Growing Bulbs: Cyclamen
By careful selection of varieties, it is possible to have flowers of hardy cyclamen in bloom from August until the following May. They are well adapted for growing at the foot of a north-facing wall or under the shelter of trees where they are charmingly effective. They also naturalise well in grass where it is cool and shady, or in thein a partially shaded place which has good .
The corms are planted from July onwards, the most suitable soil being a mixture of good fibrous, well-decayed and a proportion of old mortar rubble. Most corms should be covered with about 2 to 3 in. of soil and a topdressing of old leafmould will prove beneficial. All varieties produce attractive flowers with fine, deeply reflexed petals.
Among the best autumn-flowering species is Cyclamen neapolitanum with rosy-pink flowers in August and September, the leaves developing just before the flowers fade. The variety album has white flowers and charming marbled foliage. Cyclamen europaeum has fragrant rose-red blooms from August to October and silver marbled leaves. Cyclamen africanum likes a warm situation, the bluish flowers showing during September and October.
Of the winter and early spring-flowering species,, with rounded green leaves, has pinky-red blooms in February and March. There are two forms, album, bluish-white with a dark eye, and roseum, with pretty rose-coloured blooms. Cyclamen ibericum also flowers in February and March and has distinctive silver-zoned foliage at the same time as the flowers appear. It has two forms, roseum, rose, and rubrum, crimson, which often commence to show colour at the end of January.
Cyclamen repandum produces its silver marbled foliage and bright rose-red flowers from the end of March until May and is the latest of the spring-flowering species.
As cyclamen will grow in sun or shade, they are suitable for planting under shrubs and trees providing a ground covering of foliage and a splash of colour in positions which so often remain bare and uninteresting.