Cyclamen bloom sequence

Jane McGary
Fri, 14 Mar 2008 10:32:49 PDT
Mary Sue mentioned that she had trouble with Cyclamen coum rotting. This 
surprised me, because it's very wet and significantly colder where I live, 
and here C. coum is a standard garden subject. Possibly the tubers were 
damaged by rodents, which introduced rot. It's also surprising that our 
western American rodents don't feast on our cyclamen, because I think in 
Europe there are animals that eat the tubers. Regarding the bloom period of 
this plant, here in Oregon it normally flowers in January through March, 
but I have had individual plants in containers that bloomed at other times, 
including one that flowered almost constantly over a year and a half. After 
I planted it out in the garden, however, it assumed a normal flowering cycle.

Adaptability of the various species to outdoor cultivation in the Pacific 
Northwest falls somewhere between what can be attained in California and in 
the American Northeast and the UK. Species I have had in the open for 
several years include hederifolium (a basic ground cover around here), 
coum, repandum, cilicium (killed in coldest winters), graecum, mirabile, 
and pseudibericum. The others I grow either in the bulb frame or in a 
frost-free solarium. The bloom sequence is about as Mary Sue listed it, but 
the spring-flowering species start later here; for instance, pseudibericum 
has been in flower for about 3 weeks, and repandum is just emerging.

C. purpurascens does not flourish or flower here, and I think it needs a 
pronounced winter dormancy and perhaps more summer water, since it does so 
well in colder parts of North America.

Yesterday I was admiring the foliage of plants grown from Scottish Rock 
Garden Club seed under the name C. rhodense, otherwise regarded as a 
subspecies of C. repandum. The leaves have the usual gray-green "fir tree" 
zone, but overlying this are random flecks of white as if someone had 
shaken a paintbrush over the leaves. It's in the bulb frame and I wouldn't 
risk it outdoors until it produces some seedlings.

No one has mentioned C. persicum, the ancestor of the florists' cyclamen, 
but the wild forms are surprisingly cold-hardy. Those in my bulb frame have 
survived 20 degrees F (minus 6 C) without damage. It's as easy to grow from 
seed as other species and should be tried more, because it has wonderfully 
fragrant flowers, usually very pale pink but large and long-lasting.

A friend in Portland, Oregon grew the rare C. rohlfsianum outdoors under 
Douglas firs, where it enjoyed shelter and dryness and became magnificently 
large. I'll probably move mine outdoors eventually, since the property I'm 
buying in the city is badly infested with these trees, some of which are 
too large to contemplate removing.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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