The Q&A Archives: Growing Hardy Cyclamen

Question: Nearly every year I succumb to the lure of Hardy Cyclamen. I buy the tiny tubers, follow package directions (light shade, humusy soil, not too deep), I plant and I wait. To this date I have yet to see one sign of cyclamen. What's the secret?

Answer: All kinds of cyclamen grow best in fairly rich, porous soils with lots of humus. Plant tubers 6"-10" apart and cover with 1/2" soil. The best planting time is while the tubers are dormant. . Hardy cyclamen (such as Cyclamen coum or C. hederifolium) generally does best in partial shade and well-drained soil. It grows slowly, with the clump expanding little by little over the years and occasionally seeding down nearby. Normally, the flowers and foliage appear together in the fall, and the plant goes dormant for the rest of the year. Generally speaking this is not a very demanding plant and does its best when left undisturbed.

I'm not sure why nothing is showing up after you plant your cyclamen, other than the tubers are rotting in soil that's kept too moist, or that you're expecting spring growth from a fall blooming plant. Wait and watch for signs of life in the autumn months - you may be pleasantly surprised!

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