cyclamen coum

Heidi’s January Plant Pick: Cyclamen Coum

This adorable Coum Hardy Cyclamen (Cyclamen coum), a tuberous perennial that hails from Turkey, is the baby brother of my November plant pick, the Florist Cyclamen.

A Tough Beauty

The Coum Hardy Cyclamen is a tough little guy that is hardy to -20 degrees and blooms in the dead of winter.  The blossoms are just starting to appear in my shade garden.

Cyclamen Coum
Cyclamen coum at the base of a mountain ash tree

Some winters, the blossoms can be seen peeking up through the snow.  The flowers (usually pink or mauve) only get about 4 inches tall on red stems, and the plants grow in dense patches up to about 12 inches wide.  The leaves are also very attractive.

Cyclamen coum flower closeup

They are sweet, subtle little plants, not flashy show-stoppers.  But they are a welcome sight in the middle of winter when nothing else is blooming.

Great for Naturalizing

They look great in a woodland setting and thrive in hardiness zones 6 to 10 in full to partial shade.  Everything I have read about them says they need well-drained soil, but I would say the soil in my shade garden is just a touch on the heavy side, and these little guys still thrive.

They go dormant in summer, so winter is the time they shine.  To create a year-round display of blossoms, groups of Coum Hardy Cyclamen can be planted around the bases of deciduous trees along with groups of shade-tolerant spring, summer, and fall-blooming bulbs and tubers.

In fact, there is another small hardy Cyclamen variety, Cyclamen hederifolium, which blooms in fall.

Care

My shade garden (in hardiness zone 8a) is wonderfully low-maintenance, and I do nothing at all for these little guys.  They like soil that is rich in organic matter, and this occurs naturally in my shade garden as the trees lose their leaves and cones.

Once the plant is established, it’s okay to let this cyclamen dry out a little in summer, when it goes dormant anyway.

They prefer to be undisturbed and don’t take kindly to being dug up and replanted, although I have tried it and had success.

All in all, an easy little perennial.


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