Cyclamen Care Guide (Indoor Vs Outdoor)

On this page, each species of Cyclamen is discussed in detail. Cyclamen persicum may take on a variety of shapes, including the pot and the “Florist’s Cyclamen.” However, my preference goes for wild plants since they are less difficult to cultivate. The many types of cyclamen are very lovely and enjoyable to cultivate. Their flowers might have the cheeky dumpy form of Cyclamen coum or the beautiful and graceful form of Cyclamen persicum. Their colors range from pristine white to delicate pinks to lively magentas that enliven the dead of winter. The fragrance of many of them is excellent, and even when they are not in bloom, their foliage is beautiful, with silvery markings on the leaves and every conceivable shade of green.

Cyclamen hederifolium, C.purpurascens, C.cilicium, and C.coum are all garden plants that are able to withstand adverse conditions and are simple to cultivate. The use of others, such as C. libanoticum, C. intaminatum, and C. repandum, may also be attempted depending on the district and the aspect. The vast majority of species like to live in wooded areas and tolerate some level of shade.

The ones that are less cold-resistant may be grown in frames or greenhouses, and there are even some species that can be grown on the window sill of your kitchen.

You may acquire plants belonging to the Cyclamen genus in one of four primary methods. The initial presentation is as dried corms that are loose and rootless. Garden centers are a good place to look for them, and they are inexpensive. Unfortunately, some of them may still be wild-collected, and since they have been removed from the ground for such a prolonged period of time, many of them may not grow very well, if at all. The second way is as newly unearthed dormant tubers that are loose (this will be what you may get from mail order specialist growers). You may also purchase potted plants, either one that is actively growing or ones that are dormant. Cyclamen are sensitive to disruption, which is why growing them in containers is usually the best solution for established plants. The third option is to start from seed and cultivate your own plant, which is likely to result in the biggest harvest. Cyclamen seeds typically take one to two years to germinate, but it might take as long as three to four years for the plant to produce flowers. When growing cyclamen from seed, not only do you increase the number of plants you end up with but also the variety of cyclamen you end up with is fantastic. Seed is often the simplest and most convenient approach to getting unusual varieties.

Cyclamen cyprium

Cyclamen cyprium is a member of the family that has a reputation for being a bit of a Cinderella. Roy Elliott described it as “not the nicest of the race and difficult to blossom…” and noted that it blooms in the middle of winter. I believe that nowadays most the people would state that it blossoms in the fall; nevertheless, I have plants that continue to preserve their flowers all the way into February. It is rather distinctive since it is often white in color, has a strong fragrance, and has auricles that are pink in color. Additionally, its leaves are a dull gray, olive, or grey-green color, and they are frequently mottled. The “standard” patterning for cyclamen is a hastate pattern. There is a variety known as “ES” that has dark green leaves with splashes of cream (for Elizabeth Strangman). In the early 1990s, I was given a little quantity of fresh seed, and my experience has shown that the species exhibits variable levels of vigor. Since then, some have reached a large size, bloomed abundantly, and have since passed away; others have reached a medium size and appear to be maintaining their status; however, they do occasionally take a year off (during which they do not produce leaves or flowers); and still, others have maintained a small size but appear to be in good health. All from a single packet of seed purchased from a single fellow cultivator! After around ten years, in my opinion, it begins to exhibit some signs of being irritable. Although it is said to be native to Cyprus, I believe that it may also be found on the island of Karpathos. Although it has a reputation for not being hardy, my C. cyprium ES was one of the few species that survived a severe winter when I lost other species that were said to be “less hardy.”

Cyclamen africanum

Many of the plants that are now being cultivated are considered to be hybrids with Cyclamen hederifolium. Cyclamen africanum is quite similar to C. hederifolium. C. africanum is considered more delicate than C. hederifolium, which has smaller, thinner leaves. C. africanum is also a larger plant overall. It would seem that some of the plants that may be found to the south of the area of hederifolium are extremely similar to africanum. This topic, as well as the chromosomal status of the two species, is still being investigated.

