Thursday, February 28, 2008

Even more dry shade

These next two plants were brought to my attention by a couple of my favorite customers. They come in every couple of months or so and buy a box or two of perennials. I always like to check out what they are purchasing since they seem to be drawn to the interesting and unusual. I noticed that in their last couple of visits they purchased a number of hardy cyclamen. Of course I was intrigued and asked them why cyclamen. To which they answered "dry shade". Okay, I have an abundant amount of dry shade so I planted the two varieties we carry C. coum and C. hederifolium. I planted the drought...this past fall, in dry shade. They have bloomed there off and on all through January and February. The foliage is quite lovely on both and I think I would grow them even if they didn't flower.

C. hederifolium is the most reliably hardy of all the Cyclamen species, flowering well in the garden and seeding around. It grows well both in full sun and partial shade or beneath deciduous trees. It particularly enjoys growing in soil which contains a good proportion of leafmould (leaf litter). It easily survives low temperatures.

C. coum grows in deep forest shade often right up against a tree. An old patch clumps to a twelve inch spread of rounded mottled leaves mid-autumn through early spring, with the height of their bloom in winter.

From what I have been reading they are also very long lived.

They have lovely foliage, they bloom in winter, they colonize and prefer dry shade. I think I am in love.

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