Cyclamen is a genus of plants known best for the florist cultivars of large, boldy-coloured flowers and dramatic mottled foliage grown as decorative, seasonal or short-lived pot plants. Many people remain unaware that there are species that are hardy in temperate gardens.
The hardy Cyclamen are most commonly represented in horticulture by C. coum, the Persian violet hardy to zone 6, and C. hederifolium, the ivy-leaved cyclamen hardy to zone 5. As with all Cyclamen, these species grow from rounded to disc-shaped corms that sit just below the soil surface. The flowers and leaves of the hardy species are smaller and daintier than the florist Cyclamen yet they are just as beautiful with their shades of whites, pinks, and magentas and their beautiful mint green and silver mottled leaves which are heart- or kidney-shaped in C. coum and ivy-shaped in C. hederifolium.
The life history strategies of the hardy Cyclamen also make them interesting and useful in the garden. They are dormant during the summer heat and appreciate a dry situation at this time. They emerge into flower and leaf in fall and winter remaining green until the summer heat returns again.
C. hederifolium is the first to emerge from summer dormancy. On the West Coast the flowers will often emerge on their own any time from late summer to October. They can be accompanied by the leaves or the leaves can emerge during or after flowering. Once flowering is completed, the foliage will fully emerge and remain as a lush groundcover through winter and spring, going dormant again by summer.
C. coum follows much the same pattern but emerges from dormancy later, any time from October to March also going dormant by summer.
In colder zones, winter temperatures will likely stop growth during the cold months. C. hederifolium is likely to come into bloom in late summer and fall and overwinter its tough leaves beneath the snow. C. coum will most likely emerge into flower and foliage in early spring.
The hardy Cyclamen are excellent plants for the shade garden including dry shade. C. hederifolium offers a surprise of colour in the fall garden. C. coum is an excellent companion for hellebores and spring bulbs. The hardy Cyclamen also make excellent pot specimens which allows them to be enjoyed up close. They do very well in small clay pots topped with a small stones or chicken grit.
Cyclamen are threatened or endangered in their native regions and their international trade is highly restricted. Our corms are of garden origin, not collected from the wild, and enter Canada with all the appropriate paperwork.
At Phoenix Perennials, we offer a number of hardy Cyclamen each year for pre-ordering through the summer and fall for pick-up or shipping in late September and early October. From July to October you can order at https://mailorder.phoenixperennials.com. Should supplies last, we may also have them available potted up in early spring.