Cyclamen coum Hybrids are a dainty group of flowering tuberous plants - though they are often referred to as cyclamen coum bulbs - with flowers ranging from white, through various pinks and into deepest carmine red. They tend to self seed themselves, so be careful of any 'weeding' you may do around the plant. Do not hoe, or when they are dormant, you cane accidentally scalp the top of the corm - taking off the flower buds in the process.
They have attractive leaves - normally smooth-edged and rounded, being dull green with silvery markings. Cyclamen hederifolium is the one with the 'ivy-like' leaves. Cyclamen coum bulbs will show on the surface slightly more than those of Cyclamen hederifolium.
Cyclamen coum bulbs will grow in a rock garden, or raised bed - not great lovers of wet conditions - and are particularly suited at the front of shrub borders (Tucked away beneath some deciduous shrub). A great way to herald the Spring or take away the winter blues.
A good carpeting plant, but should not be considered as a ground-coverer of weeds. The fact that they seem to do best in 'bare' soil is simply because not much else will grow well in the late winter is such conditions that Cyclamen coum enjoys.
This picture of Cyclamen coum is approx 2 times life-size
Cyclamen coum Hybrids are not the normal 'pot plant' cyclamen which is not hardy, though they are being planted out increasingly in sheltered positions. Cyclamen coum is a hardy variety which can stay in the garden border for ever if required. Unlike some of the other hardy cyclamen, it flowers in late winter/early spring with the foliage showing. Other hardy Cyclamen such as the Cyclamen neapolitanum (C. hederifolium) flower in the Autumn - before the foliage grows through.
The best effect I have seen, is a drift of these plants beneath the dense shade of a Cedar tree.
Cyclamen coum is the perfect choice for naturalising in woodland, under deciduous trees such as Oak in particular. They prefer a good rich soil - made up over the years with leafmould.
Cyclamen coum bulbs - or tubers to be correct - are normally available during autumn in their dormant state. Plant the tubers just below the surface, with just a sprinkling of soil over the top. If you are wanting a drift of Cyclamen, don't be tempted to plant them too close together. 30cm apart is fine for they will re-seed after establishment.
They should be planted in a well drained soil, and in particular prefer a dry soil for the summer months. Under trees and overhanging shrubs being the ideal place.
Container grown Cyclamen will do well if the container is sheltered from summer heat. Simply move it to the north side of the house, and bring it out into 'view' late winter to enjoy flowers and fo9liage.
Give an annual mulch of good rotted leafmould - in late summer after foliage die-down. You will notice that the Cyclamen will find its own level as it matures. this is simply because the enlarging tuber cannot force itself down into the ground, so eventually much of the tuber is forced above ground level. The mulch as described, will be welcomed!
As with all common bulbs. Cyclamen coum bulbs are herbaceous in that they die back after flowering each year. (Most herbaceous plants die down and have their 'rest' in the winter and then 'live it up' in the Spring and Summer - a much more sensible idea) The attractive foliage of the Cyclamen coum Hybrids persists well into the year and dies down late summer - ready to emerge a few moths later as a foil to the flowers.
If you want to try growing Cyclamen coum bulbs from seed, then sow the seed as soon as it is ripe. Sow the seed on the surface of the compost; cover the seed pot/tray with black plastic to keep dark, but remove the plastic as soon as the seeds start to germinate. Then sprinkle some vermiculite over the chitted seeds to anchor them to the compost. Grow on in cool conditions - 1 per 75cm pot. Use a no-soil compost.
If you have a few established plants, then you will probably find seedling in and around the parent plant. Remove these carefully from late spring and pot up individually.
Cyclamen coum are normally bought as 'hybrid' mixes which should allow for a good range of flower colours. It is also possible to buy specific cultivars from specialist nurseries. As well as assorted flower colours, it is possible to buy 'enhanced' foliage types, with names such as Pewter Carpet and whatever.
Rarely any problems with the hardy Cyclamen group. However, if you live in an area with an 'active squirrel or mouse population, they can sometimes be a pest - stealing the nutritious tubers - especially with newly planted tubers.