Judy
Pots

Most experts will say that snowdrops do not grow well in pots but go along to any early alpine show and you will see snowdrops grown to perfection in pots, both clay and plastic.

I grow the autumn flowering reginae-olgae, peshmenii,cilicicus  and fosteri in pots, in the greenhouse because if planted outside I find that they will grow but not flower so well, solely because I do not have a well drained, sunny position (books always suggest at the base of a south facing wall)

I raise seedlings and twin-scales in pots as well.

The main difficulty of growing snowdrops in pots is getting the watering regime correct, but again, it is necessary to know when the plant actually requires moisture. I re-pot the bulbs in late summer then they receive two good soakings of water, two weeks apart (this simulates the autumn rains). They receive no further water until growth starts, then the pots are kept just moist. If using clay pots they will require more frequent watering than plastic pots because the clay will dry out and absorb moisture from the compost. Once the leaves start to turn yellow no more water is given and the bulbs are allowed to go dormant in their pots.

Temperature fluctuation is also a problem with pot culture. To ensure that the pots do not become frozen in winter, keep the greenhouse frost-free. This can be achieved by using a free-standing heater, under soil cables or plunging the pots, up to their rims, in deep trays filled with sand.

Free-standing pots in a cold frame may become frozen in winter, so it is best to plunge the pots into sand.

During the summer months, if the greenhouse isnít shaded, the pots can be covered with newspaper, to cut out the heat from the sun (essential if using black plastic pots)

The compost used for pots will be a personal choice, but aim for a well-drained, moisture-retentive mix. I use 50% peat based potting compost + 50% vermiculite.

Try to re-pot every year as the nutrients in the potting mix will be exhausted after one growing season. Failing that, feed well during the growing season and the spring

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