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How to Grow Soldanella Plants

Guide to Growing Snowbell and Mountain Tassel

Plants from the Soldanella genus are hardy perennials that reach a height of 15 to 40 cm (6 to 16 inches).

They have a foliage of heart shaped leaves. They bloom from late in spring through to early summer, when they carry fringed bell shaped flowers of white or blue.

Their small size makes Soldanella plants ideal for use in rock gardens.

Some common names for Soldanella include Alpine Snowbell, Mountain Tassel, and Dwarf Snowbell.

Latin names include Soldanella alpina, Soldanella villosa, and Soldanella carpatica.

Soldanella alpina
Soldanella alpina by peganum.

Soldanella Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Snowbell: Alpine, Dwarf. Mountain Tassel.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
  • Height: 6 to 16 inches (15—40 cm).
  • Native: Mountainous regions of Europe.
  • Growing Region: Zones 6 to 8.
  • Family: Primulaceae.

  • Flowers: Late spring through to early summer.
  • Flower Details: Violet, white, blue, purple. Bell-shaped. Nodding. Stalks usually bear single flowers, but some species have stalks bearing up to six flowers.
  • Foliage: Evergreen. Herbaceous. Orbicular rosette leaves.

  • Sow Outside: Surface. Seeds should first be sown into flats using fresh seed in the late summer/autumn. Sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Remove the covering once seedlings emerge, and move to their final location once they are strong.
  • Sow Inside: Place seeds on the surface of moist growing medium in flats or pots, wrap in a large plastic bag, and then stratify by refrigeration for four weeks. Germination time: one to six months in the light. Temperature: 55°F (13°C). Transplant outdoors after the last frost. Space at 4 to 6 inches (10—15 cm).

  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight with light afternoon shade in hotter areas. Excellent drainage (add grit). Very moist. Peaty. Slightly acidic. Add grit to improve drainage. Cover crowns with a straw mulch to protect from the frost. Propagate: by division once flowering has completed.
  • Family: Primulaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Primrose.
  • Miscellaneous: The Soldanella derives its name from the Latin word for coin ‘soldanus’; the leaves resemble small coins.

How to Grow Alpine Snowbell and other Soldanella Plants

When growing Soldanella varieties outdoors from seed, it is best to sow the seeds in flats. Sow on the soil surface using fresh seed in late summer. Then sink the flat into a part of the garden protected from the elements and cover the flat with glass.

It can take anything from one to six months for the Soldanella seeds to germinate. As soon as the seedlings have grown enough to be handled, then transplant them into a part of the garden that is mainly sunny but has partial shade.

Snowbells like to grow in very moist peaty soil, that has a slightly acidic nature.

If starting off indoors, plan to put out the Alpine Snowbell seedlings following the last frost of spring.

The seeds should be placed in soil, within a plastic bag, and placed into the fridge for about a month. The seeds should then be sown in the light at a temperature of 12 to 15 degrees centigrade (54 to 59°F).

Caring for Soldanella

Alpine Snowbell and other Soldanella species are not for the faint hearted as they need a lot of care. They are however, well worth the effort.

They must be grown in very moist soil. It may be necessary to put in a water feature in your rock garden where they will get the moist soil that they crave.

Alternatively, give the soil plenty of drenching and never let it dry out.

As Soldanella plants also require good drainage, surround the plant with grit. During the late winter, it is best to cover the flowering buds with straw to protect them.

If you require more Snowbell's then they can be propagated by division in the spring time.

Common Questions

How many members does the Soldanella genus have?

The Soldanella genus consists of around 15 species.

Do members of Soldanella make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Soldanella species are favored for their delicate bell-shaped flowers and can be an enchanting addition to woodland gardens or rockeries.

Which Soldanella species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most frequently grown species is Soldanella montana, also known as Mountain Snowbell.

Are members of the Soldanella plant genus fragrant?

Soldanella species are not typically known for their fragrance but for their lovely, bell-shaped flowers.

What is the perfect location to grow Soldanella?

Soldanella prefers shady locations with moist, well-drained soil. They're perfect for rockeries and woodland gardens.

Is Soldanella invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Soldanella is not considered invasive in the USA. Always check with local guidelines for the most up-to-date information.

How do I remove Soldanella plants from my garden?

To remove Soldanella, carefully dig up the entire plant, including the roots, to prevent regrowth.

Summary

The Soldanella genus, also known as Snowbell, comprises small perennial plants native to mountainous regions in Europe. They are prized for their bell-shaped, purple-blue flowers that often bloom while the snow is still on the ground.

Soldanella are typically grown from seeds, which should be planted in autumn. They prefer shady locations and moist, humus-rich soil. As alpine plants, they are well-adapted to cold conditions but require protection from excessive winter wetness which can lead to root rot.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Soldanella plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Cyclamen and Primula plants.