In wild situations snowdrops usually grow in what we would regard as rich soils. This is hardly suprising when one considers that the plant has to grow, flower, set seed and build a new bulb in a short spring season, before shade and/ or dryness bring their short growing opportunity to an end.

Some snowdrops, such as the normal double nivalis, will often thrive in seemingly barren and impoverished sites. Indeed, it was this cast-iron constitution that contributed to its award of AGM (Award of Garden Merit) from the Royal Horticultural Society. However, the fact remains that most snowdrops appreciate good feeding and will respond to good feeding with more flowers, bigger bulbs and (slightly) faster increase in numbers. Many of the more tricky and expensive varieties demand good soil and will quickly dwindle without adequate annual attention to their needs in this area.

Fertilisers come in many forms; the important point is that it should be available in the soil around the roots when the plants are in active growth; from Autumn onwards. Fertilisers applied when the plants are in full growth are likely to benefit the surrounding and following vegetation but are unlikely to reach the snowdrops in any quantity before they have begun to die back.

We use a conventional granular fertiliser, and apply it anytime from late Autumn onwards; a reasonably generous sprinkle over where the bulbs are. This is easy for us as we know where the bulbs are; indeed, the cultivation beds contain little else. This may be more difficult if your snowdrops are distributed throughout your garden; it can be difficult to pinpoint a plants location when nothing is visible above ground (see our comments under labelling).  In this case, get into the habit of watching for the appearance of the bulb noses and fertilising as soon as they are visible. Fertiliser applied later, after the leaves have begun to splay apart, often lodges at the base of the leaves; burning the foliage and creating a possible entry point for disease.