Plottings: Your Garden Now

Cyclamen indoors and out

The first cyclamen of the season arrive in August, and by September we will have plenty of different ones in stock. We are often asked about hardiness and the easiest way to know if a cyclamen is hardy is simply, the bigger and showier the flowers, the less likely it is to be suitable for outdoors all year round.

Cyclamen Hederifolium and c. Coum. are both wonderful hardy ground cover varieties, both with RHS AGM awards. They are ideal for naturalising in a shady border, on banks or under trees, and of course for your winter planters. Hederifolium reaches us in late August, in shades of pink and white, with marbled foliage. It flowers for long periods and, if you are lucky, it will self-seed.

Cyclamen Coum, with its pink flowers and dark green kidney-shaped leaves is later, flowering normally from January-March. However this can vary and it has been know for us to have them in, and in flower, as early as October.

Tips on growing hardy cyclamen
Don’t plant too deep, they don’t like it! They appreciate partial shade and fairly well-drained, reasonably fertile soil. Mulch once a year with leaf mould - or bark chips are good in frost prone areas.

What to do with your indoor, potted cyclamen
Cyclamen make lovely winter houseplants. Removing stems once each flower has finished will keep them producing more over a long period. However, you then have the question of what to do with it for the rest of the year. The best plan is to simply allow it to dry out completely in Spring and pop it in a cool dark, dry place such as a shed. There it will sleep until August, when its roots start to develop again and you should repot it if necessary. Give it a little water if potting on and, in September start watering regularly and leaves should appear; with luck you will have flowers by Christmas.

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