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Author Topic: Cyclamen graecum  (Read 3741 times)

anita

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Cyclamen graecum
« on: May 21, 2017, 01:48:42 AM »
I tipped out a pot of Cyclamen graecum forma album yesterday as I wanted to move some plants into a rock wall as an experiment. I knew it was late, I'm in the southern hemisphere, so the plants are already in leaf, in fact it was the prominent leaf growth which prompted the move.
I planted 10 seeds from the late Marcus Harvey's wonderful Hillview nursery in November 2015, so essentially the seeds had only one growing season from germination in March last year to around November/December 2016. All 10 seeds germinated and I had thought to leave them in the pot for another year to build the bulbs, but when the leaves emerged this year it was clear they'd done a lot of growing last year and would be very crowded and languishing by end of season.
I decided to pot up (and plant some in the rock wall) but when I emptied the pot I was amazed at the growth from last year. The seed had been sown quite shallowly but the contractile roots must have drawn the bulbs down significantly as they were about 3cm down in the pot and as the pot was only about 12 cm deep the roots were already circling. The bulbs themselves are the size of cherries, and the contractile roots are just amazing. Unfortunately in trying to detangle the 10 bulbs there was a little damage but I'm hopeful. The picture includes a cork for scale - who has matchboxes anymore!
Dry Gardener (rainfall not wine). Adelaide, South Australia. Max temp 45C min -1C

hamparstum

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 11:39:20 AM »
Anita! Thank you so much for your link. My graecum are right now dormant. They have developed as you say cherry sized bulbs. They look health and alive.  However their leaves dried up. I've kept the pot in the window sill, reasonably dry and I'm wondering what to  do  next. I've got a very dry cool summer here. (max 30C in the highs just a few days in summer). Our lows in winter average -1C/-3C. Occasionaly I might have -6 C in winter.  Would you place the pot outside to get winter chill? Perhaps sunk in and with some leave's mulching (under an english oak)?. From what I gather each Cyclamen has a partially different life cycle and I'm trying to figure out each . Thanks so  much
Arturo
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Jupiter

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2017, 12:54:28 PM »
Hey that's good growth in one season Anita! Arturo, Don't worry too much about your seedlings. They are much tougher than they look!
Jamus Stonor, in the hills behind Adelaide, South Australia.

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vanozzi

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2017, 01:01:11 PM »
G'day Arturo.I would follow whatever advice Anita gives--I'm learning as I go.

Apologies  for this poor pic, its past 9.30 PM here,dark outside, but I skipped out to find my pot of Cyc.graecum to photo.These seedlings were sown on 26/3/2015 in a 140mm pot that holds 1.55 litres.Pot outside uncovered on the south side of my house.Germination was excellent, even though I did not follow the proven best method--ie soak seed.I used the larger pot for these graecums as I wanted to try and achieve uninterrupted growth for at least two years and this specie prefers a deeper pot eventually.
In my area there is no frost and temps don't go below 0 c in winter.
I think your graecum will do better outside than inside.
Paul R
Bunbury Western Australia

hamparstum

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2017, 01:38:41 PM »
Hi again Paul, I wonder why  my C.graecum went dormant. Do they need a cold spell? I do have frost these days almost every morning not much below -2C. So unless I bring them inside in the evenings I would risk freezing the seedlings. I assume that as the bulbs grow ( which I've read they can grow enormous) they'll be better prepared to the elements. I'm planning them in a winter sunny spot under an oak tree,  which will provide heavy shade in summer and also the necessary dryness. But I've yet to wait perhaps a couple of years before they reach your potted plant's size. Its unclear to me at this stage if they'll spend their lives in pots sunken and lifted part of winter to maintain dryness or will they be able to thrive in the open ground all year round. I hope for the latter.
Thanks Jamus for your advice as well.
Arturo
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anita

