How to Grow Cyclamen persicum Plants in your Garden
Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Persian Cyclamen / Florist’s Cyclamen
The Cyclamen persicum plant is great to grow for those looking for a little winter color in their garden (though they may need to be grown in containers and brought indoors as a colorful winter houseplant in areas that drop beneath about 5°C (41°F) in the winter.
The plant is a shade lover that is naturally found growing in rocky areas beneath shrubs, so it can make a great plant to grow alongside your shrubs and small trees. It is also a great companion plant for Snowdrops, Hellebore and Wake Robin.
Cyclamen persicum at Kew Gardens photograph by chipmunk_1.
It has very pretty flowers, that are resemblant of butterflies in flight, carried on leafless stems, and basal dark green (sometimes silver variegated) heart shaped leaves.
The leaves are from 2.5 to 12 cm (1 to 5 inches) in length and form attractive mounds, that can reach a height level with the blooms (20 cm / 8 inches).
The blooms can last for as long as three months. In addition to the normal winter flowering season, cultivars are available that bloom from autumn or into the spring.
Plants are native to the coastal areas and islands of the Eastern Mediterranean, from Turkey's Aegean Coast down to the North of Israel.
This range includes many major Greek islands such as Cyprus, Crete, Kos, and, Rhodes; though more northerly islands are likely to have Cyclamen graecum growing there.
‘Silver Leaf’: Cultivar native to Libya with Silver colored leaves.
‘Album’: Cultivar native to Israel, pure white flowers, variable leaves.
‘Tilebarn Karpathos’: Twisted leaves, bright deep red flowers.
Quick Growing and Care Guide
Scientific Name:Cyclamen persicum
Common Name (s): Persian Cyclamen, Florist’s Cyclamen
Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 9 to 11 / H1C - outside in the summer - above 5°C (41°F)
Life Cycle / Plant Type: Long-lived Frost tender bulb
Plant Height: 4 to 10 inches (10 to 25 cm)
Plant Spread: 4 to 12 inches (10 to 30 cm)
Blooms: Winter through to Early Spring. Some cultivars start to bloom in the autumn, while some last well into the spring.
Flower Details: Showy. Resemble flying butterflies. Curved reflexed petals that point upwards. Red, Rose, Pink, White, Violet, Lavender. Hybrids may have red centers.
Leaf Foliages: Cordate. Fleshy. Compact. Basal. Dark Green above, sometimes purplish below. Variegated and marbled silver or white. Leafless stems. Some cultivars have toothed leaves.
Fruit: Capsules. Naturally get buried in the soil as the stems bend downwards following fruit formation.
Best Light Conditions: Partial shade to Full shade
Suitable Soil Types: Good Drainage. Loam, Light, organic.
Suitable Soil pH: Slightly acidic for best results.
Soil Soil Moisture: Medium.
Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Seeds If sowing, then use fresh seeds only. Cover seeds, sow indoors in the dark. Germination takes about three to four weeks at a temperature of 15 to 18°C (60 to 65°F). Transplant seedlings into pots or containers and grow indoors. Place containers or transplant outdoors in the second summer or early autumn for a winter bloom. Space Cyclamen at about 15 cm (6 inches). Seed grown Cyclamen persicum typically take about 18 months to bloom.
Tuber / Bulbs Plant the bulbs in late summer or at the beginning of autumn. Make a hole about 8 to 10 cm deep (3 to 4 inches). Plant the tuber so that its top will be about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) beneath the surface, then cover. Newly planted Cyclamen bulbs and plants should be watered a couple of times per week to keep soil moist throughout autumn. Add a thin layer of leaf litter mulch to help create a humid environment.
Propagate Divide Cyclamen tubers every three years when dormant (Summer).
Care: Grow in containers in colder areas and bring indoors overwinter before night-time temperatures drop to 6 to 10°C (43 to 50°F). Keep indoors at about 18°C (65°F) in indirect light. Supply light mulch with leaf litter if growing outdoors over the winter. Water regularly from autumn. Occasional watering after blooming. No need to water while plants are dormant in the summer. Supply a weak autumn feed (once a fortnight, low-nitrogen). Shelter from wind if necessary. If good Cyclamen care is taken plants may live for more than 20 years.
Best used for: Great under shrubs. Rock gardens. Deer Tolerant Plant. Containers, Flower boxes, Hanging baskets.
Miscellaneous: Cyclamen meaning: Often given to people as a sign of respect and sincerity. The naming of this genus comes from the Greek word for circle 'kýklos' (after the round Cyclamen tubers). Poisonous roots used to be ground down and scattered in lakes to catch fish in mass. Also used to make a soap.
Buying Cyclamen Plants: If purchasing from a nursery or garden center then ensure that the leaves are sturdy, and that the plant carries lots of buds that have yet to open.