Regardless of its classification, C. africanum is a plant that can tolerate just about all circumstances as long as they are frost free. Even if it does not compare to other cyclamen species in terms of beauty, it is nevertheless a worthwhile plant. In contrast to its reputation for being “large and lush,” the plant that I have is quite tidy and compact; in fact, to this day, it is still smaller than plants of the C. hederifolium species. Unfortunately, this year there are no blooms.

Although the photographs don’t do it justice, the plant on the right was purchased at Wisley because the blossoms are far darker than “normal” africanum. I am continuing my research into whether or if C. africanum comes in a white variety. This year, I was able to get a plant from a seed swap into blossom, and its flowers were white. I am unsure as to whether or not it is C. africanum. After speaking with other people, it seems as if the source may be a good one, which suggests that it may be real. Unfortunately, the seedlings that flowered first had poor flower shapes; maybe the subsequent flowers will be more attractive.

On the left, flowering seedlings of the hybrid plant C. hederifolium x africanum. When in blossom, they resemble hederifollium, and the leaves are similar in appearance to hederifolium in its more degraded versions. Interesting rather than attractive, but there are, without a doubt, more aesthetically pleasing shapes.

Cyclamen cilicium

Cyclamen cilicium is a species of Cyclamen that is native to Turkey. It features blooms that are a light mauve pink and bloom in the fall, which is typically a bit later than hederifolium. It is an entirely more delicate and exquisite-looking plant than the hederifolium, with blooms that smell like honey and have a delicate and graceful form. In contrast to many other species, it has less diversity when grown in captivity. I went to a show once and saw a booth that had a magnificent plant with a plum color on it, but sadly, the plant was not for sale. There is a type known as “E A Bowles,” and according to the description, it should be white with only a carmine splotch at the nose. However, the seeds that I planted did not yield anything that was especially distinctive. However, just a few years ago, a pure white type became available, and happily, it has a robust physical make-up. The two plants that I now have are, if anything, a bit more robust in shape compared to the other cilicium plants that I have. It’s amazing, but just two little plants were able to fill the whole greenhouse with their fragrant aroma.

Cyclamen coum

Cyclamen coum is a highly varied floral plant that blooms throughout the winter and early spring. It is incredibly resistant to the elements and simple to cultivate outdoors in the UK. The blooms have a tendency to be more droopy in appearance than those of other species, however, they might be pure white, white with a plum nose, light pink, magenta, or a hue that is practically red. The leaves may be round or heart-shaped, glossy or matte, simple or marbled, entirely silver or silver with a green rim, and any combination of these and other characteristics are possible. Some of the variety may be seen in the plants up above (the larger flowers are those of C.pseudoibericum).

The plant may be grown outdoors in a range of conditions in the UK with little effort. In addition to the plants that are planted in permanent borders, I “plant” a number of others in pots and place them in a trough to create a winder show. During the summer, the pots are taken out of the trough and placed in a frame that provides shade. New pots containing Rhodohypoxis are then planted in the trough.

This highly free blooming, compact, and fragrant type of coum was cultivated from seed acquired in Turkey by the Cyclamen Society. It is one of my favorite coums. Forma pallidum is the more accurate name for this very pale variety, which is also known as an album in certain circles.

Cyclamen coum ssp caucasicum

Cyclamen coum ssp. caucasicum is quite similar to regular coum, but the blooms are more refined and the leaves have more of a heart-shaped tendency. Most of the time, their eyes are pink rather than white (at the base or nose of the flower). The two photographs that are seen above are both of seedlings that seem to be a part of this subspecies.

Cyclamen elegans

Some people believe that Cyclamen elegans should be classified as a different subspecies of C.coum. It does appear different and grows more slowly than typical coum, both of which are important considerations for farmers. The blossoms of this plant from Tilebarn Nursery seem to have a color that is comparable to that of C. libanoticum, which is a pink that is more translucent than that of other species. The basal blotch has taken on a little altered appearance as well. It is grown in quite small quantities, and its seeds are notoriously difficult to locate!!