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 01:39:53 PM »
Anita! Thank you so much for your link. My graecum are right now dormant. They have developed as you say cherry sized bulbs. They look health and alive.  However their leaves dried up. I've kept the pot in the window sill, reasonably dry and I'm wondering what to  do  next. I've got a very dry cool summer here. (max 30C in the highs just a few days in summer). Our lows in winter average -1C/-3C. Occasionaly I might have -6 C in winter.  Would you place the pot outside to get winter chill? Perhaps sunk in and with some leave's mulching (under an english oak)?. From what I gather each Cyclamen has a partially different life cycle and I'm trying to figure out each . Thanks so  much
Arturo
Arturo,
My conditions on the Adelaide plains are a little different to yours so my comments are based on what I do in those conditions. Our summers are both hotter and dryer than yours with temperatures generally above 28degrees from Nov to March and regularly above 30. We generally get about 10 days above 40 deg C.  Summers are very dry with little or no rain for three months from Dec. Winters are milder than yours; the temp rarely below 2degs C, even at night. Annual rainfall is around 560mm.
I grow cyclamen both in pots and in the ground. I have C hederifolium, C hederifolium ssp crassifolium, C. africanum, C. coum, C. graecum and C. libanoticum in the ground. I also have C. repandum, C. persicum and  C. creticum in pots.
All the plants receive supplementary watering in summer. The ones in the ground when the rest of the garden beds get watered. If I didn't water in summer most plant species would die. I use Viola odorata, the common violet as an indicator species; when it collapses in the garden beds I water. The pots are watered once a month during summer to ensure that the potting medium doesn't dry out and dessicate the cyclamen tubers. I increase watering to keep the soil damp when the potted plants initiate growth... then moving them out into the garden to get natural rain.
Based on my conditions I would suggest that the C graecum go outside under the mulch as you suggested as I suspect that it needs a little cold to initiate growth.
I don't treat the different species of cyclamen I grow very differently, just initiating watering of the pots at different times based on the growth of each species or clone. But you will notice that all the species I grow enjoy very similar conditions to my climate in their native homes... as I tend to select plants based on what I think will adapt to my conditions. I don't try to grow the species that can't take heat or prefer damper summer conditions, because they will never thrive for me.
I hope my advice, in context helps.
Dry Gardener (rainfall not wine). Adelaide, South Australia. Max temp 45C min -1C

hamparstum

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2017, 02:21:07 PM »
Anita! Thank you. I've got a good picture of how to go about my hardy cyclamens. I couldn't grow florists cyclamen here outside;they would freeze. However I'm now trying the smaller hardy species for the first time. Thus with no local source of experience I'm checking out the world at large. I've  just only started learning with them.
Arturo
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anita

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2017, 02:58:44 PM »
Anita! Thank you. I've got a good picture of how to go about my hardy cyclamens.  Thus with no local source of experience I'm checking out the world at large. I've just only started learning with them.
Arturo
Learning from this forum has really helped me too - but I've had to adapt to my local conditions. Things that work in cooler climates don't work here .. for example if it needs hothouse culture in the UK I can generally grow outdoors here. Hence the boring dialogue about Adelaide conditions, what works for you might not work for me and vice versa.
Jamus/Jupiter and I live within a 20k radius, but his garden is higher than mine so things grow differently for us. I can't get species tulips to reflower or paeonies to grow because my garden doesn't get low enough temperatures in winter. Jamus doesn't have issues with either.
Sounds like you might have the right climate for paeonies though!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 08:36:43 PM by anita »
Dry Gardener (rainfall not wine). Adelaide, South Australia. Max temp 45C min -1C

hamparstum

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 03:49:57 PM »
yes Anita, sometimes trying to figure out local conditions looks like a fruitless nightmare. At least we share the same seasons... I keep adjusting all the time. I  know that each gardening site is unique, but we have a very limited supply of site specific ornamentals, so we have to adapt what is available from the world at large.  I do grow quite a few paeonies here and others grow tree peaonies as well. I haven't had access to tulip species bulbs so I can't answer that.
Thanks again
Arturo
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SJW

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2017, 01:38:14 AM »
Anita! Thank you so much for your link. My graecum are right now dormant. They have developed as you say cherry sized bulbs. They look health and alive.  However their leaves dried up. I've kept the pot in the window sill, reasonably dry and I'm wondering what to  do  next. I've got a very dry cool summer here. (max 30C in the highs just a few days in summer). Our lows in winter average -1C/-3C. Occasionaly I might have -6 C in winter.  Would you place the pot outside to get winter chill? Perhaps sunk in and with some leave's mulching (under an english oak)?. From what I gather each Cyclamen has a partially different life cycle and I'm trying to figure out each . Thanks so  much
Arturo

On the question of C graecum's growth cycle, it is an autumn and winter growing species in the wild. As the temperature starts to fall in late summer and the first of the autumn rains come, the tuber is stimulated into growth, flowering and forming new leaves. As the temperature rises and conditions become much drier in late spring and early summer, the foliage dies back naturally and the plant becomes dormant over the hot, dry summer. So you obviously need to try and replicate those conditions in cultivation. In the UK that normally means growing in a container in the greenhouse...

