Nothing says late winter like snowdrops.
Snowdrops are a woodland plant, which means their ideal growing conditions are partial shade, moist but well-drained soil. This is important because if the soil is too dry, allowing the bulbs to dry out, they will fail the following year. As a woodland plant, snowdrops are tolerant of partial shade, which makes them suitable for under planting among trees and shrubs. This also gives summer protection against the soil drying out too much.
Plant Snowdrop bulbs about 10 cms deep, which is a little over 3 x the bulb depth, which is a handy rule of thumb for planting all bulbs. Ideal in semi shade with well drained a mulch of leaf mould will help to retain moisture. Planting the bulbs a little deeper can also help to prevent the bulbs from drying out. They hate to be baked in the hot summer sun, which means picking a planting spot which is also cool and semi-shaded in the summer.
Snow drops do not grow well in containers and although sold in containers is best to plant them as soon as you can. Snowdrops are fully hardy, as you may expect. If snowdrops are in pots, the container can freeze and the snowdrop may not survive.
Like Hellebores, snowdrops flowers hang down and it can sometimes be hard to see the lovely flower markings inside. For this reason, they are ideal for planting in a wall, or a bank, so that the flowers clearly displayed.
Snowdrops look best planted in drifts to form clumps as illustrated centre. I have seen them planted to great effect around the foot of Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis) where the white bark chimes with the white of the snowdrops (see image below) The most popular varieties of Betula utilis var. jacquemontii, the Himalayan Birch, which have the RHS award of garden merit are: 'Doorenbos' 'Jermyns' 'Silver Shadow' and 'Grayswood Ghost '