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How to Plant Cyclamen Bulbs

cyclamen image by Igor Zhorov from

The showy and dramatic hardy cyclamen plant grows energetically in shady or partially shady growing areas in USDA regions between 5 and 9. With its dark green foliage and bright pink blossoms appearing in late summer, hardy cyclamen plants faintly resemble small butterflies when they bloom in a shady flower garden. To add hardy cyclamen to your landscape, plant cyclamen bulbs in the spring for a gorgeous late-summer or early-autumn show.

Prepare a shady growing location in the spring by working the soil with the garden spade to a depth of between 2 and 3 inches. Add 1 to 2 inches of loose compost over the top of the soil and work this in well with the garden spade. Rake the planting area level and smooth with the rake.

Dig shallow holes for the cyclamen corms. Make the holes deep enough to enable planting the corms at a depth equal to the thickness of the corms. Space the holes 12 inches apart.

Place each cyclamen corm into a prepared hole. A quick look at each corm should show you which side of the corm to place right side up in the hole (small roots protrude from one side of each corm--place these roots face down in the holes).

Cover the corms with soil and tamp the soil down firmly with your hands. Provide enough water to saturate the soil evenly immediately after you finish planting the corms.

Keep the cyclamen plants evenly moist throughout the spring and summer. Expect the cyclamen to bloom in late summer. The plants will gradually spread and fill in the planting area over the years to create a full and colorful shady flowerbed.

Cyclamen An Indoor Plant?

Cyclamen are perennial flowers, which means that in the wild they will continue to grow year after year. If you can keep them in cooler, damper conditions, however, they will last longer and may even bloom again. They prefer a daytime temperature no higher than 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and will happily cool down to 50 F at night. Though they will rot if consistently wet, cyclamen like to be moist and will benefit from a thorough soaking as soon as they begin to dry out. A cyclamen plant will usually complete its initial blooming cycle (during which you presumably purchased it) in March or thereabouts. Though cyclamen probably won’t enjoy being a summer houseplant, try growing them in a greenhouse, where glass will provide cooler nights. Instead, try a variety specifically intended for outside growth, such as the hardy fall cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium), suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.

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