Cyclamen graecum

One of the crowning achievements of the cyclamen species is the cyclamen graecum. In some respects, it is comparable to C. hederifollium; nevertheless, its leaves are much more delicate and, in most cases, have a velvety appearance (though they are perfectly smooth). The blooms may be white, a very light pink, or (most often) a medium to dark pink with a prominent red basal blotch. However, white flowers are the most common.

This species is not as hardy as H. hederifolium and does better in drier circumstances, thus it is often planted in protected environments. For a long amount of time, one of the primary criticisms leveled against this species was that it did not blossom well. The recommended culture called for “baking,” which included placing the container on a shelf in the sunniest part of the greenhouse and allowing it to totally dry out. This is an effective method for putting an end to the life of the plant. Graecum is uncommon in that it has extremely thick roots, and if you were to lose these roots due to dryness, it would take at least two growing seasons for new ones to form. My current summer treatment consists of giving the plants a little bit of water during the season but leaving them on the benching (which is plunked in sand) in direct sunlight. Wisley has stated that as a consequence of this, blossoming is even better than normal. Even so, this year’s extremely bad summer (no sun) has meant that some plants did not shed their leaves throughout the summer.

A few years ago, several completely white graecums were spotted. They are now easily obtainable via cultivation, and there are a number of different kinds in circulation.

The sheer diversity of leaf morphologies seen in C.graecum is one of the factors that contribute to the plant’s widespread appeal among collectors. On this page, you can see representations of a few of the plants in my collection. There is nothing especially unusual about any of them, and I believe that all of these shapes, along with many more, resulted from the planting of three different packets of seed. The name “Glynfada” refers to a form that is considered to be unique from the others. The leaves of this plant are said to be a basic pewter color, yet to my eyes, they seem to be an odd greenish-gray color. Regardless of what I believe, I believe that these leaves will serve as a fantastic complement to the blossoms.

Cyclamen hederifolium

The Cyclamen hederifolium is a beautiful and unique plant. Around nine months out of the year, the weather is pleasant, and enjoyable to spend time outdoors in the UK. Flowers of a pure white, pink, or deep pink hue are produced by the plant in the fall, with or without the accompanying leaves. The leaf may take on a wide variety of forms; an example of a more common form is seen above; however, several varieties have considerably more pronounced patterning or are silvery all over.

Another specimen of the hederifolium plant, this time with the mauve Geranium pyrenaicum “Bill Wallis” and one of the bronze Carex species as a backdrop.

The following plants demonstrate the wide variety of bloom colors that may be found.

Plants with a reasonable degree of genetic stability, such as the “Ruby strain,” are already emerging. An example of this is the plant on the left. The white hederifolium is simple to get and grows just as vigorously in the garden as its green counterpart.

There are two leaf shapes that are very typical. Forms of the silver leaf may be seen on the next page.

Cyclamen intaminatum.

Cyclamen intaminatum is related to Cyclamen cilicum, although it is a very different species. It is considerably smaller. There are many different kinds, but the one that is grown most often has white blooms with a grayish venation and dark green leaves that are simple in appearance. The plants that were shown were produced from a couple of seed pods and have been kept outdoors in a shaded trough for almost five years. This variant also seems to be the simplest to cultivate.

The “ordinary” white variety of C. intaminatum is fairly delicate and may create a charming show when grown in large numbers, however many people consider that there are far more attractive wild varieties of this species. There are other variants with a light pink hue that are currently being cultivated (right). There is a possibility that some of the more robust pink varieties that show up every once in a while are hybrids with C.cilicium. The possibility exists that one of these hybrids is present in the plant that mysteriously “emerged” on the bench sand within my greenhouse.

