milk flower." Probably, the gentle snow-white color of the snowdrop was reflected in this name.
There are many legends about snowdrops. One of them says that when God expelled Adam and Eve from Paradise, there was winter on Earth and it was snowing. Eve froze and began to cry. She sadly recalled the warm paradise gardens. To console her, God turned a few snowflakes into snowdrop flowers. So the first flowers on Earth, perhaps, were precisely snowdrops.
The best time to buy and plant bulbs is July-September, when the plants are at rest. With a long and warm autumn, the time allowed for planting stretches until the beginning of November. In the amateur market, snowdrops are often sold in bloom, which is not very good for them: immediately after planting, the leaves wilt, turn yellow, then die completely. But the onion, although weakened, remains alive. True, next year such plants bloom weakly or may not bloom at all, but still they do not die.
Choose healthy onions
When buying resting snowdrop bulbs, be sure to check their condition. They should be dense and heavy, with preserved shells, without overgrown roots and stems. However, overgrown roots and stems are still permissible, only such a bulb must be urgently planted. Cuts on the bulb are acceptable, but only on the scales. Donets should not be damaged, and it must be ensured that the wounds are dried and not affected by mold.
Even bulbs with a truncated apex (upper parts of the scales), but an intact donut and kidneys, remain viable. Do not buy only broken and crumpled bulbs. Soft areas on the bottom or on the sides, especially with a peeled shell, indicate rotting. Rotten bulbs of a snowdrop are almost impossible to cure.
Snowdrop bulbs do not tolerate prolonged drying. It is better not to keep them in the air for more than a month, and if it is not possible to plant them, then pour them with sawdust, shavings, etc., and put them in a plastic bag with perforation. In this form, they usually go on sale and stored for 2-3 months.
Bulbs are planted as a general rule: in loose soil to a depth equal to two bulbs, in heavy soil - to a depth of one. But in any case, not smaller than 5 cm. Snowdrops themselves regulate the depth of planting. If they are planted too deep, they form a new bulb on the peduncle, already at the depth they need. In general, strict observance of the planting depth for small onions is optional. Just with a shallow position in the ground, the bulbs become smaller, but they form children actively, and when deep, they become larger.
Location: in shaded but warmed up by the sun, on soils with good drainage; when transplanting wild species, a more illuminated place is chosen.
Temperature: winter-hardy culture.
The soil: develop best on sufficiently moist, loose, well-drained nutrient soil after application of humus or compost. High, dry and low, with stagnation of water, snowdrops do not tolerate. Heavy clay soils require the addition of sand.
Watering: watering young plants after germination; then watered only if there is little rain.
Snowdrop leaves should not be cut off until they die completely. During active growth, liquid inorganic fertilizers are applied. Fertilizers with a high nitrogen content are undesirable. It is better if they will have more potassium and phosphates. A large amount of nitrogen causes excessive formation of leaves, which in wet weather can become the basis for fungal diseases. Potassium also contributes to the formation of healthy, well-wintering bulbs, and phosphorus is especially useful for flowering.
During active growth, small onions consume a lot of water. Nature usually provides sufficient watering at the right time, but if the winters are not snowy or the spring is dry, you will have to water the plants to the grower himself. Watering snowdrops is not a very burdensome task, they are quite resistant to drought and will not die in any case. Only grow low.
After collecting seeds, you can forget about them. In the future, snowdrops do not need care until the end of the season. However, they can sow the seeds themselves. So begins naturalization.
Plants propagate vegetatively, forming one or two bulbs over the summer. Especially active is the folded snowdrop: 3-4 bulbs are formed in it. Snowdrops are transplanted after the death of leaves in late August-early September. Plants transplanted in spring during flowering almost always die. The transplant should be carried out after five to six years, but snowdrops grow well in one place without a transplant and for a longer time.
Perhaps the reproduction of snowdrop and seeds. Sowing is carried out directly into the soil immediately after collection, while plants bloom in the 4-5th year. Planted on lawns under a canopy of trees and shrubs, they reproduce by self-sowing.
Snowdrops in the garden landscape
Snowdrops are very decorative in large groups, not only in rock gardens, but also in the form of "carpets" under trees and shrubs in light partial shade, as well as in the form of white lawns among the lawn. Miniature bouquets of snowdrops can stand in the water for a long time, and when arranged in simple crystal vases, they look attractive and expressive.
It is advisable to plant snowdrops together in small groups, 10-30 pieces each. The disadvantage of these colors is the early death of the aerial parts. But it is easily overcome in the flower garden, where it is preferable to keep plants that are tolerant to shading and do not tolerate drying during dormancy.
Snowdrops are planted between bushes of slowly growing perennials with leafy leaves, for example, host, peonies. They also successfully complement late growing perennials. The main thing is that snowdrops should be lit during the growing season for at least part of the day.
To simulate the natural corners of nature in gardens and parks, snowdrops are often planted under shrubs and deciduous trees, placing them on the lighted side. At rest, they can tolerate any shading. It is better not to rake leaves that have fallen from trees: plants easily pierce them in the spring, and they do not interfere with them at all. In addition, rotted snowdrop leaves are a good natural fertilizer, and, in addition, they retain high humidity in the upper soil layer. If the leaves for some reason interfere, they must be removed in the fall, so as not to damage the overgrown plants in the spring.
Snowdrops are recommended to be planted to create early flowering groups in the shade in combination with coppices, crested ducks, lunatics, and primrose. You can also use snowdrops in mixed plantings with medium-tall and tall late-growing perennials: ferns, hosta, peonies.
