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Ivy leaf cyclamen, for a marvelous carpet of flowers

Ivy leaf cyclamen

Ivy-leaved cyclamen is distinct from common florists’ cyclamens because of its fall blooming and its perennial life cycle.

Instant Ivy-leaf cyclamen facts

NameCyclamen hederifolium
SynonymCyclamen neapolitanum
Type – bulb/tuber

Height – 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm)
Exposure – part shade, forest underbrush

Soil: light and well drained  –  Flowering: end of summer, fall

  • Indoors? Here is how to grow florist’s cyclamen, the one usually grown as an houseplant to decorate our homes.

Planting ivy-leaved cyclamen

Planting ivy-leaved cyclamen bulbs

It is recommended to plant the cyclamen bulbs in spring, at the end of summer or at the beginning of fall.

  • planting ivy-leaf cyclamenFavor partially shaded areas such as under a tree or along the side of a house on the sides facing East or North.
  • Plant each bulb 3 to 6 inches (10 to 20 cm) from the next and bury them more or less 1¾ to 2 inches (5 to 6 cm) deep.
  • A fun tip is to just throw the bulbs around randomly and plant them just where they fell.

It can be set in a pot, garden box and also in semi-shaded flower beds.
In any case, only superficial cover is needed for the bulb, with garden earth blended with soil mix.

For cyclamen purchased with flowers already, check that there are new buds forming, this will ensure the blooming will last longer.

Sowing ivy-leaved cyclamen

Sowing is quite easy. Simply recover seeds when the capsules open up and put them in nursery pots with soil mix.

  • Beforehand, soak the seeds for several hours in warm water to speed germination.
  • Once planted in the ground, ivy-leaved cyclamen tends to self-seed on its own.
  • This cyclamen will thus quickly build up to a carpet of flowers.

Caring for ivy-leaved cyclamen

Cluster of a dozen pale violet flowersNo care is needed, but if you wish, you can remove wilted or yellowing flowers regularly.

  • For that, remove the entire stem that is bearing the flower, rotating it just a bit in your hand and pulling sharply.
  • Never remove the leafage before it has wilted, or you might not have any flowers on your cyclamen anymore.
  • To have a spectacular blooming, add flower plant fertilizer once a week.

Watering ivy-leaved cyclamen

Natural watering when it rains should be enough, except in case of strong heat or long-lasting dry spells.

If the summer was quite dry and you feel that your cyclamen have trouble rising up, simply help them along by watering a bit.

For spectacular blooming, add flower plant fertilizer once a week.

Watering in cyclamen in pots

  • In pots, however, water more often.
  • The soil must dry up between watering sessions.
  • Make sure water drains away well.

Common diseases and issues on ivy-leaved cyclamen

Cyclamen leaves dry up

  • It’s a bit as if they were sunburnt. This means there was too much sun. Protect your plants from the sun’s rays.

Leaves wither

  • If your plant looks sad, it is often due to excess watering.

Cyclamen leaves turn yellow prematurely

  • Add fertilizer, this is most certainly connected to lack of nutrients, especially for potted cyclamen.

Leaves lose their shine

  • If they look a bit pale, remove wilted flowers as they start to wither and provide fertilizer once a week.
  • Bulbs can be renewed about every 5 years.

Learn more about Ivy-leaved Cyclamen

Frost-covered ivy-leaved cyclamenIvy-leaved cyclamen is rather hardy. It can survive light frost and even bear flowers under snow! Another name for it is actually hardy cyclamen.

Together with Cyclamen persicum, ivy-leaved cyclamen is one of the most commonly sold cyclamen sub-species.

Since it has been cultivated for nearly two centuries, there are now many different cultivars and varieties. An odd English name for the plant is “sowbread”, not because the tubers resemble a loaf of bread (they’re toxic!) but because wild pigs were said to love rummaging around the soil to find them.

Sadly, many of them have lost any fragrance they might have had in the wild. This is because breeders usually aimed for different flowers or shapes of leaves.

In ancient biblical times, cyclamen flowers and tubers were used to prepare incense. It was used in a religious context for major events. Learn more about the links between cyclamen and religion.

Read also:

Smart tip about Cyclamen

Amending the soil with special “flower plant” organic fertilizer will strongly increase growth and blooming of the plant.

Ivy-leaved cyclamen will do great as part of an indoor plant wall, especially if in a spot that gets a bit cooler in winter. Lean-ins and verandas are perfect.

Images: CC BY 2.0: Charlie Jackson, CC BY-ND 2.0: Trisha, CC BY-SA 2.0: Steve Law; Pixabay: Annette Meyer
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