Some of you will know places where cyclamens do well. In Victoria, B.C. especially in gardens that have been neglected, you can witness literal invasions of cyclamens. Not only do they grow without any of the TLC I have to provide them with in my own garden to simply insure they survive, but in some cases, they seem intent on taking over whole gardens.
|Cyclamens on the move in a lawn|
|Cyclamens invading a rock garden|
There are many species, but I find it difficult to differentiate them by sight. The colour of the flowers and the marking on the leaves are no help as they vary a fair bit within a species. The two species that do best at my place are the hederifolium, which bloom in autumn, and the purpurascens, which bloom from June to September. The are all growing together, so I cannot really tell them apart. I presume that the summer bloomers are purpurascens. I also have a cyclamen coum in a different part of the garden. However coum is not appropriate to my climate, because in order to see its blooms, I have to shovel off the snow in late winter!
Not only do cyclamens succeed rather well here in Victoria, but their corms can grow to impressive size. The corm on the following picture grows in a public garden here in Victoria. Contrarily to what you would expect, the dinner plate size corms do not seem to produce proportionally bigger plants.
|Large cyclamen corm|
I have found that the secret to success with them, at least in my part of the world, is leaf mould. They seem to respond very well to a good litter of leaves and will even self seed (very moderately in my own garden). Self-seeding of cyclamens puzzles me. When I read germinating instructions from experts, I am surprised how much they stress that total darkness is required. Some authorities say you cannot even peep at the covered seeds to check if they have started to germinated! This seems suspicious because how would seeds manage to germinate in nature as obviously when they are growing outside they do not get such consistent darkness. Yet, as some of these pictures show, given the right conditions, they can self-seed ferociously.
|More invading cyclamens|