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Hardy Cyclamen – Propagation and Hybrids
Propagation of hardy cyclamen
Apparently, cyclamen tubers can be divided like potatoes during the dormant period. Each cut must contain at least one growing point (eye) at the top and one root bud (initial) at the bottom. The cut tubers should be dried for several days and sprinkled with a fungicide before planting. Tubers dry out quickly, so dividing can be difficult. We have not personally tried this technique. There is only one recorded successful case of cyclamen cloning by tissue culture, which occurred at Terra Nova Nurseries which produced the cultivar Cyclamen coum ‘Something Magic’.
The best way to propagate garden cyclamen is to collect and sow seeds. Cyclamen are facultative non-crossers so they will set seed best if there are multiple plants growing close together (that are not clones). Keep an eye on the developing fruits. They will begin to soften before they open. You must collect the seeds after they are ripe but before the fruit opens as the insects will likely pull them off before you. Ripe seeds change color from white to light brown. When they dry, they take on a dark brown color.
Since the seeds do not require dormancy, they are best sown fresh and will germinate in 2-4 weeks. They can also be dried and stored for a year or more if needed. Seeds sown after the parent plants die can wait until the typical growing season begins before they germinate. The longer the seeds are stored, the more erratic germination will be. Since light inhibits germination, sow the seeds ¼” deep in a pot with a good potting soil such as Fafard. Keep the pot lightly moist but not waterlogged, allowing the surface to just dry between waterings. If the mixture dries out too much, the seedlings will die. Ideal temperatures for seed germination should be based on the temperature in their natural habitat when the plants germinate. In other words, plants that come out of dormancy in summer germinate at a much higher temperature than species that come out of dormancy in winter. Germinated seeds will first form a small tuber, followed by a single leaf. I prefer to transplant them into individual cell flats at this time. With good care, your cyclamen should start flowering in about 18 months, at which time they can be planted in the garden.
Hardy cyclamen hybrids
Cyclamen do not hybridize in the wild. In breeding, they interbreed only with certain difficulties because most species have different numbers of chromosomes. There are only 7 registered hybrids with another 4 or 5 possible crosses not yet registered. Their traits are usually intermediate between their parents unless otherwise noted. The following are descriptions of known hybrids.
Cyclamen x Drydenia (Cyclamen coum x Cyclamen alpinum). Offspring mostly have curled petals and are fertile. (At least hardiness zone 5-8)
Cyclamen x hildebrandii (Cyclamen africanum x Cyclamen hederifolium) is the first registered hybrid, created in 1955. The resulting plants resemble C. hederifolium on steroids, with a more subdued leaf pattern. (Hardiness zone 7-8, at least)
Cyclamen x meiklei (Cyclamen creticum x Cyclamen repandum) (Hardiness Zone 7b-9, guesswork)
Cyclamen x saundersiae (Cyclamen balearicum x Cyclamen rhodium ssp. peloponnesiacum) has variable silver-dotted and marbled leaves, and most often pink flowers. (Hardiness Zone 7-9, guesswork)
Cyclamen x schwarzii (Cyclamen libanoticum x Cyclamen pseudibericum) (Hardiness Zone 7-9, presumed)
Cyclamen x wellensiekii (Cyclamen cyprium x Cyclamen libanoticum) was named after Professor Dr. Ir. SJ Wellensiek of the Agricultural University of Wageningen, Netherlands, who first produced the hybrid in 1969. Blooms long into winter and sets fertile seed. The flowering period is significantly extended and lasts as long as 6 months. (Endurance Zone 7b-9, guesswork)
Cyclamen x white (Cyclamen graecum x Cyclamen hederifolium) The flowers of this Hardy Cyclamen cross are unusually plump.
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#Hardy #Cyclamen #Propagation #Hybrids