I'm not sure that C graecum's 'contractile' roots are contractile in the sense the term is used when discussing true bulbs where the roots actually 'pull' the bulb down to the correct depth. In graecum's case I think they are more accurately anchor roots to hold the tuber firmly in the often rocky ground it grows in. They grow long to seek out water deep within the soil/rocks. In cultivation, if I plant a young tuber at soil level I can't ever recall it being pulled down to a lower depth over subsequent years. Of course, in the wild there may be some root contraction and expansion going on as the plant responds to dessication over the summer and then rain in the autumn.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 01:42:56 AM by SJW »
Steve Walters, West Yorkshire

anita

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2017, 02:41:44 AM »
I'm not sure that C graecum's 'contractile' roots are contractile in the sense the term is used when discussing true bulbs where the roots actually 'pull' the bulb down to the correct depth. In graecum's case I think they are more accurately anchor roots to hold the tuber firmly in the often rocky ground it grows in. They grow long to seek out water deep within the soil/rocks. In cultivation, if I plant a young tuber at soil level I can't ever recall it being pulled down to a lower depth over subsequent years. Of course, in the wild there may be some root contraction and expansion going on as the plant responds to dessication over the summer and then rain in the autumn.

Thanks for the illumination Steve, I described C graecum as having contractile roots simply because the corms had moved so far down in the pot from sowing. Other longer established tubers have dropped even lower into their pots so that they develop strange little underground trunks from which the leaves grow. These 'trunks' which I unfortunately have not photographed, have been as long as 1.5cm and the roots of these older plants sown into deep pots have reached down nearly 30 cm. This may be an adaption to our hot conditions.

Thank you for relating how the plants grow in the wild... I am hoping that the plants I have transplanted into a freestone rock wall will adapt well, it sounds as though they thrive in similar situations in the wild.
Dry Gardener (rainfall not wine). Adelaide, South Australia. Max temp 45C min -1C

SJW

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2017, 10:41:14 PM »
Hi Anita, yes cyclamen can develop these 'floral trunks' particularly where tubers get an annual covering of leaf litter and so get a little deeper every year. In pots, the compost level can obviously drop over time as the humus/organic matter content in the compost is used up. Although I'm not sure that would adequately explain why your tubers have moved so far down in their pots!

I think Adelaide has a 'Mediterranean' climate? So C. graecum should do really well for you outdoors. They can certainly be seen in Greece growing on rocky ground and among the drystone walls farmers use to terrace cultivated areas on sloping ground.
Steve Walters, West Yorkshire

hamparstum

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2017, 11:23:47 PM »
Hi Steve, with your description of the growing conditions of C.graecum, I think I can easily meet its requirements. If you have any data about its altitudinal distribution it will help me understand its winter hardiness .  I suppose that an initial bulblet will be less hardy than a large tuber.  My place is a typical Med climate with the restrictions of altitude plus southern S.Hemisphere,  which means that our soils never build up enough summer temps in spite of fairly mild winters. We are expecting hard frost tonight to -4C,  although the forecast says -6C. Just in case  my graecums were  placed inside my frost free cool greenhouse.
Arturo
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SJW

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2017, 12:36:48 AM »
Hi Arturo, some useful info here: http://www.cyclamen.org/plants/species/cyclamen-graecum/. C. graecum can be found from sea level up to around an altitude of 1000m. They may be ok with an occasional light frost (I don't risk them outside in my UK climate!) but freezing conditions for any length of time will kill them. I'm not entirely sure but I think the Cretan form, C. graecum subsp candicum, may be slightly hardier than standard graecum but don't take my word for it!
Steve Walters, West Yorkshire

Jupiter

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Re: Cyclamen graecum
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2017, 02:32:52 AM »
Here in Adelaide these Mediterranean cyclamens are seriously no fuss plants. You can buy a pot of persicum or hederifolium and dump it in the garden and it'll establish itself and grow happily for years, gently seeding around. I have C. hederifolium in the garden where I literally did that. Bought a pot from a nursery, planted it in a woodlandy spot and forgot about it. Never water it, never shelter it, never do anything except enjoy the flowers. We in the South have to sit and listen to all of you from colder climes harping on about your meconopsis and your sickening displays of choice alpines. Please allow us to gloat a little over the things we can grow and grow well.   ;D 

I break all the rules when it comes to growing bulbs and sow seed in small punnets. Firstly I sow so many that if they all went into bigger pots I'd need a LOT more space, and secondly; I like to fiddle with plants. I turn them out and check on their development and disturb and muck around with them, then re-pot them as I see fit. You will all jump up and down and shout, no no, you're doing it wrong! But it works for me and I've never been one for following folklore.
Jamus Stonor, in the hills behind Adelaide, South Australia.

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