(Species: Cyclamen spp - Family: Primulaceae)
Cyclamen and its origins
Cyclamen is chosen for its dainty blooms, and often distinctive and upswept petals. With the exception of Cyclamen Persicum (Persian Cyclamen), they are natives of southern Europe and in particular, Italy.
Cyclamen are small, never more than 12 inches high and suited to growing in rock gardens or in the shade, they are a favourite for apartments. It is part of the Primulaceae or primrose family, although it is not a primrose. The name Cyclamen derives from the ancient Latin and Greek meaning of circle, a reference to the circular tubers. It is believed that the Romans and Greeks knew of Cyclamen varieties such as Cyclamen Europaeum. Cyclamen Persicum, was introduced to Europe around 1625.
Seasonality : Cyclamen in flower
Cyclamen flower typically between March and November but depending on the species can flower at different times of the year:
- Cyclamen Orbiculatum (Cyclamen Coum) flowers during the winter with flowers of different colors ranging from lilac to purple.
- Cyclamen Repandum, also called " Ivy-leaved Cyclamen", blooms in spring,
- Cyclamen Europaeum (Alpine or European cyclamen) flowers with dark pink, pro fumatissimi, blooming in summer,
- Cyclamen Neapolitanum is a hardy plant that blooms in September
- Cyclamen Persicum (Persian Cyclamen),
There are between 20-25 species of Cyclamen that come in a wide variety of colours from whites and pinks to purple. Each flower tends to have five petals that are often angular shapes. Most varieties reach 10-12cm in height.
How to Plant:
For best results, Cyclamen should be grown in humid conditions, they thrive when kept in the shade and with cooler temperatures. The soil should be rich in humus, well-drained and not water-logged. In the wild, this plant is commonly found in woodlands and favours growth next to the chestnut tree.
Relatively easy to cultivate, Cyclamen are suitable for growing at home and for beginners, adding a 1/3 of sand to regular potting compost for planting indoors, they can also be purchased already potted. Take care not to over-water.
Some species are suitable for growing outdoors and should be planted in the shade of a tree.
The majority of Cyclamen species have a dormant time, generally over the warm summer months and a period of activity when they grow, over autumn and winter. Planting should take place before they are dormant, ideally in spring.
Propagation of Cyclamen
Cyclamen are propagated by seed or division of the tuber, although seed is often a more long-term solution, as the tuber can be difficult to protect from rot once divided.