Though Cyclamen flowers symbolise departure, sorrowful resignation, farewell and death………. the beauty, bright colours and long lasting nature are so contradictory. They are bright, pretty and so very alive!! Cyclamens also symbolise that all good things in life will eventually come to an end. But really??? The dead look of Cyclamen corms will come back to life year after year and the seeds from the flowers will also bring new life… new generation.
One day, I saw the most beautiful cyclamen I had ever seen in my friend’s house. She just bought the plant recently. The flowers were very large, white in colour and deep pink ruffles on the edges of the petals. And how it bloomed! There were so many flowers for that young corm. Then about one year later, I went to that friend’s house again and I asked about her beautiful plant. Sadly, she said that the plant died and she threw it in the rubbish bin. She told me that what was left from the plant was a shrivelled bulb, very ugly and looked dead. Oh no! That ugly looking cyclamen corm was not dead at all, it was dormant in summer.
If only my friend still kept the dead looking corm, the plant would surely come to life when the weather was cool by the end of autumn. The plant would have been in full bloom again during the winter and spring.
Cyclamen coum and Cyclamen hederifolium were native to the Mediterranean and the surroundings, from Greece to western Asia and some parts of northern Africa. Many species tolerate cold winter but the plant will go dormant in hot temperature above 20deg. C.
So far as I know, only miniature cyclamen can be grown in the ground under the shade of trees, but the species with large and fancy flowers will grow best in pots and containers. Can be kept as indoor plant in well-lit position away from heater but they also thrive outside in a shady spot.
When finish flowering, do not pull the flower stems off the corm as it can damage it. Instead, hold the stem firmly and gently twist it until it comes off. Later when all the leaves have dried in summer time, carefully trim the dried stems with a small scissor. It is the time for the plant to sleep. Move the pot in cool and dark spot. I kept mine under the table in the veranda and under the garden bench underneath the tree.
After the summer heat has gone and the days have started to get cooler by the end of autumn, you will notice that the ugly dead looking corm comes back to life. You will see tiny leaves have started to grow, and even flower buds also started to show up. It is time to let it out of the dark place and move the plant to a brighter spot in a shady area. I will apply liquid fertiliser. Soon you will enjoy the beautiful flowers again for a long time in the winter and spring time. If you are lucky, the flowers will grow some seeds and new corms will start to grow. When the corm is still young, it will look rounder, but in mature plant it will grow wide and kind of flat.