Sunday, November 13, 2011

Easy To Grow Cyclamen

Florist's cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) at
Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
My first experience with cyclamen came in the grocery store several years ago. I loved the butterfly blooms rising above the dark green foliage and I brought home a red one, red being my favorite color. It wasn't very long before the leaves started turning yellow and fell off. It wasn't very long before the plant was dead.

I tried again, later, but was met with the same results. My friend in Nova Scotia, Jodi of Bloomingwriter, has always had the most beautiful cyclamen plants and yes, I'm envious! She keeps them in her office, where it's cooler, and the plants like that. They like to be watered from the bottom too. But despite my best efforts, I kill them, so I'll just have to admire hers as well as the ones that I can find at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in Fort Wayne, Ind., each winter.

These cyclamen are florist's (Cyclamen persicum), as opposed to hardy cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium). The hardy ones, I can grow! Similar in appearance to their florist cousins, hardy cyclamen blooms are smaller and generally are pale pink to white in color. The foliage is beautiful, with its intricate markings. I'd grow them just for their foliage.

The blooms on my hardy cyclamen have dried up and are gone now, but that marvelous foliage is as fresh as can be. It usually appears after the flowers and will stay on into winter. Only the coldest temperatures will zap them. A woodland plant that prefers part to mostly shade, hardy cyclamen can survive winters as cold as Zone 4.

These plants go dormant and disappear in summer, but it's nice to have a plant that blooms and leafs out in fall, and they're well worth the wait. They do well in dry shade too, which can be a tough area of the garden for many plants.

This year, I noticed my cyclamen are forming seed pods! They've got one of the most interesting seed pods in that they form spirals with the seed pod on the ends.

Hardy cyclamen will spread over time and that's just fine with me.

Cyclamen hederifolium

Zones 4-9
Light shade
Blooms in fall, dormant in summer


Retrogirl said...

This is such an interesting post! The seed pods are about the coolest thing ever.

I love cyclamen but haven't had any luck with it yet. As my trees mature, I'm finding more shady spots in the yard that might just be perfect for these gorgeous blooms.

Where's the best place to find them in NW Indiana (or NE for that matter...we have family out that way)?
Thank you

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The first freeze this past week did in the blooms on my cyclamen. I was pleasantly surprised to find the foliage popped out yesterday. It seems to have sprung up magically over night. I think it is so pretty. I hope mine spreads too. I have never had luck with the indoor plants either. Hmmmm.

Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand said...

I enjoy sharing what you have growing on for use in your gardens Hugs to the hens <|;-) Annie

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