Cyclamen hederifolium (Ivy-leaved cyclamen) is a tuberous perennial flowering plant. The tuber is round-flattened and produces roots from the top and sides, leaving the base bare. The tuber becomes larger with age, older specimens commonly become more than 10 inches across. Leaves and flowers grow from buds on top. The leaves are variably shaped and colored. Depending on the specimen, leaf shape varies from heart-shaped to long and arrow-shaped, usually with 2-3 angled lobes on each side, resembling the juvenile leaves of ivy. Leaf color varies from all-green to all-silver, but the most common is a Christmas tree or hastate pattern in silver or pewter and various shades of green.
The flowers bloom from late summer to autumn and have 5 petals, usually pink, purple, or white with a streaky magenta V-shaped marking on the nose, but sometimes pure white with no markings. The flowers are occasionally fragrant. The shape of the flower varies from long and thin to short and squat. After fertilization, the flower stem coils tightly, starting at the end and rests above the tuber. Seeds are amber, held in a round pod, which opens by 5-10 flaps at maturity. Cyclamen goes dormant before summer when the seed pods ripen and open.
Scientific Name: Cyclamen hederifolium
Synonyms: Cyclamen neapolitanum
Common Names: Ivy-leaved cyclamen or sowbread.
How to grow and maintain Cyclamen hederifolium ( Ivy-leaved cyclamen):
It flourishes best in bright light without direct sunlight. If conditions are too dark the flowers are more sporadic and if things are too bright the flowers and leaves can become faded.
It grows well in moist, well-drained, fertile organic soil with a mix of sand.
It prefers cool temperatures from 50°F/10°C – 65°F/18°C are ideal. Do not expose to temperatures below 10°C (50°F).
Water once or twice weekly once the cyclamen begins putting on new growth in fall. Supply enough moisture so the soil doesn’t dry out completely, but avoid overwatering that causes soggy soil. Irrigation for dormant summer-planted tubers is rarely necessary until new growth begins.
Humidity levels are best if they’re improved by placing the plant in a pebble humidity tray or using other methods of increasing levels.
Fertilize once every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half while the plant has flowers and foliage.
It can be easily propagated by seed, in darkness as soon as ripe at 12 to 15°C. Can be beneficial to soak seed for 10 hours prior to sowing.
Re-pot with fresh soil and a slightly larger pot while the plant is dormant. Cyclamen does the best planted in a soil-based potting mix, with the top of the tuber just slightly above the soil line.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. May suffer from vine weevils.