Monday, November 12, 2012


These hardy Cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) have been growing in my shady wildflower area for at least 20 years. I originally grew them from seed. Growing them from seed is not hard but does require patience. Do not cover the seed.  Germination occurs over months and for a long time after they germinate they have only one leaf which feeds the bulb. Ultimately a tiny bulb forms at the base of the one leaf and soon there after another and another leaf will grow til the seedling is large enough to transplant to a small pot to grow on to a size suitable for transplanting into the ground. I am talking about a time span of a year. During that time the container they are growing in needs to be somewhat cool, getting good light but not direct sun. I plant them in a container that had fruit from the store so that there are some drainage holes. Hopefully you will only water occasionally  so if the holes are large, you may want to put a coffee filter over the holes so that it can drain, but not dry out the potting material. Another problem can be simply keeping the germinating seed container safe from dumping and other accidents during a year.
I know that there must be short cuts for doing this commercially, but most home growers do not have access to a growth chamber to germinate a pack of seed. I am just telling you what I did.
At the time I planted these babies, I believe there were 5 of them, but now there are no more than 3. I have found them to be much hardier than I ever expected. They rest in the summer when it is too hot for their tastes. Do not become concerned about their health during this rest and water them, as the likely result is that the bulbs will rot from the moisture.Under a deciduous tree is the ideal spot for Cyclamen as they can catch the winter sun when the leaves are down and it will be nice and dry in the summer when they are resting. They send up flowers that are only a few inches tall for 2 to 3 months in the fall. The leaves follow later and are heart shaped with beautiful silver markings in a myriad of patterns. Over the 20 or so years that I have grown these plants, they seemed to have moved from where I think I put them to begin with. It is within possibility that the ones I have now reseeded and grew themselves in a different spot.

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