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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Seed borne plant diseases, Plant diseases--Diagnosis, Cyclamen

I am a collector of Cyclamens and grow most of my collection in pots. I believe my C. purpurascens are infected with Botrytis, though I have not had this confirmed by any tests. Last year was particularly bad and I had to remove nearly every leaf from both my plants. This summer, as the new leaves emerged, I sprayed the leaves and surface of the grit with a sulfur solution, which seemed to dramatically reduce the infection rate. Now, the infection seems to be back. Can you suggest some methods of control? Do I have to have it confirmed first? I repotted them early this summer, and sterilized the pots and replaced the grit at that time. What else can I do?


What you have done to control Botrytis is what is recommended by the Pacific Northwest Plant Disease Management Handbook. It does indicate the Botrytis can be seed-borne and grow systemically in the plant. Your real solution may be to obtain plants that are certified disease free.

However in researching Botrytis online, I found an article, "Botrytis Blight of Flowering Potted Plants" in Plant Health Progress, from Plant Management Network International. This article was written by a researcher at Cornell University who suggested that Cyclamen are also susceptible to Fusarium wilt and that the symptoms are quite similar. Therefore, I do think it would be wise to take a sample of your diseased plants to a Master Gardener clinic for confirmation. The Master Gardener clinics in Thurston County can be found at their website.

Date 2017-08-15
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Propagation, Cyclamen

I have a Cyclamen that blooms in the fall, so I think it would be C. hederifolium. Right now there is a clump of 1/2 in. diameter "seeds" attached to curly spirals. I'm wondering if I can harvest those seeds and give them to others. In the book I'm reading, they say it is propagated by corms, which I assume I would find if I dug them up. What should be done at "cleanup time," which seems to be about now, as there are only a few dried up leaves left, and all those "curls and pods." I've had it several years and have done nothing to it. It blooms beautifully in the fall each year with deep pink flowers. I do see tiny starts at various places in the yard, so some seeds have moved around.


Propagation by seed is the most commonly recommended method according to the following resources:
American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant by Plant Manual of Practical Techniques by Alan Toogood, The Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants by Christopher Brickell, The Complete Book of Plant Propagation by Jim Arbury, Richard Bird, Mike Honour, Clive Innes and Mike Salmon, The Plant Care Manual by Stefan Buczacki and Cyclamen; A Guide for Gardeners, Horticulturists and Botanists by Christopher Grey-Wilson. Apparently propagation from corms is technical and difficult. However, if you choose to give it a try, The title Cyclamen, mentioned above, does go into some detail about the process.

You can thank the ants for the tiny starts you are finding in your yard, they eat the "sweet and sticky mucilage" that covers the seed, they then leave the seed alone where it lies, ready to germinate on its own afterward. (Cyclamen) As for the clump of seeds you are finding on your plant, their dark brown color indicates they are ripe and ready for sowing. They require dark, cool temperatures for germination (43-54 F) for C. hederifolium. It is recommended that the seeds soak for a minimum of 10 hours (a small amount of gentle detergent can be added) and rinsed thoroughly. They can be sown at the end of summer and produce flowers in about 14 months. (The Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation).

Unfortunately I couldn't find much information for your question regarding clean up. However, I would suggest that it would be perfectly acceptable to remove the dead leaves and seed pods, including the curly spirals that are attached to them. You can choose to sow the seeds or give them away to friends. As long as you don't disturb the exposed curled tubers that may be present at or near the surface of the soil, I think you'll plant will be fine. You may also want to consider adding additional plants that show their true colors in the summer when your Cyclamen is dormant. This would mask the appearance of your Cyclamen and perhaps dissolve any need for clean up.

Date 2018-05-23
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Indoor gardening, Cyclamen

I brought home a cyclamen at the beginning of November (a couple of weeks ago) and it is now the saddest thing ever. All of the leaves and flowers shriveled up and went mushy. I just cut it back to the bulb-base. I bought it from a greenhouse and wanted to keep it as a house plant. It did receive filtered sunlight. Can it come back? What should I do for it to succeed and be healthy?


