I love cyclamens. But I don’t love losing them after a harsh winter.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of hardy cyclamen varieties that will survive the worst the British winter can throw at them.
Hardy Cyclamen varieties
Here is a number of varieties to try that will add both form and colour during any month of the year.
- Alpinum: flowers in early spring. Mid-purple flowers. Sweetly scented.
- Cilicium (sweetly scented): Autumn flowering with Mid-purple or pink flowers
- Coum (very hardy – very popular): Heart shaped leaves. Flowers from January to March. Pink, white or purple.
- Hederifolium (very hardy): Flower from late summer to autumn.
- Intaminatum (nice alpine variety – small flowers): Pale pink or white. Autumn flowering.
- Mirabile (will survice mild frosts): Broad heart-shaped leaves. The flowers are often fragrant. flowers are white to deep pink.
- Purpurascens (very hardy): Carries variegated leaves, and deep pink flowers in summer.
Different Cyclamen varieties prefer different conditions. Most will thrive in partial/deep shade, in a loose, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter mixed into it. Tougher varieties such as C. hederifolium or C. purpurascens can cope with temperatures as low as -10 degrees.
Cyclamen are pretty easy to look after. Once they are established (if under the right conditions), will provide plenty of colour, year after year. My only advice – ensure the plants don’t get too dry during hot summers. A good mulch should help prevent dry-out.
What is so special about Cyclamens?
If I had to take a single flowering plant to a desert island with me, it would have to be the hardy cyclamen. Everything about this woodland perennial is unusual.
Firstly, the flowers (often sweetly scented), open before the leaves appear. They manifest in a variety of shades: pink, white or red, with petals bending upward like flames.
Seconly, the leaves: often heart-shaped, with ivy-like patterns reminiscent to mathematical Mandelbrot fractals.
And finally, just when you think this plant can’t get any stranger, the seed pods ripen and corkscrew into clock-work-like springs and bury themselves into the ground.
Cyclamen will thrive in places where many other plants fear to tread. You can plant them under bushes or trees/woodland garden. My mother-in-law has dozens of cyclamen varieties growing abundantly amongst the thick protruding roots of a silver birch tree. Cyclamen will also readily self-seed – the more the merrier!
More information about hardy cyclamen plants from the RHS.