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Cyclamen coum Cyclamen coum

So you'd like some color in the garden late Autumn and Winter, huh? Well, have I got a plant for you! Cyclamen coum flowers in my zone 5 garden from November through February. Whenever the snow melts back, should we be fortunate enough to have a blessing of natures best white mulch, I am knocked out by warm clouds of rose, magenta, pale pink, dark pink and white floating 6 inches above the frozen tundra. Even when Cyclamen coum isn't in flower, the silvery mottled foliage makes a great groundcover.

After all this plant's hard work giving you such visual pleasure, I'm sure you'll find it in your heart to grant these hard working plants the Summer off. After flowering, the leaves go bye bye and the flower stems curl up into an adorable spring like coil and lower themselves to the ground for ripening. Each seed head can contain up to 25 seeds that spill out a couple of months later and are carried a short distance by ants that eat the sweet aril that encircles the seed. The ants bury the seeds for you and before you know it, you have a beautiful colony of Cyclamen.

Many home gardeners get a bit queasy when you mention Hardy Cyclamen. There are usually two reasons for this. The first is that they've purchased shriveled up bulbs that were wild collected in Turkey, shipped to Holland and exported to the US for sale in garden centers. Well, duh! What do you expect? The other reason is cultural. They were planted too deeply or planted in too moist an area. If you only remember two words when it comes to growing these plants, it's DRY SHADE!!! And please don't completely bury the tuber. I know.......everything you've learned up to this point in your gardening lives, your gut feelings and intuitions point you toward burying bulbs, corms and tubers as deeply as possible for their protection from the freezing blasts of Winter, but this is not the case with Cyclamen.

Before I go on and on here, let me point you to an article that I wrote for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Journal a long time ago, so that you can get the whole hardy Cyclamen story - http://www.sunfarm.com/plantlist/cycart.htm

I will add one addendum to that story here. I've cut back production on Cyclamen hederifolium in favor of Cyclamen coum for several reasons:

1. Cyclamen coum almost always flowers in its first year of growth, rarely does Cyclamen hederifolium
2. Cyclamen coum is hardier than Cyclamen hederifolium
3. Cyclamen coum has a much wider range of flower color and more vivid colors than Cyclamen hederifolium
4. Cyclamen coum sets seeds more prolifically than Cyclamen hederifolium

Don't misunderstand me here, I LOVE Cyclamen hederifolium. You can't beat the diversity of the silvery mottling patterns on the foliage, but Cyclamen coum has it beat hands down.

A brief note about pronunciation, here in the US of A, we say SYEKLAMEN in the UK and probably the rest of the English speaking world, it's SICKLAMEN.

I'm sure that you want to learn more, so I have a few more resources for you. The Cyclamen Society in the UK is GREAT, the seed exchange is unparalleled and the web site is an education in itself - http://www.cyclamen.org/ there is a link to more information on C. coum at - coum - http://www.cyclamen.org/coum_set.html Further cultural information can be found at - http://www.sunfarm.com/plantlist/cycons.htm

Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom -
Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom - Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision - Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division - Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class - Magnoliopsida -- dicotyledons
Subclass - Dilleniidae
Order - Primulales
Family - Primulaceae
Genus - Cyclamen
Species - coum
Common name - genus - "Cyclamen", "Sow Bread"
Common name - species - none that I have found
Synonyms - none that I have found
Native of - Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Israel
USDA Hardiness Zone - zone 5 possibly 4
Light preference - Full shade to dappled sunlight
Soil preference - Average
Moisture preference - DRY DRY DRY
Bloom time - Late Autumn, Early Winter
Bloom color - rose, magenta, pale pink, dark pink and white
Foliage - Dark green, glossy, silvery mottling patterned
Spread - forms a colony by seed
Height - 6" - 8" in flower
Landscape uses - Naturalizing in a deep shade or light sun border, woodland or rock garden - Autumn and Winter bloom.
Medicinal uses - None that I have found

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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Rd, Renick, WV 24966, USA
Phone: (304) 497-2208
E-mail: barry@sunfarm.com

Last modified February 24, 2009
URL: http://www.sunfarm.com/picks/cyclamencoum-083629.phtml