Cyclamen mirabile

Cyclamen mirabile is similar to Cyclamen cilicium, but it has a tendency to be more fleshy (and therefore appears more upright and stiffer than cilicium), the young leaves are often suffused with pink when they are young, and the flower often has ragged petals with a coconut rather than honey scent. All of these characteristics make it distinct from Cyclamen cilicium. This is a “normal” plant, however, there are choices that have strongly silvered leaves (which seem quite pink when they are young), and there is also a variation that has white foliage. Cyclamen cilicium can typically be grown outdoors in the UK, and I once had a few tubers of mirabile growing contentedly beneath a cherry tree for a number of years. In the US, cyclamen cilicium may be cultivated indoors.

For a good number of years, Cyclamen mirabile was very uncommon in culture; nevertheless, beginning in the 1970s, it began to be brought into the country of cultivation as wild-collected tubers from Turkey, where it was often labeled as hederifolium. Most of the thousands were unfortunately lost, but the plant on the right was purchased at Woolworth’s in a plastic bag and labeled as hederifolium. When I bought what I thought were four inexpensive hederifolium plants, it turned out that they were really two cilicium and two mirabile. This came as a major surprise to me. But this is not the method that I would recommend to others for acquiring this gorgeous plant (see the index page for cyclamen).

Both in the wild and in culture, the quantity of pink that appears on the young leaves of C. mirabile may vary greatly from plant to plant. Above, the cultivar “Tilebarn Nicholas” is very clearly marked; nonetheless, given that plants are grown from seed and the strain is not completely stable, only those plants that are genetically identical to the original parent should be labeled as being of that specific variety. The breadth of the diversity may be seen in the pot of “Tilebarn Nicholas” seedlings shown above. While one of the plants in the pot would be considered substandard for a typical mirabile, the other plant correlates more closely to “Nicholas.”

Tilebarn Anne, which has a basic pewter leaf and is completely pink when it initially emerges, may be seen at the top right and bottom left of the image.

Cyclamen libanoticum and cyprium

The stunning Cyclamen libanoticum is likely rather uncommon in the wild, but fortunately, its numerous variants are simple to cultivate, blossom, and bring up from seed. The plant is known for its beauty. On the left is a representation of a shape that is characteristic of this spring-flowering plant.

A typical lighter version of libanoticum with extremely broad petals may be seen in the image on the right, which was taken from a different angle. The shape that can be seen in the foreground is part of a collection that was created by Eliot Hogkin. It often has petals that are more pointed and a darker shade of pink in color. The leaves have a glossy appearance and a prominent marbling pattern. This particular type required an additional year to blossom, bringing the total number of years needed to flower to five.

Cyclamen cyprium is a kind of Cyclamen that blooms in the fall and has white flowers. As was mentioned before, it may either blossom together with the leaves or before the leaves unfold (the photos are, in fact, of the same plant but from different years). In contrast to the blooms, which are quite uniform in appearance, the leaves come in many different shapes and sizes. The “typical” shape is characterized by a delicate interplay of olive and grayish green tones. The above plant is a descendant of the “ES” (Elizabeth Strangman) type, which may be identified by its black leaves that are speckled with white.

Cyclamen balearicum, parviflorum and hybrids.

When compared to many other plants, cyclamen are not as interested in hybridization as other species. Nevertheless, when two closely related species mate, they might sometimes generate viable hybrid offspring. Cyclamen creticum x repandum is the species of these plants. Cyclamen creticum is quite similar to C. repandum, however, its flowers are often white in color (there are pale pink forms also). The flowers of these plants are white, but they have a mauve “nose” or feathering at the tips of the petals.

Cyclamen parviflorum is one of the species with the tiniest plants; at most, these plants will grow to be around an inch tall. It is generally one of the most difficult cyclamen to grow effectively and must not be allowed to dry up. On the other hand, it is simple to lose since it is easily destroyed by overwatering! To our good fortune, it is not the most stunning species, and the majority of us are willing to cultivate the much simpler Cyclamen coum instead.

Cyclamen balearicum is yet another species of the repandum genus that blooms in the spring. It bears white flowers, which often have a lilac-colored feathering at the tips of the petals, and leaves that are rather big. Lovely blue-green color with a silver wash may be seen in certain varieties of these.

