Sunday, March 7, 2010

March Plant of the Month: Cyclamen

From John Gilrein, Plant of the Month Coordinator:

Our March 2010 Plant of the Month is Cyclamen. Our plants will be from Ellen Hornig, one of our members, who has a nursery, Seneca Hill Perennials, in Oswego County, NY. We will have Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen purpurascens, which are both hardy in our area.

C. hederifolium is a fall blooming Cyclamen, and is summer dormant. C. purpurascens is an evergreen, summer blooming Cyclamen. Leaf shape and silver markings on leaves are variable. The leaves can be extremely attractive, even without flowers. A mature C. hederifolium can have a dinner plate sized tuber and hundreds of flowers. The flowers are smaller than florist’s Cyclamen (non-hardy C. persicum), but make up for their smaller size with sheer abundance.

These Cyclamen will perform best in part shade in a humus rich, well drained soil, with a near neutral or alkaline pH. They are tolerant of lower pH conditions, evidenced by growing under Rhododendrons shown in the Cyclamen article (see March newsletter). Cyclamen are tolerant of root competition but intolerant of poor drainage. C. hederifolium should be planted where it will not be disturbed during its summer dormancy. Cyclamen tubers should be planted near the soil surface and mulched. C. purpurascens prefers to stay moist during the summer. Our Plant of the Month will be from a cold greenhouse, so it will need to be acclimatized before planting outside.

Additional cultivation information can be obtained from the Cyclamen Society’s website:
http://www.cyclamen.org/cultiv_set.html

Next month’s Plant of the Month will be dwarf conifers.

1 comment:

Carol at Ithaca NHS said...

John, with wonderful cyclamen and primulas in hand I'm unsure what to do with them. Seems even with hardening off if might be too early to set them outside. Your advice?