Tuesday 7 August 2018

Cyclamen Hederifolium

 In a cottage garden by Carol Klein is one of my favourite gardening books.     There is a lovely passage in the book that talks about the arrival of Cyclamen Hederifolium in Autumn.   Carol describes its appearance beautifully, so I will leave you with her words and hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
 Occasionally you are aware what a perfect sense of timing plants have, as though they were waiting for  a specific window in the gardening year to make an appearance, determined to ensure they get the attention they deserve.    Autumn-flowering cyclamen are perhaps the archetypal opportunists.   Under the beech trees things are dull - apart from moss and the twisting leaves of polypody, it's all dank earth and dun leaves, but running through them are rivulets of pink and white, the massed flowers of Cyclamen Hederifolium.
 Their fat corns have been invisible since their foliage died down in April, gathering succour from the soil, but now with the rain and falling temperatures, they have been triggered into action, exploiting the vacuum and putting all their energy into flower production.
 In essence, Cyclamen Hederifolium is a shade lover, evolved with other plants and bulbs to exploit the conditions created by trees and make use of extra light  as the canopy thins out.
They make use of the same canopy that has kept its tubers cool, protecting them from fierce sun through the Summer.    As the leaves fall, light and rain filter through and flowers rush to capitalise ; pollinating insects are less frequent now.   The fallen leaves gradually rot down, providing the plants with humus rich leaf mould.   Leaves emerge, seed is set, the cycle continues.

The cyclamen in the garden are early this year.   The rain last week has pushed them into flowering.     At the moment it is just a trickle but over the next few weeks it will gather momentum, and the woodland floor will be dotted with large clumps of this very pretty little flower.


  1. It is so exciting seeing these sweet little blooms popping up. Every year I think I will try them again, I love them so. They are probably confused what with the dry weather you have had. I hope this dry weather doesn't adversely affect them.
    I woke to thunder rolling through. We are getting a good rain this morning. It is so exhilarating. I don't have to water anything today! I know the garden will be looking quite jolly when the sun returns.

  2. Hi Lisa,

    They are all planted in shade beneath oak beech and apple trees.
    The dry weather never seems to affect them. As soon as it rains they pop up, looking pretty as a picture :)

    We are expecting a drop in temperature tomorrow hooray!!
    Also some much needed rain, which means more cyclamen will start to pop up :)

  3. We also have had a hot, dry summer, but thunderstorms (yesterday) were very welcome.

    I enjoyed this post, the author's words paint a pretty picture of the nature of cyclamen. Yours look sweet and I can imagine you looking forward to those "rivulets" of flowers when they appear.

    I don't have any - not sure they will grow in my zone, but I'm going to check it out, as I have plenty of trees and shade. Not much in the way of humus, but that can be changed in a heartbeat!

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. I think they would be fine for your garden. The most important thing is to plant them beneath deciduous trees. Don't clear leaves beneath the trees if possible. They spread each year, so eventually you end up with many plants scattered around. I started with five plants and
      now I have at lest twenty areas of cyclamen.

      Enjoy the rest of your week Wendy. Often think of you.

  4. They are so lovely. I have been given so many cyclamen in pots and I love them. I've been told that this variety is not suitable for outdoor planting. Now you have sparked my interest to find a variety that will grow in our zone.

    1. They are a gardeners delight. I have hederifolium for Autumn and Coum for Spring.
      Both are hardy here. Last year we had a really harsh Winter and still they come.
      I believe you will be able to grow both of the above, as long as you plant them beneath deciduous trees, that has good soil around the area.
      Do not plant beneath evergreens, it will surely fail with time.

      I do hope you source some plants because I feel sure you will love them.

  5. I've always liked cyclamen … wonderful plants.

    I always enjoy Carol Klein. In 2016 she was voted the nation's favourite gardener in a poll for Yorkshire Women's Life Magazine and in 2018 she was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society.

    Isn't that good :)

    Hope your August days are going well Cheryl, and hopefully a little cooler now.

    All the best Jan

    1. I am not surprised, Carol has such a charming natural personality.
      I think she connects with people.

      August is good, especially now the rain has arrived :)

      Have a lovely weekend Jan.

  6. Oh, how I love cyclamen, such sweet unobtrusive little flowers. Carol is just marvelous isn't she, I always enjoy watching her. I could smell the woodland reading this, how lovely, you do have a way with words. We had a marvelous thunderstorm last night, with heavy rain and lightening, I do enjoy the drama of them, especially at night. I only wish the dogs did too!xxx

    1. I love a good storm.
      I remember standing with my Father as a young girl watching a storm.
      He was a seaman, and told me stories of storms at sea.
      I always found them so exciting.
      When I woke this morning there was a mist over the garden.
      When I walked the garden you could hear a pin drop. I felt as though I had been taken back in time. It is a wondrous world we live in, if only humans would take more care of it.

      Have a lovely weekend.