Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Dirt on...

Cyclamen hederifolium or hardy cyclamen

Cyclamen hederifilium, a hardy perennial, is probably the most widespread and hardy cyclamen specie.  Its natural habitat is in woodlands, scrub land or rocky hillsides from sea level to approximately 1300m.  It is well adapted for wet winters and dry summers. 

The corm is basically a fleshy modified stem that stores the plant's water and energy, with roots that grow from around the top.  The dainty flowers appear in fall (September/October), with the leaves coming at the same time as the flower or after. 

Soil requirements:  cyclamen will grow in any soil but prefers loose, well-drained soil with plenty of compost; they tolerate both acid and alkaline soils
Sun requirements:  cyclamen will grow under a wide range of light conditions but prefers partial to light shade
Water requirements:  drought tolerant
Growing cyclamens:  for instructions, click here
Propagation:  cyclamens are self-pollinating and set seed easily.  The flower stalk curls itself around the seed capsule, drawing the capsules close to the corm.  Once the seed have ripen, the capsule breaks open and seeds can be collected (or seed distribution can be left to nature). 

Enjoy these dainty fall-flowering plants in your garden.

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