Cyclamen persicum: Christmas delights

cycpersicum-red

We are in the midst of stuffing ourselves and our eyes are square with watching Christmas specials. The thought of another chocolate makes us feel bilious and all we want is soda water and grapes and just a walk and fresh air sounds like heaven. Yes, I succumbed to a (locally grown) poinsettia – yes a red one – and the hyacinths have got to the stage where the lovely perfume is changing to mildly unpleasant that is a sign that some of the flowers are fading and they will need to be booted out into the garden very soon. But the cyclamen are still delightful.

You can’t beat cyclamen for colour and grace and they are my favourite winter pot plants. Being a pragmatist, this is partly because I don’t live in a house that encourages walking around naked and that temperature regime suits cyclamen perfectly! These long-lived plants are derived from the almost-hardy Cyclamen persicum which has the same growing regime as the hardy C. coum and C. hederifolium, starting to grow in autumn and taking a summer rest. Cyclamen have been bred so that they can be easily raised from seed and flower in less than a year from sowing. This has been done through the development of F1 hybrids with great vigour that will flower for winter from a spring sowing. This was unheard of when I started growing and at the garden centre I worked at when as school we potted seedlings in spring that had been sown the previous autumn and they were ready to sell about 15 months after sowing. These were large-flowered tetraploids (four sets of chromosomes that are associated with larger flowers and more intense flower colours) but they have been replaced by F1 hybrids which are superior.

Another recent introduction are the small, often fragrant, ‘hardy’ types which also make wonderful pot plants for a cool room. They have the full colour range, often have beautiful marbled or silver foliage and are frequently fragrant.

cycpersicum-pink

Cyclamen like the wind in their sails and dream of bright days and cool nights and if you put them in a dark, stuffy, warm room they will pine away. Most importantly, they must have air circulation around their ankles. This is because they are often potted deep in the compost and if water stays around the base of the leaves or flower stems they will rot, with grey mould, and this can quickly cause the whole plant to collapse.

A few pointers:

Never buy them if they are in plastic sleeves – rot may have already set in

Do not buy them if there are yellow leaves or the plants or leaves are wet and have been watered overhead

Put on a windowsill or near the window so they have good light

Put them on a saucer or in a pot holder that is the right size so the plant is not sunk deep below the rim – or mould can set in

Water only from below – never so water can get between the leaves

Remove yellow leaves and fading flowers immediately – twist the stem through about 180% and give a sharp tug. If you cut off the stems the bit left behind will rot.

Allow them to almost dry out between waterings – slight wilting will do no harm.

Keep them cool – 10c is perfect and they will tolerate all the way down to 3c or so without harm.

Apply an occasional feed. In theory the plants will rest in summer but often they will keep growing and they can flower throughout spring and summer – especially the smaller kinds.

cycpersicum-white

Pale flowers and yellow leaves, and loose, floppy growth are a sign of too little light and too much warmth.

 

, , , ,

4 Comments on “Cyclamen persicum: Christmas delights”

  1. joy
    December 26, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    ty for the tips such lovely plants and yours look perfect . I did laugh about the chocolates if only I could could feel ill at the thought of chocs every day could easy shed a few stone .

  2. digwithdorris
    December 26, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

    Love em

  3. Meriel Murdock
    December 30, 2016 at 6:45 pm #

    Wishing you a Happy New Year. Great tips, thanks for the reminder. Mine are lovely in pots this year. Particularly good plants- which is not always the case, as you point out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Sweetgum and Pines

gardening in the North Carolina piedmont

Ravenscourt Gardens

Learning life's lessons in the garden!

RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

IGPS Blog

The Irish Garden Plant Society - Lovers of Irish plants and gardens

AltroVerde

un altro blog sul giardinaggio...

vegetablurb

four decades of organic vegetable gardening and barely a clue

The Long Garden Path

A walk round the Estate!

The Tropical Flowering Zone

Photographic Journals from the Tropics

Flowery Prose

Growing words about writing, gardening, and outdoors pursuits in Alberta, Canada.

ontheedgegardening

Gardening on the edge of a cliff

Uprooted Magnolia

I am a freelance Photographer born and raised in the Southeast. I have uprooted my life in Macon Georgia for a new life as an unlikely cowgirl in love with a handsome cowboy in Wyoming. I hope you enjoy my photo journal on life, love, and the spirit of Wyoming.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Garden Variety

A Gardening, Outdoor Lifestyle and Organic Food & Drink Blog

For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

One Bean Row

Words and pictures from an Irish garden by Jane Powers

Plant Heritage

The world's leading garden plant conservation charity

HERITAGE IRISES

An English experience of gardening in Ireland - and back in the UK

%d bloggers like this: