CYCLAMEN

Hardy cyclamen are plants for the open garden and quite different from those grown as house plants. They are smaller, neater, and do not need the attention given to indoor species of cyclamen.

Suitable site and soil. The ideal soil contains plenty of leafy material and is friable (not necessarily light, but certainly not sticky). Cyclamen vary in their requirements, but in general they are ideally sited in semi-shaded places.

Cultivation and care. Ideally, you should buy cyclamen growing in a pot. Transplant so that the soil level is the same. Dried corms are inexpensive alternatives but take time to establish: 56 plant them on their sides with no more than an inch of soil above them, except for C. repandum, which should be about 7.5cm – 3in deep.

Propagation. Collect seed as soon as the capsules burst and sow it immediately in pots. Prick out after two years.

Recommended varieties. C. neapolitanum (syn. C. hederifo-lium) is autumn flowering with pink or white flowers, patterned leaves, and is very hardy. The winter-flowering C.coum has several forms with red, pink or white flowers and is very hardy. The spring-flowering C. repandum has fragrant pink, carmine or white flowers but needs a mild area. The late summer – early autumn flowering C. europeum (syn. C. purpur-ascens) has scented pink to carmine flowers and is hardy.

Pests and diseases. Hardy cyclamen are trouble-free.

A LOVELY SITE

Cyclamens are at their loveliest when planted around the root base of shady trees but they must be given a leafy or peaty soil initially and watered well until established, if they are to develop and grow satisfactorily.

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