Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Cyclamen ( ciclamen )

The tag on these plants claims they are annuals. But I am told that they will disappear in the heat of summer and reappear and re-flower come fall. So don’t be too quick to tear them out or plant over them. They will grow to about 6″ tall and spread to about 18″ across. They should naturalize and spread in Houston.

Cyclamens come in white, pinks, and reds. The leaves are dark and medium green and quite intricately decorated. They are not related to primroses despite their appearance. In the wild they often grow in olive groves in large masses.

These are an excellent choice for a shade garden or a heavily treed area of your garden. They want very little sun and you do not plant them deep so it is easy to work them in around tree roots.

Soil should be moist but well drained. They will rot over the summer dormant cycle if kept in standing water. They will wilt if they are not getting enough water.

You may have to guard against squirrels making off with the corms during the dormant time.

If you buy the corms instead of plants plant them just below the soil surface.

Cyclamens had passed beneath my radar all these years. I first ran across them as a houseplant. They have been a popular houseplant in Europe since the 1600s. By the 1800s the scent had been bred out of them in an effort to improve the flower appearance and they became even more popular as a house plant. Lately they are gaining popularity as a houseplant in the US.

In England it was believed if a pregnant woman stepped over cyclamens she would miscarry, so they were often fenced off in the garden.

Recently I met someone who raved about her cyclamens which were blooming through December and January of this year. That’s what sold me on these plants and I’m hoping for a beautiful winter display next year.  As I write this in April they are still blooming.

They came, they bloomed, they died, Houston summers are just too warm for them.

More information:
The Cyclamen Society
The Hardy Cyclamens