|Landscaping & Gardening Information|
Think of cyclamen and the chances are that Mothers Day immediately comes to mind, which is something of a pity. Now don't misinterpret me, there's nothing wrong with mothers or with having a day for them, but it does seem a little unfortunate when such beautiful, adaptable and useful plants become so commercialised that there's difficulty escaping that association.
But no plant as beautiful as the wild cyclamen can remain so neatly packaged and presented as its cultivated forms may have it. Gardeners are always willing to experiment, to use outdoors what might be considered house plants and to seek out less widely grown but hardier species for their gardens.
Once thought to consist of many species, the genus Cyclamen is now considered to include just 19 species, some of which encompass subspecies and forms previously considered distinct. Related to the primroses, they form a few large tubers or numerous small ones, soon spreading to cover a considerable area, if happy. They occur naturally in southern Europe, neighbouring western Asia and the moister parts of North Africa with one species from Somalia, and as with many of the western Asian bulbs, corms and tubers, some species are now rare in the wild because they have been over-collected by commercial bulb gatherers and enthusiasts.
Cyclamen are generally most at home in fairly dry, partly shaded, well-drained conditions such as might be found in a rockery. Although hardiness varies with the species, if planted in well-chosen sites, all can be grown in coastal New Zealand gardens and many can be cultivated inland too. While the exact flowering time varies with the species, none bloom to any great extent in summer, the cooler months from March to October being the main season.
The best-known cyclamen is Cyclamen persicum, which is so widely cultivated as an indoor or gift plant that it usually known as the florist's cyclamen. This species, or rather the countless cultivars or probably hybrids derived from it, is a native of the eastern Mediterranean, Libya and the islands of Rhodes and Crete. The true species, sometimes seen but often hard to differentiate from the cultivated forms, has dark green leaves heavily marbled with silver-grey and its fragrant flowers, which have reflexed petals up to 3 cm long, may be white, mauve or any shade of pink from pale to cerise. This natural variability and the ease with which it adapts to pot culture has made the plant what it is today - a universal favourite.
Cyclamen persicum is so well known that it's fashionable to dismiss it as being too common and to look instead for less widely grown species. However, anything that is popular becomes so for a reason and you don't have to search for the secrets to the success of the florist's cyclamen. It has lush foliage, masses of beautiful flowers in a huge range of colours and styles, it blooms from autumn to spring and can be grown indoors or outdoors in mild climates. What else could you possibly want?
Well, perhaps you might want greater frost hardiness, more flowers with less foliage, greater sun tolerance and the kind of diminutive stature that makes the finest rockery and alpine plants so appealing. And that's where the three species that come next in the list of the most widely grown cyclamen really shine, features not lost on the gardeners to which we often look for guidance, the British.
Cyclamen have always been popular in Britain but Cyclamen persicum rarely succeeds outdoors in the British climate. Consequently other species have been sought out and developed as garden plants. The first of these was the local Cyclamen purpurascens, from central and eastern Europe, which in its common form was formerly known as Cyclamen europaeum. This small species has marbled, rounded to ivy-like leaves and deep pink flowers that open from late summer. While still popular in British and European gardens, Cyclamen purpurascens is not commonly met with here, though its style of growth paved the way into cultivation for three species that are: Cyclamen coum, Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen repandum.
Undoubtedly my favourite, this tough little plant is found from Bulgaria and the Caucasus to the northern parts of Syria and Iran and may extend southwards into Israel. It dark leaves are small, usually 25 to 50mm wide, and are heavily marbled, with reddish undersides. The flowers are tiny too and may be white, pale pink or tending towards magenta. They open from early winter and continue unabated into spring. The flowers are remarkably resistant to frost and although they can look very downhearted when frozen, they immediately perk-up on thawing out. This is a terrific plant for rockeries or alpine troughs and is at home in sun or partial shade.
Formerly known as Cyclamen neapolitanum and still widely sold under that name, the attractively marbled, ivy-like foliage of this native of southern Europe and Turkey dies away in spring and does not reappear until well after the plant has started to flower in late summer. The small flowers occur in a wide range of shades and when spent, their stems start to coil like springs and turn downwards to the ground as the seed capsules develop.
This species is found from southern France to Greece and has large, lobed leaves that are dark green with conspicuous silver-grey mottling and marbling. Considering its lush foliage, spring blooming habit and Mediterranean homeland, it is surprisingly frost hardy. Its flowers are pleasantly scented, have petals up to 20mm long and occur in white and all shades of pink to light red.
These three species are so common that if you see a garden cyclamen that is obviously not Cyclamen persicum then the chances are that it's Cyclamen coum, Cyclamen hederifolium, Cyclamen repandum or one of the subspecies or forms of those species. However, collectors and enthusiasts, being what they are, have imported other species that you may occasionally have the pleasure of seeing.
With so few species in the genus I'm reluctant to say that any of them aren't cultivated. Indeed, it's very likely that they're all in gardens - somewhere - in one form or another. But while I've learnt to never say never when it comes to stating what's to be found in our gardens, I'm yet to see the Somalian species, Cyclamen somalense.
