Plant of the Month – Cyclamen coum
Always a joy to see at this time of the year is the dainty little Cyclamen coum that produces masses of colourful flowers through February and March. This hardy tuberous perennial grows wild in the Black sea area, Bulgaria, Turkey and Caucasus where it makes a spreading ground cover just 5-8cm (2-3in) tall. It’s totally hardy down to -20°C and is perfect for growing in the garden under trees and shrubs or naturalised in lawn areas where it makes a wonderful show of flowers to brighten up the latter part of winter.
It’s also perfect for growing in containers on a patio. Flower colour ranges from white, through pale pink to carmine-red and when you grow several different plants they will hybridise and produce even more colours.
Foliage and flowers can start as early as January and will carry on into March. After flowering, the foliage gradually dies down and the underground tuber remains dormant over summer. New plants can be raised from seed, or at this time of the year you’ll find plants in garden centres in flower.
To grow well, they prefer a humus rich, well-drained soil and if left undisturbed in the garden, they will seed and gradually form a group of plants that you can enjoy for many years.
Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.
We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.