Cyclamen persicum

Cyclamen persicum is one of the species that are least tolerant of cold temperatures and serves as the parent plant for all hybrid Cyclamen created by florists. It is pretty unusual in a number of ways, one of which is that the flower stalks do not coil when the seed is being placed. Another way it is different is that it does not produce fruit. When compared to the other species, it is both taller and more elegant in appearance. Growers will like these qualities. It blossoms in the spring (although colonies that flower in the fall have been reported in Israel), and the type that you see here is pretty typical; the flowers are a very light pink color.

Another frequent variety, this one has scarlet “noses” and white petals. There are additional kinds that are completely white.

One of the pink variants, which are a little bit more uncommon. There are additional variants that have blooms that have a rich cerise color.

Cyclamen pseudoibericum

Cyclamen pseudoibericum is a magnificent species that originates in southern Turkey. The “traditional” pseudoiberbericum, which has rounded leaves and somewhat droopy, rich deep magenta blooms, is seen on the left. Its flower form and color might vary significantly from plant to plant. Although it is often cultivated in containers in the UK, it is possible to cultivate it outdoors in protected areas.

This variant (on the right) features petals that are much lighter in color, smaller, and more twisted and leaves that are more pointed.

Another variation with blooms that are a light mauve color with a very strong blotch at the base.

My research led me to believe that the plants in the backdrop were Cyclamen pseudoibericum forma roseum. Because this article has shown, to some extent, that Cyclamen pseudoibericum is far more varied than was previously believed, it is possible that assigning this form such a rank cannot be maintained.

Cyclamen purpurascens

Just a few photos to tide you over in the meanwhile of this subalpine species that is widespread in the Alps. I’m sorry the pictures turned out so poorly! Cyclamen purpurascens stands out from other species of Cyclamen because it is both evergreen and a summer bloomer. This gives it a unique appearance. It blossoms between the middle of summer and fall. It is one of the rare species that has some extremely bad forms, and at its worst, it produces blooms that are squat and “boxy,” with a washed-out murky magenta color. With vibrant magenta blossoms, it has the potential to be much more elegant. There is a type that is completely white, and more recently, a form has been discovered that is white with a basal patch of purple. It doesn’t matter what shape or color it is; it always has a wonderful aroma. The leaves may be entirely silvered, lightly marbled, heavily marked, as shown in the plant to the right in the image above, or plain. The plain leaves are typical of the Fatra highlands and are frequently referred to as fatrense.

In light of the fact that C. purpurascens lives in subalpine environments, many people are surprised by how challenging it is. There are several in the yard, and most of the time they only produce one or two blossoms. The ones that were grown in a greenhouse on benching and were given regular watering turned out to be the finest I’ve ever tasted.

Cyclamen repandum

Cyclamen repandum is a plant that blooms in the spring and has beautiful flowers along with fairly thin leaves that are easily scorched by the sun. The prototypical plant may be found in France, Italy, and the countries that were a part of the former Yugoslavia. There are additional variants with a pure white coloration (see image on the right), and fortunately, they develop true to type from seed. Even though I have had the plant growing in the ground outdoors in a wet and gloomy gully for the last several years, I still retain the majority of the stock in the greenhouse. There are a lot of people who write about how difficult it is to grow successfully in pots.

The range of Cyclamen repandum is patchy; it extends into the northern states of the countries that were once part of Yugoslavia, but then it disappears for a while, only to return in Greece as a different subspecies called subspecies peloponnesiacum. This subspecies is then further differentiated into two variants, one of which is called var peloponnesiacum. It has flowers that are darker than those of the type species and a basal blotch or “nose” that is more noticeable. The leaves often have white dots scattered over their surface. The plant on the right is uncommon in that the petals have not completely reflexed and instead have the shape of a propeller. Behind it, though, lies a plant that is considered to be more “normal.”

The subspecies are represented by the variety vividum in the eastern portion of the Peloponnese. The bright coloration is the characteristic that stands out the most to a gardener while looking at the plant (see far left). In spite of this, there is a certain amount of variety, and the paler variants also produce lovely plants (immediate left).