Another exclusively African species, Cyclamen africanum, from Algeria is also very rare. It has rather glossy, toothed edged leaves up to 10 cm wide and its 25mm flowers, which are deep pink and open in autumn, have the scent of violets. It is somewhat similar to Cyclamen hederifolium and along with the white- to deep pink-flowered Cyclamen ciliatum from Turkey is usually the first cyclamen to start blooming in late summer or early autumn.
Also from Africa, the Libyan Cyclamen rohlfsianum has silvery marbled bright green leaves with a covering of fine pinkish hairs when young. Its bright pink flowers open in autumn and are often scented. It dislikes winter wet and is best grown in pots with the addition of some limestone chips.
The eastern Mediterranean species: Cyclamen creticum, from Crete; Cyclamen cyprium, from Cyprus; Cyclamen graecum, from Greece, the Aegean islands and southern Turkey; and Cyclamen libanoticum, from Syria and Lebanon, are all to be seen locally, though none are common. However, because these species are becoming increasingly rare in the wild and live in areas that are threatened by that most pernicious of predators, the tourist, we should be doing our bit to ensure their survival by making them more widely available.
They are, in the main, dainty plants with small leaves and pink flowers. Cyclamen graecum has some of the most beautiful foliage in the genus. In addition to the usual silver-grey mottling, its leaves have pale to vivid green veins, maroon undersides and reddish teeth.
As mentioned earlier, cyclamen generally prefer partial shade, very well drained, somewhat dry soil and cool conditions. They thrive in lightly shaded rockeries, growing happily in the crevices between rocks and also adapt well to container cultivation, especially in alpine troughs. Most species have a preference for neutral to slightly alkaline conditions. Adding a few limestone chips to the soil aids the drainage and keeps the pH about right.
That said, tough species like Cyclamen hederifolium usually adapt well to being cultivated with acid soil plants such as ericas and dwarf rhododendrons, so don't be afraid to experiment.
While a few species, such as Cyclamen libanoticum, prefer their tubers to be below the surface, in most cases the top of the tuber should be at or above the soil surface. This helps keep the tubers dry in winter and ensures that the crown of flower and foliage stems does not rot off at ground level. The tubers of indoor potted cyclamen should be kept dry - water the soil surface, not the tuber - and even then only when it has dried.
Cyclamen are not heavy feeders. Regular feeding with mild liquid fertilisers will keep house-grown cyclamen flowering well, while a light application of general garden fertiliser during the summer dormant season is enough to ensure that outdoor plants continue to thrive.
Pests and diseases are rare on healthy plants and when present are usually a sign of poor growing conditions. While slugs and snails can attack outdoor cyclamen, they should otherwise be pest-free. If indoor cyclamen show signs of botrytis, mildew of other soft rots, the soil conditions are probably too damp. If mealy bugs and scale insects occur they may indicate low humidity or may have spread from other plants that have been infested.
Most cyclamen are bought in nurseries as ready-grown container plants intended, in the case of Cyclamen persicum, for growing indoors, or otherwise for planting out. As they grow and their tubers multiply, they can be lifted and dived when dormant.
This slow and steady method of propagation ensures a continuity of growth, but if you need to speed up your cyclamen reproduction consider propagating the plants from seed. While some of the fancy-foliaged forms must be propagated vegetatively to maintain their characteristics, most cyclamen cultivars reproduce reasonably true to type from seed and the species certainly do.
Growing from seed is quite straightforward, though you may have to wait quite some time before the first flowers appear, typically 18 months to two years. Sow the seed when ripe, usually late spring to early summer, in a fairly light, gritty soil. The temperature should be cool, around 18°C, and the seed should be lightly covered with soil. If viable, most of the seed should have germinated within 28 to 42 days. The seedlings may be pricked out into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to easily handle without damaging their fleshy stems.
I am a garden book author and horticultural photographer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. I run a stock photo library called Country, Farm and Garden (http://www.cfgphoto.com). This article may be re-published provided this information is published with it and is clearly visible.
How to Grow Avocado
Fruit gardening and vegetable gardening is a very exciting venture. Growing Avocado's was one of the challenges I took on as a hobby fruit and vegetable gardener. When you are not an inhabitant of state with a tropical climate you can grow avocado's in containers.
5 Simple Steps to Care For Your Push Reel Mower
Though most Push Reel Mowers made today are durable, they do require some basic care and simple maintenance in order to keep them running smoothly. Taking the following steps will ensure you have years of use on your push reel mower. Wipe the blades clean after each use. This helps prevent moisture from the grass from staying on the blades and causing (over time) rust, or dulling the blades. You can use a cloth, brush, or small towel. Periodically oil the moving parts. Do this before your first cutting of the season, then periodically throughout the season if it looks as though the mower needs it. This helps the moving parts to continue to work smoothly. Clean the yard of debris before each use. This helps the blades maintain their sharpness by not having to "chew" on small sticks. Check for, and tighten any loose parts. Do this at the beginning and end of the mowing season. This helps ensure you don't lose any loose parts in the lawn while cutting. This is a rare occurrence but an inspection of the mower is simple, fast, and could be worth it in the long run. Watch what you're doing! Don't bang the mower into fence posts, rocks, or other immovable objects while cutting since this may damage the mower and/or the blades. It's better to either move the object, or, use an edger after you've finished mowing. If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will ensure a long and productive life for your push reel mower.
