Snowdrop project update

At our November meeting we all brought in our chipped snowdrop cuttings to compare bulbil and root growth.  It is such an exciting project, we have already potentially propagated about 400 new plants from our chip cuttings in June.  They will probably take 3 years before they flower, each year slowly becoming bigger and fatter bulbs.

Shepton Mallet is going to be famous once again for John Allen’s Snowdrop ‘Magnet’


This is the method we have used (from the RHS web site), it also works well for daffodils, Hippeastrum, Allium, Fritillaria, Iris and hyacinths.

  • Lift and clean a mature, virus-free bulb while it is leafless and dormant
  • Remove any papery outer skin and trim back the roots with a sharp knife
  • Remove the growing tip and ‘nose’ of the bulb
  • Hold the bulb with the basal plate uppermost and cut it into 8-16 sections (chips), each of a similar size, depending upon the size of the bulb. Make sure each chip has a portion of basal plate
  • Leave the chips to drain on a rack for 12 hours
  • Place the chips in a clear plastic bag containing ten parts fine vermiculite to one part water. Blow up the bag with air and then seal and label it
  • Keep the bag in a dark place at 20ºC (68ºF) for about 12 weeks, checking occasionally to remove any rotting chips
  • During storage, the scales (layers) of each chip will separate out and bulblets should form between the scales, just above the basal plate
  • Pot the chips up individually in 8cm (3in) pots of free-drainng loam based compost such as John Innes No.2. Insert the chips with the basal plate downwards and the bulblets covered by about 1cm (½in) of compost. Leave the scales exposed – they will slowly rot away as the bulblets develop
  • Grow on the developing bulbs in conditions appropriate to the specific variety