How To Keep Hardy Cyclamen Alive and Growing


Hardy cyclamen grows well in shady garden beds that are well drained but rich in organic matter but have fairly specific growing ranges and demands. The first problem you're likely to have with this plant is finding one to grow. The average garden center does not carry the hardy cyclamen and you'll have to find a mail-order or specialist nursery to obtain them.

Hardiness


C. coum and C. hederifolium are both marginally hardy here in my garden. I’ve wintered both and lost both; they are not cast-iron plants by any means in zone 4. As a native to the Mediterranean area and over to Iran, this is a plant with specific growing needs.

Growing Conditions


This is a shade plant to be sure. It loves a well-drained bed (no clay!) and one that is high in organic matter. Given that most cyclamen in the wild survive in rocky terrain in semi-arid conditions under the protection of shrubs and trees, you can quickly see that this plant doesn't want standing water (or almost any water at all) and that it requires protection from the sun.

And note that when I say rocky terrain, I mean they survive in the cracks between rocks where organic matter has accumulated but in which drainage is fast.

Plant on the north side of the house under the eaves where it won't get watered and you have a running chance of growing it.

These are summer dormant plants - the leaves will disappear during the summer months so do not panic when you see them dying. That's what they do. The flowers will appear without leaves in the spring or fall (see below) but independently from the leaves.

Varieties


There are two species commonly found in garden cultivation (there are some 19 species in the entire family including the florist's cyclamen)

C. hederifolium flowers in the fall with fragrant flowers.

C. coum on the other hand will win your heart with its spring blossoms.

There are cultivated varieties of both of these species and the specialist plant societies are the best place to obtain seeds.



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