The rustic garden cyclamen, not to be confused with the Persian cyclamen, which has a larger size and is generally cultivated as a houseplant, is a plant that produces beautiful flowers, with a delicate appearance and the particular coloring that crosses all shades of pink.
Cyclamen are very welcome guests in our gardens, thanks to the fragrant and lively autumn flowering, the good adaptability and the ability to live in the shade of trees and shrubs creating a carpet of leaves that persists throughout the winter season.
Totally rustic, they resist low temperatures well.
The dense foliage of cyclamen is also very useful to prevent the spread of weeds, thus helping to keep the garden clean and healthy.
They develop very quickly and usually live well also in pots, which must be capacious and placed in a shady or half shade position.
Here, below, some useful information about the main species and some useful tips for the correct cultivation of cyclamen.
Some Species Of Cyclamen
The most common species is the Cyclamen hederifolium, a plant of the Primulacee family of Italian and Greek origin, which grows spontaneously in our undergrowth.
It has typical heart-shaped leaves, with shades ranging from dark green to light green, almost grey.
They are 15 to 20 centimeters high and have groups of pink flowers about 2 to 3 centimeters wide. They appear, usually in shady areas, at the end of August and survive until the following spring.
The Cyclamen coum has more or less the same characteristics as the hederifolium, reaches ten centimeters in height and reproduces quite easily.
Some species, on the contrary, have different characteristics which mainly concern the flowering times. This is the case of the Cyclamen repandum, about 15 cm tall, which produces pink flowers slightly more elongated, from mid to late spring.
The Cyclamen graecum, with very delicate flowers, prefers sunnier positions than the hederifolium, and blooms from late summer to autumn.
Cyclamen Graecum Planting
The cyclamen are equipped with not very big tubers of spherical shape, to be planted preferably in summer, when they are resting.
However, they can be planted at any time of the year. The tubers are to be planted at a distance of about 20 cm from each other, between 3 and 5 cm deep in odd groups of three, five, seven and so on.
The hole must be well wetted and enriched with compost.
After planting, it is necessary to water and mulch with about 5 cm of compost and continue to water regularly.
Ideal Position For Cyclamen
The location does not create any particular problems for cyclamens, as long as the soil is rich in organic substances and well drained, especially at the beginning. Later on, when the plant is more robust, they live well also in a drier soil. An excellent location, as mentioned, is under trees and deciduous shrubs, not only because of the brought shade, but also because the fallen leaves make the soil particularly fertile and rich in nutrients. Avoid, if possible, transplanting.
Fertilization of Cyclamen
Cyclamen do not need massive fertilizers.
Simply spread dehydrated manure around the plant in spring and, in early summer, when the leaves tend to turn yellow, spread a layer of compost around the tufts.
How to Water Cyclamen
Watering the cyclamen must be done regularly but without excess, to prevent the root from rotting or water stagnation to promote the spread of harmful mold. Avoid, however, that the soil remains dry for too long. When the plant is at rest, it is possible to water less frequently.
In autumn it is possible to harvest the seeds that will allow the propagation of cyclamen.
They are enclosed in spherical capsules supported by spiral-shaped stems. Once collected, they are left to soak overnight and then put in pots with soil and sand in equal parts.
After having soaked thoroughly, the pot is to be covered (cellophane may be good) and kept warm, avoiding direct light, and discovered only when the small plants will have come out.
Finally, in autumn, it will be necessary to repot the tubers in single pots.
Cyclamen: Most Common Diseases
One of the most frequent causes of sudden death for cyclamen is the etiorrhinchus, which attacks the roots and tubers.
In this case, it is necessary to treat the soil with nematode products from late spring to mid-August, when the insect lays its eggs underground.
Cyclamen Friendly Plants
Cyclamens are excellent companions of spring tuber plants such as crocuses, anemones and fritillaries, but also of winter plants such as the Christmas rose, to create beautiful simultaneous flowering effects. Excellent and of great visual effect, is the association with snowdrops.