How to plant leucojums

Leucojums or Loddon lilies are magical perennials producing large white pendula flowers with green tips and narcissus-like foliage on slim stems. Although they are often called summer snowflakes due to the fact they resemble tall snowdrops, leucojums actually flower in spring. Bearing around six to eight flowers per stem, these woodland gems will happily grow in a moist part of the garden or near a pond. Try mixing with a selection of narcissi and tulips.

Plant around 15 cm deep and approximately 10 cm apart in moderately-fertile, humus rich soil in dappled shade ⁠— allowing around 50 to 75 bulbs per square meter. Leucojums will also tolerate full sun as the long as the soil retains some moisture. Feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed; if you garden organically, liquid seaweed is ideal as it is organic and comes from a sustainable source. In hot summers, provide additional water. After flowering, allow the foliage to yellow and die down before removing it. Protect bulbs with a good layer of organic mulch in late summer. Every four years, lift and divide overcrowded clumps. Pick off bulblets and transplant! Please note that it will take these a few years to flower.

Always unpack and plant on arrival.

Potential problems, pests and diseases:

Generally disease free, leucojums can however be affected by:

  • Narcissus bulb flies: these bumblebee-like hoverflies lay eggs at the base of the foliage in spring. As the eggs hatch, larvae burrow through the basal plate and devour the centre of the bulb, resulting in the non-appearance of flowers and the production of grass-like growth. The bulbs can recover from this attack but it can take around three to four years before they re-flower. Regularly inspect susceptible plants for signs of attack in the spring and dispose of any infected bulbs before larvae can invade the soil and spread to other plants.

  • Snails and slugs: these pests enjoy munching on young shoots, stems, leaves and flowers. Watch out for damage!

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