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Snowdrops (Galanthus)

Snowdrops (Galanthus) are a member of the Amaryllis plant family (Amaryllidaceae), which also includes daffodils (Narcissus), Agapanthus, onions and chives (Allium). Native to Europe and the Middle East. There are approximately 20 known species of snowdrop – the most common are Galanthus nivalis, Galanthus elwesii and Galanthus plicatus. Many hybrid snowdrops have arisen from just these three species. Snowdrops, have ‘anti-freeze’ proteins to inhibit ice crystals forming, protecting the plant cells from damage, so, whilst they may briefly collapse during really cold spells - they soon recover and reinvigorate. Snowdrop leaves also have specially hardened tips to help them break through frozen soil, grow and flower at the end of winter.

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Partial shade or deciduous woodland areas where Galanthus can naturalise are the best spots for planting these precious blooms. If you plant them in the borders ensure they are located where they can get sufficient light in the early months of the year and they will keep containers for a couple of years but will need planting in the ground after this in order to thrive.

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