Wild Cyclamen

dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)September 14, 2009

We have some miniature pink cyclamen blooming in a wild area of our property! Is this plant native to our area, or has it been brought in by bird or animals? The first flowers showed up before our first rain, looking quite limp, but a plant that can withstand this long, hot summer with absolutely no water is a winner. Especially, when it's so pretty.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

None are native to North America. Cyclamen hederifolium often reseeds in gardens here.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 4:51PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Ok, thanks. Now, I have seen these blooming in the springtime under rhodies. Do you know what kind they are?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 6:59PM
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Late winter/early spring bloom will be Cyclamen coum. Late summer/early fall will be C. hederifolium. There's a couple of other hardy species, but the above are the most common. And yes, they like it dry in summer :-)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 8:44PM
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CathyJ(USDA-8 West WA)

I have these scattered far afield from where they were originally planted in my yard. Don't know if it's the wind or critters.

These are one of the most fascinating plants I have ever grown. Watch the flowers after they have died; the stems will start to curl into a spiral as the seed head develops. They will spend the winter nestled into the ground, all curled up. The seeds will be ripe in the summer, although you will have to watch them carefully if you want to harvest them. I have patiently waited, checking them each day for ripeness, only to have some critter steal them just as they were starting to pop. Should you be so lucky as to not have them stolen, check the crown of the plant. You may see lots of small leaves nestled amongst the leaves of the corm.

These are very easy to grow from seed.


Cathy in Olympia

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 9:46PM
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I feed them with dolomite lime and a little NPK fertilizer in early spring. The bulbs get to be several inches across in a few years.

Cyclamen seeds get distributed by ants.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 8:14AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Lilydude beat me to it, ants are the little imps that cart the seed around, I've got them popping up in my gravel path. If you're interested in growing from seed Ashwood Nursery in England has an extensive list to choose from. I've had good luck with their Hellebore seed, a friend has grown some beautiful Cyclamen from their seed.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 10:56AM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Hi AM & Lilydude. Who would think ants are the distributors? We sure have lots of those! I'll follow your suggestions as to lime & NKP -- it's amazing that they live through the neglect, heat & lack of water, so if I can help, I will. They are sweet little things, aren't they..

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 6:10PM
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The ants also collect seeds of Erythronium and Trillium, among others.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 8:15PM
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I'm not at all sure I see a need for lime.....or for much fertilizing, either. One of the ideal locations for growing these corms is under rhodies or other woodland garden type plants. This provides the shady location they require, generally offers well draining soils and an adequate degree of organic matter. And as most of these situations also tend to favor plants that prefer acidic soil conditions and minimal fertilization, the lime and any supplemental fertilizing seem to be contraindicated. Or unnecessary :-)

In my former garden, I had a very large colony of Cyclamen hederifolium growing at the base of a large Doug fir in amongst some deciduous azaleas, a viburnum, an enkianthus and several rhododendrons. Other than occasional mulching with compost, no other amendments were ever provided. When I moved, a friend and I dug up the corm - a good 10-12" across - and transported it to his garden for safekeeping and possible reclamation for my future garden.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 9:29AM
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I have a corm the size of a dinner plate. I have never bothered with lime or fertilizer. Like Gardengal, I try to keep my soil fed instead. I wish the C. coum would seed itself around like the C. hederifolium does, but maybe there are not enough pollinators in the winter when it blooms. I've never seen mine set seed.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 2:59PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

Are you telling me that one corm gets that big? I just bought a couple of normal sized corms to enjoy closer to the house and I'm trying to decide where to locate them. Obviously, it has to be somewhere that doesn't get sprinkled daily...

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 3:15PM
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CathyJ(USDA-8 West WA)

Everything that I have seen says that these corms should be planted in a semi-shady location. I have some in those conditions as well as some planted behind a cement wall in the blazing sun. Those in the sun look phenomenal, while those in the shade look just OK. The former have very good drainage and get very little water while the latter have average drainage and get fairly regular water. The corms in the sun are well over twenty years old and nearly a foot across. Fifteen or so years ago when in The Netherlands I bought corms that were about 7 - 8 inches across ($3 for $10), the largest I have ever seen for sale anywhere. Looking back, I realize, regrettedbly, they were probably gathered from the wild.

Also, I should have clarified that while the ants do indeed carry off the seeds, the critters that steal my seeds steal the pods with the seeds inside, just nip them right off, undoubtedly a mammal, I'm thinking probably a mouse.

Cathy in Olympia

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 5:26PM
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