Snow drops are a pretty white flower that will often grow through a light scattering of snow in early January.
Step 1 – Collect Your Seeds
The seed pods of snow drops are ready for collection around mid-June. Do not pick the pods until they are turning yellow. The seed pods lie on the ground, so if you have something like the lid of a jar to put underneath them you have a better chance of getting the seeds. You're in competition with ants and slugs for this. Let the pods ripen in a cool, dry location and they will open and spill the seeds.
Step 2 – Sowing Seeds
The seeds can be sown as soon as you like. Have a tray or pot of compost ready and sprinkle the seeds on top. Cover them with a thin layer of compost and then about half an inch of fine grit.
Step 3 – Water and Put in a Cool Place
Water the seeds well and place them in a protected spot outdoors.
Step 4 - Check and Water Often
It's very important that the seeds are not allowed to dry out. If they do, the chances are you will have killed them all.
Step 5 – Germination
In mid-winter the seeds should germinate and send up some very fine green shoots. Note that it's not unusual for seeds to lie dormant for a year. If they don’t germinate in the first year and they haven’t been allowed to dry out, they might germinate next year.
Step 6 - Continue to Water
You won't see any flowers in the first year, but you must continue to keep the seedlings moist – even when they have died back.
Step 7 – Transplant
If the seedlings appear to be too close together you can try transplanting some of them. The baby bulbs that will have developed after the first year’s growth are very tiny, smaller than a grain of rice, so it might be best to leave them for a year to grow a little bigger.
Step 8 – Second Year
In the second year you must feed the seedlings with diluted compost or tomato food.
Step 9 – Third Year
In the third year the bulbs should be repotted. The bulbs are still small but manageable. Wait until they have died back before repotting. Use a similar process as when you planted the seeds – a layer of compost to plant the bulbs in, a layer to cover the bulbs and then half an inch of fine grit.
Step 10– Fourth Year
In the fourth year there's a chance that your snowdrops will flower so you can plant them outdoors. They like a fairly shaded location. Under a tree is ideal. Some snowdrops take six years to flower, so don’t despair if yours don’t do so by the fourth year.
At all times it's vital that you don't let your snowdrops dry out. Growing snowdrops is an exercise in patience.