Guide to Growing Sow Bread, Persian violet

Cyclamen is a genus of low growing plants that are hardy perennials.

Depending on the variety Cyclamen may flower anytime from late winter to the autumn.

They have beautiful butterfly like flowers and heart shaped leaves.

Common names include Sow bread and Persian Violets.

Cyclamen picture

Quick Cyclamen Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Sow Bread, Persian violet.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm).
Native: Europe, Mediterranean, Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 5 to 9.
Flowers: Species dependent: Late winter and/or spring and/or summer and/or autumn.
Flower Details: White, purple, pink. Cup-like. Reflexed petals. Five petals.
Foliage: Heart-shaped. Patterned. Ivy-like. Smooth or toothed edge.
Tubers: 1 to 2 inches (3 to 5 cm). Top of the tuber should be at soil surface level. Spacing 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm).
Seeds: 1/4 inch (6 mm). Seeds should first be soaked for one day.
Seed: Method 1: Seeds should first be sown into flats in the autumn. Next sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist. Bring the flats indoors at the beginning of spring and keep at 60°F (16°C).
Seed: Method 2: Sow seeds in a moist growing medium in flats, wrap in a large plastic bag, then stratify by refrigeration for three weeks. Next bury the flat as described above. Once seedlings emerge transplant them to their final location.
Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade. Good drainage. Limy soil, very rich. Keep soil cool. Regular watering when growing. Top dressing of leaf mold should be applied towards the end of summer. Winter mulch. Propagate: by dividing towards the end of summer.
Miscellaneous: Cyclamen gets the name sowbread as they are a favoured food of swine. Attractive to Gothic moths.

How to Grow Cyclamen

Cyclamen can be grown from tubers of from seeds. However, it is quite difficult to grow Cyclamen from seed. Germination of the seeds can take as little as three weeks to over a year! First you will need to soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours. The seeds should then be sown outside in flats that are north facing in the autumn, are the soil kept moist. As soon as spring comes bring the flats containing Cyclamen indoors and keep at a temperature of about 13 degrees Centigrade.
Once seedlings emerge they should be transplanted outdoors at a spacing of 15 cm (Only transplant the Cyclamen seedlings when you are sure that there will be no further frosts). They should be planted into a sunny or lightly shaded area of the garden that has good drainage. Ideally the soil that cyclamen grows in should be rich, cool and a little limy.

Caring for Cyclamen

When growing Cyclamen from tubers then the tubers should be planted at a depth of about 5cm. If you require more Cyclamen plants then the tubers can be divided at the end of summer.

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