How To Grow - Cyclamen

Cyclamen are hardy plants, flowering through the winter. They will bloom profusely in shady locations – their dense mats of marbled oval to round leaves with delicate shell-like flowers floating above in shades of pink and white providing distinctive and stunning colour to your garden. We’ve put together this step by step guide to planting out and caring for your cyclamen.

Basics

Cyclamen are tuberous plants which thrive in a woodland environment. They are versatile, low-maintenance and robust. They are perfectly complemented by ferns and snowdrops - producing a varied woodland carpet of foliage and flower.

When and where to plant

Drier soil and shadier conditions will not adversely affect cyclamen, which have adapted to these conditions – making them ideal for under planting beneath deciduous plants. The soil should be well draining; it is also worth applying mulch to the ground every spring. The soil pH is not a key factor. For autumn bedding – ensuring a display in the spring – plant out your plug plants from mid to late September, depending on the size of the plants acquired. Grow on plants indoors until they reach 8 to 10 cm in height at which point they’re ready to plant out. Alternatively you can plant corms out in mid November.

How to plant

For container planting, fill a container up to three quarters full with multipurpose compost. Carefully remove the plant from its tray or pot and place in position. Fill the container back in with soil and gently firm down. Water in generously. Always keep the plants well watered. For open planting, dig a hole with a trowel to the same size as the plant’s root ball and place the plant in position. Fill in the hole and gently firm down. Water immediately.

To plant out a corm, note that the top side of the tuber is concave, the under side is convex. Shallow plant the tuber, top side up, so only about an inch of soil covers it. For best results start off in a seed tray in compost; once it has got started it can be moved outside into the ground.

Flowering

The foliage combines with the delicate jewel-like flowers to produce a particular, striking effect. Colours extend beyond the traditional pink and white, to purple and carmine, with foliage patterned and shaped in different ways. Once the temperatures start to rise during the onset of summer, the cyclamen plant will enter its period of dormancy until the cooler air of autumn and the new growing season.

Plant care

Leaves will begin to shrivel back in the late spring, and die back during the summer. One essential factor in growing cyclamen is not to over-water them. If the soil is too heavily clay based you can try digging grit into it to make it more suitable for cyclamen. If the crown or bud of the cyclamen appears to be suffering damage this may be caused by cyclamen mites – if the damage continues, remove the plant and destroy it.

Did you know

Cyclamens will self-seed, and will spread to cover a large area. Collect the seed when the seed capsules split in the summer and grow this on in trays of seed compost for a year before planting out.


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