Orchid Care - What The Leaves Tell Us
Orchid Care Leaves Tell Us About Orchid Health
How to Grow Blueberries
Along with lip-smacking sweetness, flower and foliage are also worthy reasons to grow blueberries. White, bell-shaped blossoms make a lovely addition to a spring garden and fiery scarlet foliage adds drama to a fading autumn landscape. In addition to taste and appearance, blueberries are ripe with medical advantages; they help lower cholesterol and studies suggest that blueberries also reduce the risk of some cancers.
One of the best ways to create a warm and inviting outdoor space is to incorporate the use of park benches into your outdoor decor. Whether they are simple or grand, park benches send a subtle message to your neighbors and guests that you want your outdoor space to be appreciated and enjoyed by all.
Garden for Birds #3
Well, another week is passing us by.
Easy Care Of Phalaenopsis
Do you have a knack for being with moths? Most people would say, "no way". Yet, the moth orchids that I am talking about are the ones that sway nicely in the breeze and some of the newer hybrids have a nice fragrance. These moths are easy to care for, especially a beginner. These moths are found very frequently in gardens. These are the phalaenopsis orchids.
Safety On Lawn Tractors
Every gardener riding a lawn tractor should be concerned about safety. But, most homeowners don't take much time thinking on how risky can be driving lawn tractors. It is obvious the indestructible feelings that you feel when driving a large lawn tractor. You are there, sitting on top of a extremely powerful machine which responds to your orders instantly. However, there are many things, not desired, that can happen very quickly, putting you as operator and others in a terrible danger. Statistics out there say that year after year, many people experience lawn tractors accidents due to either an incorrect or unsafely use.
Three Stumbling Blocks to Growing Grapes in the Backyard
Are you one of those home gardeners that don't know the three stumbling blocks to successfully growing grapes in your backyard? Don't worry, you're not alone.
Budget For Your Garden
Have you ever thought about how much it costs to maintain your garden? Most people never give it much thought - spending the odd day in the garden when they have time and impulse buying plants at the local nursery.
How do you make those flowers bloom where they are planted and not go overboard and how do you make your turf stick to its own turf and not edge into your flower beds, borders, and garden spaces? Lawn edging is the answer!
Preparing The Garden For Winter
Are you like me? Sad to see the summer end but at the same time relieved that there is one less task to tend to. Weeding, watering, pruning, and more weeding is over for this year and with a few more chores the outdoor gardening year draws to a close. Most of what needs to be completed is a matter of cleaning up and covering up. Practical steps to preparing your outdoor garden for winter involve:
Landscaping is a wonderful pastime enjoyed by many. It provides a natural beauty and needs no ornaments or other attractive items to help achieve its magnificence. What it does need, however, is a little TLC from you and great ideas to keep the landscape design ever changing and up to date.
How to Build a Waterfall For Your Garden Pond
Building a waterfall is easier than you think and will add a new dimension to your pool.
Plant Hardiness Zones
When selecting plants for the landscape, is important to select plants that will grow in your climate. The United States has 10 of growing or climate zones. These zones range from the zone 1 in the extreme northern part of United States, to his own 10, which covers the southernmost part. Zone 1, is for the most hardiest of cold weather plants. Temperatures in zone 1 can reach 50 degrees below 0. Zone 10 on the other hand, is is a more tropical climate. Zone 10 plants only need to worry about cold temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees.
Funniest Pond Stories-Part 1, May 2004
Get ready for some gut-wrenching, laugh out loud hilarious pond stories from all over the world...
Imagine a beautiful pattern of paving stones as the central focus of your new patio. Stone circle kits are one of the most popular new products offered by suppliers of flagstones and pavers for patios. Stone pavers, such as sandstone paving slabs offer a wide range of beautiful styles and colors and can be the basis of an inviting and classic patio that is one of the most-used areas of your home.
Skip The Pesticide And Use Natural Alternatives
For best health, it is important to keep your environment as chemical free as possible. With better weather coming up, consider this:
Pruning the Backyard Grapevine
Proper pruning of your backyard grapevines is essential to maintain vine size, shape, and yield of the grapes. If you don't prune your vines, they will become unruly, tangled messes. Fruit ripeness will suffer. Overproduction of the vine may lead to premature death. It is also one of the harder things to visualize but one of the easier things to accomplish for the home gardener.
Wild Flower Garden - Plan to Plant
In the previous article I discussed design for your new wild flower garden. The next stage is planning the planting. This is an exciting stage, we are just a few steps away from turning your garden design concept into a reality. But first things first.
|home | site map|