Cyclamen repandum, more specifically the subspecies rhodense, can be found only on the island of Rhodes in Greece. This contains blooms that are either completely white or very light pink, and they have a lilac “nose” (see the plant in foreground opposite). Although it has a reputation for being the most difficult of the repandums to cultivate, this plant is really stunning.

This last plant (on the left) is a little bit of a puzzle. It originated from a seed packet that was labeled “vividum.” However, it is more likely to be rhodense. Despite this, the blossoms have a pretty pink color when they initially open.

Cyclamen rohlfsianum

Cyclamen rohlfsianum is one of the cyclamen species that is among the least cold-resistant, and it must typically be protected from frost. It blooms in the late fall and is easily identifiable by the extruded style that looks like a yellow beak below the mouth of the flower. It blooms late in the season. Some people have trouble getting it to flower, although there are probably some forms that flower more easily than others. The most important thing, however, is to start it growing early in the season so that it can get its leaves to their full size (and therefore feed the tuber) before the temperature drops and the leaves stop growing. This is the main challenge that some people face. Many guides recommend removing all of the water from your plants throughout the summer months; however, I am discovering that it is still too late to do so in the United Kingdom since I did not dry them out and instead soaked them in July.

Additionally, the plant grows more slowly than most others from seed, and it takes a long time for the seeds to germinate. Due to these factors, it used to be uncommon and costly to cultivate, but nowadays it is considerably more widespread and much more affordable.

The flowers of these plants come in a variety of shapes and colors, but the leaves vary quite a bit more. I assume the plant developed from seeds taken from farmed plants. It was displayed at one of the Cyclamen Society exhibits in a form that was all white. This may have been the first time it had ever been seen.

Cyclamen trochopteranthum

Cyclamen The trochopteranthum cyclamen is a beautiful and rare species of cyclamen that, in certain forms, has highly striking blooms that resemble a windmill toy for children. Another plant native to Turkey blooms between January and February in the northern hemisphere. The degree to which the petals reflect the surrounding environment seems to vary. Some plants, like the one that is located above it, have a highly noticeable appearance, while others have a reflexed appearance and do not seem to be particularly distinct from coum. (It’s interesting to note that I have a lot of coum that have blooms that look more like windmills.) It is also reported that trochopteranthum has a basal blotch that is completely black, while coum has a basal blotch that has a white “eye” in the center of it. This is the second differentiating trait (below the blotch and extending into the throat of the flower). Once again, I’ve discovered that I have trochopterathum, which is characterized by a white eye. The aroma of trochopteranthum is similar to honey, while coum is mostly odorless, however, there are exceptions. The one thing that I have seen that is consistent is that the leaves of trochopteranthum are fairly different and have a form that is similar to that of C. cilicium.


a plant of forma leucanthum. Not a true albino it has a distinct purple nose. This one came from Peter Moore of Tilebarn Nursery.

Cyclamen libanoticum

The stunning Cyclamen libanoticum is probably quite hard to find in its natural habitat, but fortunately, this species is rather widespread in gardens and greenhouses.

It has a long history of having a poor reputation for being challenging, and many people continue to believe, at least to some degree, that it is a challenging plant to cultivate well. When it begins to blossom in March, one of the issues that might occur is that the leaves will often turn yellow. I am now attempting to cultivate it under the benching in the expectation that this will keep it cool and in the shadow, preventing it from entering dormancy any sooner than necessary.

There are just a few different types being cultivated at this time. The common type germinates easily and matures into a blooming plant in a very short amount of time. It is possible to test it out in the open air in parts of the UK when the weather is warm (I plan to do so once I have grown a few more seedlings). Another version from Eliot Hogkin’s collection may be seen here. It often has petals that are more pointed and a darker shade of pink in color. The leaves have a glossy appearance and a prominent marbling pattern. It took this form 5 years to blossom, while the more frequent varieties only require approximately 3 years. Unfortunately, this form has a much weaker constitution than the more usual types.

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