The Genus Cyclamen

...... More widely known from the popular and short lived indoor hyb Cyclamen Persicum (florists form) .The true species are a  beautiful and hardy genus of plants , grown as much for the diverse and attractive foliage as for the dainty flowers which are often born in profusion.

           With the exception of C.Rholfsianum and C.Persicum all make very hardy garden plants for moist shade or semi shade and are almost impervious to frost and snow , even while in flower! . Colours range from white , pink and deep carmine , even bicoloured in some varieties.

          You can easily have these gems in flower for 12 months of the year . Many species overlap flowering times giving you a continuous display of blooms. For example C Graecum ( Mid Summer to Late autumn ) , C.Hederifolium , C Cilicium , C Mirabile ( Late Summer to early Winter ) , C Libanoticum ( Late autumn to Mid Winter ) , C Coum ( Late Autumn and throughout Winter ) C Repandum , C.Balearicum ( late Winter to Mid Spring ) and C.Purpureascens ( Spring and Summer ).

          While C.Purpureascen is the only evergreen , all other species are Winter growing and summer dormant , preferring drier conditions in summer though this is not essential with many types. All are long lived , particularly C.Graecum and C.Hederifolium which can survive over 40 years. Tubers do not multiply but grow larger every year producing more and more blooms and fresh seed each season. C.Coum in particular self sows easily.

Cyclamen Africanum  

Flowers summer and Autumn , half hardy , close to C Hederifolium.

Cyclamen Balearicum x Pelops  

Flowers Late winter and Spring , willgrow in deep shade , keep moist. Attractive foliage

Cyclamen Cilicium Album  

Autumn flowering , leaves with scalloped edges , drier in summer. Shade or semi shade

Cyclamen Coum 

 Prolific Winter flowers , 1 year from seed. Shade , semi shade or full sun in cooler climates  Seed Available

Cyclamen Cont...   Many species will flower after their first Summer dormancy , while the remaining will produce flowers after their second dormancy. Seeds can be sown anytime though ideally this should be done as weather is cooling from Late Summer to early Winter. Seed sown in Spring is unlikely to germinate until the following Autumn and must be kept moist until this time , allowing the seed to dry out once it has been hydrated may quickly lead to its demise or at least poor germination. Germination is quite easy in most species and 100% success is common.

           Young seedlings should be kept shaded regardless of species and lightly moist even while dormant , they are easily transplanted when large enough to handle though we often leave them in the seedling pot until they become overcrowded. Planting them out in the open garden is best done while they are dormant and just before new growth begins , at least 2cm deep and given a reasonable soaking followed by a light mulch , leafmould or straw is ideal.

Cyclamen Coum "Maurice Dryden" Strain  

Silver or pewter leaves with an olive green edge, dainty white Winter flowers.

Cyclamen Graecum 

Tolerates full sun , prolific Summer flowers with attractive leaves

Seed Available

Cyclamen Hederifolium  

Generally flowers in late Summer before foliage appears. Long lived and Long flowering. Easy species quick from seed.  Seed Available

Tubers Available November to February 

Cyclamen Hederifolium Album

The very attractive albino form.  Seed Available

Cyclamen Cont... Most make great pot specimens although some , particularly C.Graecum perform much better in the open garden , Potted plants can be brought indoors to enjoy for short periods during flowering , but they really prefer strong light , cool and fresh air so this shouldnt be for too long a duration.

           Once your tubers have established well in the garden you will find them very drought hardy providing they get some moisture during the growing season , they do not require feeding which will often cause an abundance of foliage with few flowers , growing well in any good garden soil. Coum , Hederifolium , Graecum and Cilicium all look great planted below deciduous trees , where they can enjoy the leaf mould and summer shade. Other types , particularly Libanoticum , Balearicum and Repandum will grow in quite heavy shade under Evergreen trees. The Rarer C.Rholfsianum is not very hardy and may require greenhouse protection in Cold climates.

Cyclamen Hederifolium "Silver Leaf"  Lovely large pewter leaves on this form. Seed Available

Cyclamen Mirabile   Thickened heart-shaped leaves with a deep beetroot red underside. Young leaves are often flushed raspberry on the face. Easy Autumn bloomer. Shade or semi shade.

Cyclamen Psued-Ibericum 

Highly regarded Winter flowering species with large flowers ( like an oversized coum ) Very long lived . Flowering 2 years from seed.

Cyclamen Purpureascens 

The only evergreen species. Very hardy , summer flowering ( 1 to 2 years from seed )

Cyclamen Repandum

A scented , Spring flowering species enjoying moist shade


Cyclamen "Saundersiae" 

( Repandum x Balearicum ) The silvered leaves of C.Balearicum with larger flowers , Flowers in Spring , moist shade.