If you are growing the less hardy cyclamen which overwinters as an indoor plant (Cyclamen persicum) and flowers from midwinter to spring, the following information from local gardening expert Ed Hume describes ideal conditions for growing this plant indoors:
"In a protected spot this species will tolerate temperatures to about 25 degrees outdoors. Colder temperatures and the plants must be kept indoors. Indoors they must have ample humidity. One suitable way of providing the humidity is to simply place a glass or decorative vase full of water near the plant. Then, as the water evaporates it provides the humidity the cyclamen needs. The second most important requirement of indoor Cyclamen is the need for cool temperatures. Keep them in a room where temperatures range between 55 and 65 degrees. Keep the soil a little on the moist side, but never continually wet. Water with room temperature water. When given proper care it is not unusual for this plant to continue to grow and flower for several years."

Is it possible your plant is mushy because of too much water? Is the indoor air too hot and dry? Here is additional information about indoor or florist's cyclamen from University of Minnesota Extension (no longer available online):
"A cyclamen won't be too happy in a house heated much above 70 degrees F, with the dry atmosphere that goes with it. If you are unable to provide cool enough conditions, the plant will survive for a time, but eventually it will develop yellow foliage and its blooming time may be cut short. It will probably tolerate a less than ideal location for a day or two as long as you return it to a better place shortly afterwards. The plant will tolerate indoor conditions even better if you move it to a cool spot at night. Make sure to provide as much light as possible in its daytime location.
Watering incorrectly can cause many problems, especially when too much water has been applied. Always wait until the soil surface feels dry before you water, but don't wait until the plant becomes limp. Do not water the center of the plant or the tuber may rot. A cyclamen prefers to receive a good soaking, then dry out partially before receiving a good soaking again. Allow the plant to drain over a sink or empty the water collection tray beneath the container after a few minutes. This will help prevent the roots from remaining too wet, which can lead to rotting."

University of California, Davis's page on Cyclamen describes diseases and pests that may affect the plants.

It is also possible you bought a summer to fall-blooming cyclamen species which one normally grows outdoors, and it may be trying to enter dormancy. Do you have information about the species you are growing? once we know the species name, it should help us figure out what is happening with your Cyclamen.

Date 2017-07-18
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Anemone, Plants and history, Ethnobotany, Cyclamen

Cyclamen start blooming in the fall. Diana Wells, in her book 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names (Algonquin Books, 1997) reports that Cyclamen's common name is "sowbread" because they were supposedly used to feed pigs. The name cyclamen comes from the Greek "kyklo" meaning circle and probably referring to the seed stalks that curl up to a tight coil as they ripen.

Wells writes about another autumn flower, Japanese anemones. Plant hunter Robert Fortune sent seeds of the plant to England in 1844. He noted these white flowering perennials were often growing on graves in China and remarked Anemone "[a] most appropriate ornament for the last resting places of the dead."

A few other fun books on the lore and history of plants are Cornucopia the Lore of Fruits and Vegetables by Annie Lise Roberts (Knickerbocker, 1998) with colorful photos and recipes and the classic Who named the Daisy, Who named the Rose by Mary Durant (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1976) that gives a folk history of American wildflowers.

Date: 2007-04-03
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Lindera, Shade-tolerant plants, Epimedium, Carex, Shade gardening, Cyclamen

If you think a shady garden is a liability there is a good book that will change your mind. Gardening in the Shade (Horticulture Books, 2004) was compiled from articles that originally appeared in Horticulture Magazine. The book is divided into four sections: techniques, general design, plant for shade and step by step projects. Some of the plants suggested are Epimedium, sedge, Cyclamen and Japanese Spicebush (Lindera obtusiloba). Any one with cedar trees in their garden will want to read the essay by a local Northwest writer on coping with dry shade. Other resources for shade gardening include the classic book, The Complete Shade Gardener by George Schenk (Timber Press, 1984) and the web page created by University of Missouri Extension.

Date: 2006-10-23
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Plant and garden societies, Cyclamen

If you're only familiar with the florist's cyclamen with large pink or white flowers you might want to give one of the diminutive yet hardy species a try. Some species are in flower now, while others flower in winter or early spring. Even after the flowers fade the marbled foliage provide months of interest. These summer dormant tubers do best in well-drained soil under deciduous trees that allow good light in winter. Check out the Cyclamen Society web site for more details, including how to keep your florist cyclamen alive.

Date: 2007-04-03
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May 31 2018 13:14:08