Termed 'Snowflakes' by the gardening public, the Leucojum aestivum is by far one the most adaptable bulbs ever offered in the South. Their ability to grow in sun or shade has made them a winner for woodland settings, roadside plantings, and great garden borders. Although individual blooms are smaller in stature, they are so numerous that they covered more area than larger blooms could ever hope to fill. The blooms are accented by sturdy bluish-green foliage and slight green spots on the tips of each petal. When people tell us they "can't grow bulbs," we tell them to try Snowflakes.
Once, when speaking to a garden club in Monroe, a long time member of the club decided that she would like to show me her little patch of snowflakes. I often have such an invitation and see nice little clumps here and there in a garden setting. A surprise was in store for me when we turned onto her property and a field of white met our eyes!
What does “in the green” mean?
In the summer and fall, we ship dry bulbs that many consumers are familiar with. However, in the spring we ship some flower bulbs with their foliage still on them, having dug them right after their bloom. When the customer receives them, the foliage is in the process of drying down naturally. Plant the bulbs, with foliage and all in the ground and let the foliage turn brown and die back naturally. Another option is to not plant the flower bulbs and store the bulbs with the foliage in a cool, dark, and well ventilated spot, and most importantly let the foliage die down naturally. In other words, DON'T cut the foliage of bulbs when you receive them in the green. The browning and dying back of the foliage is the natural process of the bulb sending food and energy from the leaves down into the bulbs for their summer dormancy.
I thought spring-blooming bulbs are normally shipped in the fall? We grow many of our own snowflake bulbs here on our farm, and while it is unconventional in the United States, it is common to have bulbs shipped in the green in other parts of the world. We grow many of our own heirloom daffodils that we originally collected from old gardens on former homesites. Shipping these in the green allows us to:
1) Ship them during the bloom season when most gardeners are thinking of and remembering to plant snowflakes
2) Ensures correct identification of the flower bulb. These are heirlooms and buying and receiving the right genetic selections is important to having varieties that are perennials and will naturalize in your garden
3) Allows us to offer more bulbs are lower prices to customers
Remember that bulbs shipped in the green are coming to an end of their growth cycle. You can expect:
1) The foliage to yellow and die down naturally
2) The bulb to be dormant in the summer and early fall
3) Roots to start growing in mid fall
4) Foliage appears next January
5) Bulbs to bloom next February and March