Charming and gentle, surprisingly defenseless and endlessly hardy - these are all snowdrops, the very first to appear every spring on barely thawed thawed patches.
The amazing fragrance and no less amazing fragile appearance of this beautiful flower, unfortunately, turned against him - enterprising traders practically mow the spring lawns covered with galanthus, endangering the very existence of this graceful beauty. Since 1981, the snowdrop has been listed in the Red Book.
The botanical name of the snowdrop is galanthus, euphonic and elegant, like the representative of the amaryllis family itself, a dozen or so species of which are still found in the European forest expanses of Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Chechnya and Dagestan, as well as in eastern Georgia and northwestern Azerbaijan. Galanthus is a primrose protected by the Red Book of Russia.
The snowdrop is a perennial and earliest flowering bulbous plant that emerges from the ground with the first warm rays as soon as the snow begins to melt. Each bulb produces only one straight peduncle. The dark green, shiny leaves appear at the same time as a bell-shaped flower. The flowers are snow-white with a green edging, have three inner petals, surrounded by three larger ones. This unusual structure makes them unique and graceful. The plant reaches a height of 15-18 cm, abundant flowering begins in early April.
Red Data Book of Russia: snowdrop
Unfortunately, the collection of galanthus for bouquets or for trade is not the only reason affecting a significant decrease in the number and representatives of this plant. The factors leading to unpleasant consequences that make the snowdrop disappear, the Red Book considers:
• digging of bulbs by amateur gardeners,
• deforestation, reducing the area previously covered by snowdrops;
• trampling or destruction of forest floor;
• environmental problems of the region.
For example, in Dagestan, all species of the snowdrop plant growing on the territory of the republic are under the threat of extinction. The Red Book of Russia assigned Galanthus the third category, which characterizes it as a rare species, which today is not threatened with extinction, but since it is already found in small numbers and in rather limited territories, with a negative change in the habitat provoked by any natural or anthropogenic factors, it may soon disappear.
Snowdrop: description. Red Book and Plant Conservation
The Red Book stipulates the responsibility of the country in which endangered species grow, therefore, the implementation of protective measures, such as bans on the sale of rare plants, the creation of wildlife sanctuaries and reserves, as well as their cultivation, should bring results.
I would like to believe that it will be possible to preserve the Galanthus population, because the Red Book of Russia is engaged in its protection. Plants, including those under protection, cannot be picked, sold, etc. Selection research for the cultivation of many rare species is carried out constantly, and the cultivation of snowdrops is encouraged among florists. To reproduce Galanthus in your own summer cottage, you should know about its preferences and developmental features.
Agrotechnics of cultivation
Snowdrop is unpretentious. Growing under the canopy of forest trees and shrubs, it has long adapted to perfectly tolerate partial shade, but it also feels no worse in open spaces. Excellent winter hardiness and endurance to extremes of spring temperatures make it possible for flower growers to plant it in various parts of the garden. You just need to know that it will grow better on loose and well-drained soil, fertilized with humus or compost. In heavy clay soils, it is worth adding sand. But stagnant groundwater will not allow the snowdrop to successfully take root.
Garden breeding is welcomed by the Red Book of Russia. Plants - snowdrop, crocus and other bulbous - are planted according to the general rule: to a depth corresponding to two bulbs. Snowdrops usually adjust the planting depth themselves. If they are too deep, then they form a new onion on the upward peduncle already at the right distance from the soil surface. With a shallow arrangement in the soil, the bulbs become smaller, but children are quickly formed.
About the choice of planting material
It is better to buy bulbs in July-September, and plant them in autumn. At this time, the plant is at rest. When buying, you need to pay attention to the condition of the planting material. The bulbs should be firm to the touch, with intact shells, without mechanical damage and putrefactive manifestations. If they have overgrown roots and stems, then this will require early planting. Small (dried and not affected by mold) cuts on the scales of the bulb are acceptable, but there should be no damage to the bottom. Planting material with a cut off top, but not damaged bottom is considered viable. It is not worth purchasing broken or crumpled bulbs - they may have internal damage or foci of decay. It is impossible to grow a good snowdrop from such planting material. The Red Book does not give recommendations for the cultivation of species, only determines the status and growing area. The most favorable conditions for breeding will be exactly where the natural area is located.
Galanthus bulbs do not tolerate prolonged drying. Do not keep them outdoors for more than a month. If the planting time has not yet come, then the bulbs must be sprinkled with sawdust or small shavings and put into a cotton bag or a perforated plastic bag. The shelf life will last for 2-3 months.
While the snowdrop is actively growing, it needs liquid fertilizing with inorganic potassium phosphate fertilizers without nitrogen, which can cause excessive leaf growth. Potassium is essential for the formation of healthy, winter-hardy bulbs, and phosphorus is essential for flowering. Active growth requires a lot of water. Usually, watering is not needed in early spring, but if suddenly the spring is dry, then the grower will have to provide the plant with moisture. Watering small-bulbous ones is not burdensome - they are very resistant to drought and will not die, but they will be low. After flowering, snowdrops do not need care until the end of the season.
So, easy cares for the care of an unpretentious and rare flower will bring joy to gardeners and preserve the snowdrop. The Red Book is needed as a document controlling its protection.