At one time it took an expert to grow first-class cyclamens, but that has changed with the recent introduction of modern FI hybrid varieties, which are available mainly as pot plants and as seed from the larger seed houses.
Cyclamen persicum hybrids, florists’ cyclamen, are dramatic, vigorous, and free-flowering; they are no longer seasonal flowers that appear only in the fall. Hybridists have made it possible for cyclamens to bloom year-round, but these plants tend to be most popular during the winter months.
There are large types, typically reaching 12in/30cm in height and spread, and intermediates, growing to 9in/23cm; both will often have more than 30 flowers on the plant at a time.
Many varieties are available, and the color of their swept-back petals ranges from white to pink, salmon, red, and purple; bicolored flowers are also found. Some cyclamens have frilly petals, and a few varieties have fragrant flowers.
More recently, miniature strains have been developed with small leaves and charming little long-stemmed flowers in white, many shades of pink, red, mauve, and bicolors.
In some varieties of both larger and miniature cyclamens, the leaves are marbled with silver or a different shade of green or have a silver margin.
Although usually treated as annuals, cyclamens can last for several years if the tubers are dried off in the late spring and rested during the summer months.
The foliage of cyclamens may be heavily marbled or bordered with silver and pale green. Still other plants have plain deep green leaves.
Cyclamen flowers may be striped. Above, cerise petals of a large cyclamen have a paler pink stripe. Most plants have flowers that spread sideways, almost like wings.
Frilled petal edges provide a striking variation to the brilliant orange-pink flowers of this intermediate-size cyclamen, which has stems 7-Sin/l 8-20cm long.
The sweet-scented deep pink flowers with fringed borders make this miniature cyclamen extremely attractive. These tiny plants are among the most charming.
Miniature cyclamens, which are 3—5ini 8-13cm high, have dainty flowers anc petite foliage. They will bloom, well some 7-9 months from sowing.
ORIGIN Mediterranean regions; Iran; Europe; hybrids.
HEIGHT 5-12in/13-30cm, with a similar spread.
POTTING MIX Soil-based.
REPOTTING In midsummer, when growth has started, repot rested plants with the tuber only half- buried. Use the same size pot each year; cyclamens flower best if they are slightly pot-bound.
PROPAGATION Divide the tuber into sections at potting time.
Alternatively, sow seed from late summer to early winter. The earlier this is done, the stronger the plant will be for the first season of flowering.
Most varieties take up to 18 months to flower; miniatures may take only half this time. The temperature must be about 70°F/21°C for germination—the highest this plant will ever require.
KEEPING PLANTS After the leaves die down, dry the plant out slightly and rest it in a cool, frost-free place until new growth starts.
Cyclamen Persicum Cyclamens Indoor House PLANT CARE
- Bright, filtered light away from direct sunlight.
- A cool temperature of 55°-65°F/13°-18°C all year.
- Do not pour water onto the tuber, since this will cause it to rot. Water from below, but do not leave the plant standing in water for longer than 10 minutes or so; it does no harm to allow the leaves to droop slightly before applying water.
- Feed with standard liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks while the plant is in bud and flower.
- As flowers fade, remove the entire stalk by twisting it off at the base.
- Remove any yellowing or damaged leaves in the same way. Do not cut the stems.