cyclamen from seed

aisgecko(7b Raleigh)February 21, 2008

Has anyone grown them from seed? I have several pods and haven't tried. It's not time to harvest them yet, but I'm trying to be ready this year because I'd like more. I'm terribly inconsistent with my care, so seed propagation is not my strong suit. But I want to try. In this area it's hot and humid and all I read is about keeping them cool. Who around here has been able to propagate them by seed? How? I saw someone wintersowed them. Is that the best way? If so, should I keep them in the fridge or anything til next winter?

PS, since my skills are so wanting in this area I could share with more practiced seed sowers. I doubt they'll be ripe by the spring swap though. -Ais.

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Ais I've never grow cyclamen from seed but this link may be helpful: Growing cyclamen from seed

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 10:53AM
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Good website. Thanks. Ais, I grew cyclamen from seed in the winter sowing method using the large milkjugs. They came up the first season, but they were so small that I just opened the jug (for water) during the summer, left them in the shade, and then closed them up again this winter. I will plant out or pot up this spring. I have four jugs, and probably 60+ plants in all. The seeds came from NARGS; I "think" I soaked them. Some are C. coum, but most are C. hederifolium. I like them all but really enjoy the C. coums as they are blooming right now when I don't have anything else in that dry spot. It is interesting that the instructions talk about keeping them moist as seeds but as plants they prefer a very dry shady spot in my area. In Greece I have seen them growing in the hot sun on top of concrete walls where a spot of soil has settled, apparently. I have also had some self-sow in this dry spot along the driveway, but they do not always get to maturity due to the leaf mulch, I would guess. Cyclamens are one of the few non-natives that I have actually spent money on!! Anyway, try them from seed. They were easier and produced more plants than some of my other two-year winter sowing projects.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 8:41AM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

I'm reading with interest your post on propagating cyclamens. Would you tell us how you collect seed? I have C.hederifolium, coum, graecum and mirabile. The hederifolium is spreading fairly well, but I'd love to know how to increase them. Thank you!

On a silly note, a friend gave me a hybrid cyclamen at Christmas time 2 years ago. On a lark, I planted it outside and it's wintered over the past two years and bloomed. It must have some hardy DNA.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 6:40PM
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I did not collect them but got them through the North American Rock Garden Society. I am a member but don't have a rock garden. I joined because they have really great speakers at their monthly meetings in Chapel Hill. You can be a local member or pay extra and be in the national group. With the national membership you are able to get lots of wonderful seeds from all over the world. Although I prefer natives, I do have some interesting non-natives, and cyclamen are one of those. My coums are blooming now, so I will watch for the seeds. I do remember that you are supposed to soak them, at least, with the dried ones I got from NARGS. Maybe if they are fresh that isn't necessary. Glad to hear you were able to keep your Christmas plant. I think I am in a slightly colder zone north of Greensboro. I can't even keep lantana from one year to the next!!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 9:15PM
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Tammy Kennedy

the seed will ripen in the center of a protective coil that the stem forms after the flower blooms. the plant holds it close to the ground. the trick would be in figuring when it's ripe, but before the plants lets go of it. i'd start checking a month or so after it blooms and keep an eye on it to figure out when to grab them. i read somewhere that ants carry off the seeds because the coating is sweet and that's how they get distributed in nature. i'd think that if you picked them fresh you wouldn't need to rehydrate, but you may need to remove that coating.

my hederifolium has started reseeding some in nature. since they are so tiny the first few years, and were all too close, i grabbed as many as i could last year and put them in cell packs to wait a year or two in pots while they size up. i was happy to see that even with the drought and my sporadic watering through the fall, most of them came up in late fall on schedule. the are so tiny they're adorable. the little bulbs were only the size of an 'o' in a sentence last year- long ways to go til they get to the 1/2 dollar size+ that is typically sold.

pam- that's pretty cool about the florist's one managing 2 winters. maybe it'll start to reseed for you and you'll end up with a colony. does it bloom in fall or now for you? that would help narrow down which hardy genes are in there.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 8:39AM
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aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

Thanks for all the advice and experience. I'm pretty sure I have hederifolium. I've been meaning to get more kinds.
I haven't had babies from mine, but that could be from the heavy leaf fall in that area. Last year I missed the seeds bursting so I'm trying to keep a close eye on them this year. I have heard that late spring, early summer is when they ripen.
Pam, that's pretty neat about your florist cyclamen. I've been tempted to buy one and plant it out to see if it lives. Sometimes when they get ratty or stop blooming you can get them cheap. -Ais.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:57AM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

Thank you everyone for all the great information. I have seen those little coiled up stems at the base of the plant after they bloom. My little plot has grown from 3 tubers to an area about 2 square feet in 2 years. I'm happy to know that I can pot them up and transplant them to another spot.

I found this interesting article on propagation that you might like.


Here is a link that might be useful: Cyclamen propagation article

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:47PM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

tamelask, It would be interesting if it the hybrid did reseed, wouldn't it! And I wonder if it would revert back to a parent plant...C. persicum?

Re: the hybrid I planted outside. I planted it out in April of 2006. It has a different bloom time than the hederifoliums. The first year it started blooming in can imagine what a struggle it was probably having. I think it started blooming sooner than that in 2007. It will be fun to see what it does this year. It has come up and has 10 leaves or so at this point. I was feeling cocky so planted another one last spring. I think the drought got it.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:09PM
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aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

Pam, I would assume it's C. persicum since it was sold as an indoor plant. But who knows... I think you should try and get some seeds if you can. And once you grow some you can share with your good gardenweb friends.... :-D
Be careful if you dig up the tubers to replant. Sometimes the leaves wander quite far from the original tuber. Hopefully you have several, but I have gotten quite a wide spread from just one tuber.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:41AM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

I will watch for seeds on the "store bought" cyclamen and report back if I ever get to see it produce them. I think I will "gingerly" try to lift a tuber or two from my clump and replant them. I'll wait until we get some warmer weather, but I'll let you know how that goes.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:50PM
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Tammy Kennedy

i think i'd wait til they're dormant to replant. then you can mess around without worries of injury. they are cast iron when they're asleep.

cool article on germination. i may try to collect some of mine and try sometimes. i guess mine didn't reseed sooner because of the heavy leaf cover. they definitely wander a ways on spindly stems- one bunch of leaves can be 8-10" wide on a mature tuber.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 10:48AM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

Thanks, tamelask! I'll take your advice.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 9:06PM
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