Cyclamen persicum- Family Primulaceae
With their winter blossoms of reflexed petals that look like a shooting star hanging inches above the foliage, these lovely plants are growing in popularity as a seasonal centerpiece to the holiday home. You would not think so to look at it, but this beautiful, seemingly delicate, fall and winter blossoming plant is native to rocky hillsides and shrubby woodlands from south Central Turkey down to Israel, Jordan, and Algeria. The name comes from the Greek ‘Kylos’, meaning circle. It can also be found in Tunisia and the Greek Islands.
With its mounding habit, it is perfect to bring indoors as a container plant for the colder seasons where most flowering plants are not blooming. In fact, it is often called florists Cyclamen, and is a seasonal substitute for Poinsettias. It will blossom year after year, if cared for properly. It prefers filtered light, well-drained soil, and water only when dry. Overwatering, heat, and extreme light are all damaging to Cyclamen. Indoors, they will appreciate a small bowl of water nearby to evaporate and provide humidity. Fertilize every 2 weeks with a low nitrogen liquid fertilizer to keep the blossoms coming. When the blossoms loose vitality, gently grab the stem towards the base at the soil, and pull the stem straight up. This will keep your plant blooming fresh and lovely for months. In March, the beautiful heart shaped leaves will yellow and die back. At this time, remove the foliage and the bulb from the pot, re-pot bulb with the top portion above the soil, and leave it alone until you see signs of life (Sept-Nov.), then re-start normal care. Please keep in mind that the bulbs are semi-poisonous, and may harm your animal if ingested.
There are 3 types of Cyclamen: mini (M), Intermediate (I), and Standard (S). Here at Clearwater Color we mostly grow the Intermediate ‘Laser’ and ‘Latinia’ series. They have similar foliage size, but the ‘Latinia’ flower blooms are larger than the ‘Laser’ series. If you see “Sterling” in the name, this refers to an increased silver-grey coloring to the foliage. All of our Cyclamen have a beautiful white variegated design on the leaves. Some of them have a lovely delicate fragrance. The ‘Flame’ series dazzles the eye with a stark white rim around the flower petal tips. We also grow the ‘Metis Victoria Deco Mix’, of the mini variety, great for the time honored tradition of giving a flowering plant as a gift during the holiday season. We over-head water our Cyclamen plants, making them more landscape hardy, so if you wish to have a showy fall garden, put them in the ground under larger plants for shade, and enjoy! We are selling them in 4” squares, and 4.5” rounds. Check out our website www.clearwatercolor.com to see photos of some of the varieties we are growing.