Snowdrop Planting: Growing Indoors
Snowdrops are a hardy outdoor plant, but can be grown indoors. The best type of pot to keep them in is terracotta, because it offers good drainage and is light to handle. Snowdrop bulbs must be split every three years to maintain their condition. It's very important to remember that snowdrops cannot survive drying out. This is even more important with plants in containers, because they can dry out quickly in warm conditions.
Snowdrop as a House Plant
Snowdrops require a period of cold to really help them to prosper. Growing them indoors works well but they should be kept cool and shaded. Two or three bulbs should be planted together in a good quality potting compost. It doesn't matter what time of year you plant them, but they will only start to develop after winter. Once the bulbs are planted and watered they must be kept in a cool spot until January. In January bring the pots out into the winter sunshine. As the year progresses, make sure that you give the snowdrops plenty of shade.
After the snowdrop has finished flowering it will continue as a green plant until late in June. You need to allow the shoots to die back naturally. Do not cut the shoots, no matter how untidy they look. The green shoots will be photosynthesizing food to help the snowdrop bulb develop for the next year's growth.
Every Three Years
Every three years you should take out the snowdrop plants and split the bulb clumps. It's best to do this after the plants have become dormant towards the end of August. If you do not split the bulb clusters you risk the bulbs becoming pot bound. You can either pot the extra bulbs indoors or use them to extend your stock of snowdrops outdoors.
Snowdrops can do very well with window box planting on the shaded side of the house. As long as the soil they're in is well drained and constantly moist, they'll do fine.
If you want to grow seeds from your indoor snowdrops you might have to fertilize the flowers by hand. You can do this with a very soft brush. If you have different varieties growing indoors, you can try to hybridize them by cross pollinating. If you have different varieties growing in your garden or in local parks and woods, you can also collect pollen from them. It's impossible to predict how the hybrids will turn out, but it could be an interesting experiment.
Growing from Seed Indoors
Growing snowdrops from seed indoors is possible, but it's a lengthy process. You could try to plant seeds and bulbs at the same time in a container. This way you will have two ages of plant growing side by side. This will ensure that there is some good greenery for at least six months of the year, and you're less likely to forget to water the containers.
Snowdrops grown indoors will also give you the chance to smell the delightful scent they have. This is often not noticed because the plant is so close to the ground.
Photo credit: Galanthophile from DavesGarden.com