Cyclamen is a genus in the subfamily Myrsinoideae of the Primulaceae family. There are about 20 species from central and southern Europe, the Mediterranean region, western Asia and Somalia. Some flower in autumn before their leaves. Others flower throughout the year. Their flowers are white, pink or carmine with scented or unscented flowers and many of their leaves are beautifully marked. The references for this genus are books written by Christopher Grey-Wilson, 1997 and 2003, found listed in References. The Journal of the Cyclamen Society contains a wealth of information, including the latest reports from some of the nomenclatural battles in genus Cyclamen. For more information about this genus, consult The Cyclamen Society’s website. Nomenclature in genus Cyclamen is by no means settled, with the correct classification of Cyclamen repandum and its cousins still a matter of dispute.
All trade with Cyclamen is subject to CITES regulations.
To grow from seed, soak the seeds in luke-warm water for at least a few hours to overnight. To prevent damping off, seeds can be soaked in a 10% Clorox solution (bleach) overnight (Randy Holbert) or very dilute liquid seaweed (Erik van Lennep) to reduce pathogens, especially Fusarium and scarify the seeds. After soaking, the seeds should be sown individually in pots with a peat & perlite mix (Dennis Tsang) because they don't like repotting. Because light inhibits seed germination, cover the pots and keep them at about 16 °C (60 °F). Temperatures above 20 °C (68 °F) for a long period will inhibit germination. However, it should be noted that growers in Australia found that light does not inhibit germination. The seeds should germinate in 21 days, depending on the variety. Place the seedlings in bright indirect light for the first few weeks and transplant them after the first 3-4 true leaves. Good growing temperatures are between 10 °C (50 °F) at night and 21 °C (70 °F) during the day. Seedlings can be fertilized with an 18-8-18 formula, alternating with a calcium nitrate based fertilizer (Randy Holbert).
This anecdotage mostly coincides with research at Reading University sponsored by the Cyclamen Society, which resulted in the "Reading method" of germination.
The first of the photographs below by David Pilling of Cyclamen coum, shows the characteristic way stems coil to take the seed capsules down to ground level, where they are safer and the sweet seed coating may attract ants to take the seed underground. Note that in this state the seed is not necessarily ripe. The second photograph is of seed in the process of germinating, forming pink tubers (a 1 mm scale is shown). For more seed photos see Cyclamen hederifolium. Comparing these photos reveals C. coum spiraling anti-clockwise and C. hederifolium going clockwise.
Cyclamen tubers compares the tubers.
Photos below illustrate some of the leaves.
For more information about and to see images of the species, a hybrid, and sometimes varieties, subspecies, and cultivars of these species click on the names in the table below or go to the species pages linked below.