How To Care For The Hardy Cyclamen Plant
The hardy cyclamen is the perfect addition to any autumn garden. Nearly everyone is familiar with florist cyclamens, due to their large vibrant flowers but not everyone is aware of this autumn flowering relative. The small charming flowers offered by these plants provide much needed color in your garden during a time when it is so scarce.
The autumn flowers are not the only positive characteristic trait of the hardy cyclamen either. In the spring, the plant offers two-toned, delicate leaves that are a perfect backdrop to whatever else you may have growing there.
The unusual shape of the flowers can be compared to a shooting star and they appear from September through November. Some species will begin flowering a bit earlier and others will continue to do so well into the spring. The flowers of the hardy cyclamen are grown on stems about four inches long and come in shades of white, pink and purple.
These plants must be planted in an area that is well protected from severe weather and hot sun. Ideally, the perfect location is underneath a high-branched shrub, tree or near your house on the east side. They grow very low to the ground so you may want to place them close to the edge of your landscaping where they can be seen easily without getting lost in other foliage. The hardy cyclamen is the perfect specimen for a rock garden as well.
It is important that you prepare the soil that will be housing your plants properly. They require a well-drained soil with plenty of humus mixed in. Prior to planting, you may want to mix in some processed manure or peat moss and add a bit of sand to improve any drainage issues.
The tubers of the hardy cyclamen should be planted close to the surface at a depth of only half an inch. For the most appealing display, you will want to space the plants around five to six inches away from each other.
Every four years you will be able to dig up the tubers and divide them if you choose. Of course, this is not necessary however, it is the ideal method for expanding flowering areas or you can share the split tubers with your friends.
The hardy cyclamen needs to be planted when it is dormant, this includes transplanting as well. The dormant season begins when they are completely finished flowering in the autumn or winter.
The easiest way to enjoy these plants is by purchasing them in pots from nurseries. These can be just set outside to enjoy and you can get a good idea of the color of the leaves and flowers before you add them to your garden.
If you are planting your hardy cyclamen plants from seeds, you can simply sow them in a houseplant potting mix or if you prefer you can use a mixture of half peat moss and half sand. Keep these pots in a location where the temperatures stay around 60 degrees. When planting the seeds, they should also be planted shallow like the tubers. A light coverage of sand mix or soil is all that is needed.
There are a few different species belonging to the hardy cyclamen family
- Cyclamen Purpurascens – These fragrant flowers begin blooming late in the summer and continue to do so until mid fall. They are pink to red with the appearance of dark blotches throughout.
- Cyclamen Pseudibericum – Blooming late in the winter, well into spring, this species offers two-toned flowers that are purple or crimson with white edges.
- Cyclamen Hederifolium – The pink and white flowers have striking dark centers and appear from late summer through fall.
- Cyclamen Coum – Blooming from late winter until spring, these beautiful flowers are crimson, pink or white.