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Cyclamen persicum
Cyclamen persicum

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Zones 2-9, 14-24, 32-41
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Full, Partial
Regular Water

Cyclamen coum

Bulbs and bulblike plants, Ground covers, Perennials, Flowers


Native to Europe, the Mediterranean region, and Asia. Grown for pretty flowers carried atop an attractive clump of basal leaves; blossoms resemble shooting stars or butterflies and typically come in white and shades of pink, rose, and red. Most go through near-leafless or leafless dormant period at some time during the summer.

Large-flowered florists’ cyclamen (C. persicum) is most often seen as a container-grown gift plant, though it can be used as a bedding plant in favorable climates. The other species described here are smaller-flowered, hardier plants better adapted to outdoor culture. Use them in rock gardens, in naturalized clumps under trees, or as carpets under camellias, rhododendrons, and large noninvasive ferns; hardy types also grow well under native oaks. All are good container plants if grown out of direct sun.

All cyclamens grow best in fairly rich, porous soil with lots of humus. Plant tubers 6–10 in. apart, 1/2 in. deep. (Florists’ cyclamen is an exception: the upper half of the tuber should protrude above soil level.) Best planting time for tubers is dormant period in summer—except for florists’ cyclamen, which is always sold as a potted plant and can be planted out anytime. Topdress annually with a light application of potting soil with complete fertilizer added (being careful not to cover top of florists’ cyclamen tubers). Do not cultivate around roots.

Plants grow readily from seed. Small-flowered hardy species take several years to bloom; older strains of florists’ cyclamen need 15 to 18 months from seed, while newer strains can bloom 7 months after planting. Grown outdoors in open ground, plants often self-sow.

Cyclamen coum

Deep crimson-rose flowers on 4–6-in. stems in winter and early spring. Round deep green leaves. Varieties with pink or white flowers are available.

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