Types of Snowdrops
Galanthus snow (snowdrop white) - Galanthus nivalis. It grows wild in the south of the European part of Russia, in the Caucasus, in Europe and the Mediterranean. Bulbous, early spring plant with flat dark green or bluish leaves up to 10 cm long. The bulb is round, up to 2 cm in diameter. Peduncles up to 12 cm tall. The flowers are solitary, up to 3 cm in diameter, with a pleasant aroma, drooping, white with a green spot at the ends of the tepals. The outer tepals are oblong, the inner ones are wedge-shaped, smaller than the outer. It blooms before all snowdrops, in late March and early April, about 30 days.
Caucasian Galanthus (snowdrop) - Galanthus caucasicus. It grows wild in the Caucasus and Northern Iran. A plant with flat, linear, bluish leaves, up to 30 cm long. Peduncles up to 10 cm tall. The flowers are white, 2-2.5 cm long and 1.5 cm in diameter, with a pleasant aroma. Perianth lobes with a green spot at the end of the petals. It blooms from early April for two weeks. Fruits irregularly. It hibernates in the middle lane under light shelter. In culture since 1887.
Galanthus (snowdrop) folded - Galanthus plicatus. Wild usually grows in the Crimea. Endemic of Crimea and Moldova. One of the largest representatives of the genus. Leaves at the beginning of flowering with a bluish bloom, later - shiny, dark green. Peduncles up to 16 cm tall. Flowers 2.5-3 cm long and up to 4 cm in diameter. Blooms in March 20-25 days. Ovoid bulbs up to 3 cm in diameter. The leaves are stored in solar energy until the end of June, then die off.
Galanthus (snowdrop) broadleaf - Galanthus plathyphyllus. In nature, grows in the Eastern and Western Transcaucasia. One of the most promising snowdrops for the northern zone. Leaves without bluish plaque. The flowers are about 3 cm long and up to 4 cm in diameter, with a faint aroma. It blooms from early April for a month. Conical bulbs or ovoid-conical, 5x3 cm.
Galanthus (snowdrop) Elves - Galanthus EIwesii. Originally from Asia Minor. This is a tall species whose peduncles can reach a height of 15-25 cm. The leaves of this species are wide, sometimes up to 2 cm, of a bluish-green color. The flowers are white, large, spherical. It blooms before the snowdrop, in February.
Galanthus (snowdrop) Voronova - Galanthus woronowii. Bulb with a diameter of 3 cm, with yellowish outer scales. The stem is 20-25 cm tall, slightly ribbed, the leaves are linear, gradually sharpening, with a thickening at the apex, light green, initially flat, 20-25 cm long, after flowering, the stem grows and becomes folded (folds are wrapped on the outside of the leaf). It blooms in late February-March, and under favorable conditions - in January. Leaves appear simultaneously with flowers. It grows in the forests of the lower and middle mountain zones in Western Transcaucasia - from Tuapse to Batumi and further along the Black Sea coast of Turkey, as well as on about. Ikaria in the Aegean.
Diseases and pests of snowdrops
Mice and moles. They can damage the bulbs of a snowdrop by digging their burrows underground. Mice, moreover, can simply blow the bulbs whole into their burrows. Bulbs damaged by rodents sometimes rot, as evidenced by the weak growth and depressed appearance of the plant in the spring. Then the bulbs of the snowdrop are dug up and cut off the rotten parts, sprinkle the damaged place with ash and leave open for several hours so that the wound dries up.
You can protect yourself from mice if you do not leave grass sods or perennial curtains at a distance of 3 m from the beds, where these mice can settle. Further than 3 m the mice do not depart from the nest. If such an arrangement of landings is impossible, then you will have to set traps. For moles - according to the instructions, for vegetarian mice - with a vegetable bait.
Butterfly scoops and their caterpillars. Thick gray caterpillars of scoop butterflies also spoil the bulbs. They can be detected and collected in the fall, during weeding, when they are preparing for pupation.
Slug. Underground slugs can settle on rich or heavy clay soils. To get rid of them, it is necessary when planting to surround the snowdrop bulb with a layer of coarse sand or use a special remedy for slugs.
Bulbous nematode. This is a very thin small worm that lives in the soil and dead parts of plants. It can also affect live bulbs. On the leaves of the snowdrop along the edges yellowish tumors appear irregular in shape, a dark ring is visible in the section of the bulb separating the healthy part from the affected part. In this case, diseased plants are destroyed, the rest are dug up and soaked for 3-4 hours in fairly hot water: 40-45 ° C. And in the empty area, for the next 4-5 years, bulbs do not plant.
Viruses. Pale yellow, light green marks on the leaves of a snowdrop in the vicinity of an uneven, tuberous surface or their unnatural twisting indicate infection with viruses. It is better to quickly destroy the affected plant before it becomes a source of infection for others. But, as a rule, viruses do not enter the seeds, so you can simply re-seed the affected species.
Fungal diseases. Brown or black marks on the leaves of snowdrops, fluffy gray patches of plaque that usually appear in warm and damp weather at the soil level, and then rise higher and grow, indicate the appearance of a fungal disease: rust and gray mold. The affected parts must be cut off and burned, and diseased plants should be treated with fungicides as soon as possible according to the instructions.
Chlorosis. Yellowing of snowdrop leaves is usually caused by damage to the bulb, illness, poor drainage or growing conditions, and not a lack of any nutrients in the soil.
Do you have snowdrops growing in your garden? We look forward to your feedback and tips on growing these wonderful plants!