In the depths of winter when everything is in it’s deep slumber, the trees look like great looming bones and not a flower is to be seen then a cheery cyclamen pops up pink, white, purple or red their bright colours seem to defy the darkness.
I think they are wonderful their patterned leaves and beautiful colours warm my heart. My mum treated me to some last year and they have been flowering all winter and even now in spring.
I was very excited to notice they have seed pods developing so I will be keeping a close eye on them and will wait to collect them. (I adore collecting seed it’s saves so much money, and I will be honest, it’s like collecting treasure.)
As you can see from my picture they aren’t quite ready yet, I have heard, when the time is right to collect as the stem which holds the seed starts to coil up like a cork screw bringing the seed closer to the ground. A clever little plant indeed! This is how they spread their enchanting carpets of rich foliage and captivating flowers through the woodlands. Clever, because by doing this they bag the space shadowing out the other seedlings with their foliage.
But what to do once the seed pod is ready to be picked? The seeds within will need soaking for 24 hrs and rinsed. Then pop them onto the surface of moist free draining low nutrient compost, covering with a moderate layer of compost which which help push the seed coat off the emerging seedling. They tray should be covered with black plastic as they require complete darkness for germination and a constant temperature, no higher than 15C. Once the seedling appear you should put them into a light position again maintaining a constant temperature. Also they like a bit of humidity this helps the pesky seed coat to fall off.
Fingers crossed these little fellas should be pricked out 8-10 weeks from sowing again into a low nutrient well drained compost. It’s important at this point that. The newly developing corm is just visible above the compost.
After about 8 weeks they should be pricked out into pots, don’t leave it too long! As their leaves will get all tangled together. Again when pricking out ensure their corm is just seen at the top of the compost and watering in will help. If they are too deep the corm may suffer from Botrytis. Be gentle when potting them up and place them into a well structured compost. The important thing is to keep them moist, not waterlogged; after all your hard work you don’t want the crowns to rot away.
To feed 2:1:1 NKP weekly, then once buds appear change to a 1:1:1 increasing to a 1:1:2 as the flowers develop.
Ok this might sound like a lot of hard work, but sometimes it’s good to have a little challenge, something to set your mind to; and when everything looks dark and grey in winter you can look forward to their majestic blooms to see you through to late spring.