How To Transplant Snowdrops

Snowdrops that need to be transplanted should be moved just after they have finished flowering. The move should be completed quickly, so have the transplant site prepared.

Step 1 – Choose Transplant Site

Find a site that is well drained but which does not dry out. Preferably the site will be in the shade of trees or shrubs for much of the day.

Step 2 – Prepare the Site

Work some garden compost or humus into the soil where you intend to transplant the snowdrops to. This will help to aerate the soil and also improve drainage and moisture retention properties.

Step 3 – Dig Up the Bulbs

Snowdrop bulbs develop as a clump and should be dug up in one piece if possible. The plants will have finished flowering, but they will still have green shoots on them. With a spade, dig down around the snowdrop plants outside the area the bulbs are likely to be. Gradually ease the bulb clump to the surface of the soil until you can release it.

Step 4 – Break Up the bulbs

Working around the outside, break off individual bulbs and put them to one side. All the bulbs should separate easily, and each should have some green shoots and some roots. While you are splitting the bulbs, check for any signs of fungal disease. This can often develop in the center of an old bulb clump.

Step 5 – Moving to the New Site

As soon as the bulbs are separated they can be replanted. They must not be allowed to dry out.

Step 6 – Replanting the Bulbs

The bulbs should be planted vertically so that the green shoots are still above ground level. These green shoots are important because they will still be photosynthesizing food for the bulb’s growth in the following season. To have a reasonable degree of ground cover, the bulbs should be planted about three inches apart.

Step 7 – Firm Up the Soil

As the bulbs are planted, ensure that the soil is tight up against them. Once the bulbs are all planted you will have an idea of the sort of display you will have next year, from the position of the green shoots.

Step 8 – Water Well

Water the bulbs to help settle the soil around them, and to enable the bulbs to take up extra water to reduce the shock of being transplanted.

Step 9 – Let the Shoots Die Back

The shoots on the bulbs should be allowed to die back naturally. They will go brown and wither. Resist the temptation to trim them back until there is no green left in sight.

Step 10 – Refill the Hole

Once you have finished transplanting the bulbs you can return to the hole they came from and fill it in or plant something else instead.

Although snowdrops do not like being moved, achieving the move in a single session like this will enable thems to recover quickly.