We have been fascinated with hardy cyclamen since the 1960s, but in recent years have spent a bit of time isolating some of the best silver-leaf variants that showed up in our seed pots and getting these established in the garden. These silver leaf oddities can be found in the wild, although they are fairly rare. In cultivation, however, they come fairly true (50%) from seed.
Through Plant Delights, we offer these as seed strain cultivars, under the names below…when available. A new crop of cyclamen will go on-line January 1, and there are some real beauties. Here are some images from the garden this week. Winter hardiness is Zone 4a-8b.
Here are a couple of images this week from the garden of our older clumps of Cyclamen hederifolium. For garden areas that are dark and dry, where nothing else grows, cyclamen are your best bet. Of the plants below, one is at the base of a cryptomeria and the other at the base of a pine. Although they flower from August until Christmas, the winter foliage is just hard to beat. Hardiness is Zone 4a-8b.
It’s hard to find a cyclamen we don’t love in the winter garden, but we are particularly enamoured with Cyclamen maritimum…formerly a member of the Cyclamen graecum complex. Learn more about growing hardy cyclamen.
When we completed our crevice garden, we wanted to see if it would be a good home to cyclamen, since they like to grow naturally in well drained sites, and sites that are very dry during their late spring/early dormant period. Here, they also get a couple of hours of morning sun, but shade after that and no supplemental water. The soil mix is about 50% Permatill and 50% native soil/compost. Here are some photos recently taken this winter showing how they have fared. The joy of growing cyclamen is that each seedling has a different leaf pattern…what amazing plants!
Cyclamen hederifolium is a great addition to the winter garden. They begin flowering in late fall/early winter before the foliage. When foliage emerges it will remain during the winter. The foliage is quite dramatic with intricate patterning of silver and shades of green. Most hardy cyclamen are grown from seed, so like snowflakes, no two are alike.
Here are some of the cyclamen growing in our crevice garden. Notice the variation in variegation, leaf shape, and differences in flower color.
Tony’s first encounter with hardy cyclamen was in the garden of the late Rachel Dunham of Cary, NC in the 1960s. He was amazed to see what he thought was a rare perennial, seeding all through her woodland lawn and was immediately struck by how tough cyclamen were, and obviously, how easy they were to cultivate. This started him on a lifetime of cyclamen fondness. Here is some of Tony’s insights on growing hardy cyclamen.
Cyclamen coum and Cyclamen hederifolium are the most commonly grown garden species with C. hederifolium blooming in the fall before the foliage emerges and C. coum blooming in the winter. Here are a couple of images of C. hederifolium blooming in the garden.
When we had our new home built, the design resulted in several potential planting areas under a wide overhang that never sees any moisture…unless something akin to a hurricane blows in. The idea was to keep water/irrigation and mulch away from the wood siding. Cyclamen seemed like a good choice for this difficult spot, so our friends Brent and Becky Heath shared some corms of a hardy form of the normally tender Cyclamen persicum. We laid the corms on top of the soil and covered them with 2″ of Permatill (expanded slate that resembles pea gravel), which was then covered by an ornamental layer of river rock. Here are the plants currently after just over 1 year in the ground. The cold last winter burned off all the foliage, but they have all returned. Techniques like this should also work with any of the hardy cyclamen.