There are about 20 species of tuberous perennials, in this genus. They occur in habitats ranging from alpine woodland and damp woods to dry sands and maquis, from the Mediterranean East to Iran and South to Somalia and Southwestern Asia. The tuberous sit on or just below the soil surface. They produces rounded to heart shaped, sometimes toothed or lobed, often with silver zones or light and dark patterns above and purplish red below. Leaves of autumn flowering species last through winter to spring carried singly on bare stalks. The elegant, nodding, sometimes fragrant flowers, ½-1 1/4″ long, each have 5 reflexed, twisted petals, varying from white to pink and carmine-red, often with darker mouths (perianth tube rims). Flowers may be borne at almost any time of year, depending on the species. In most species, the flower stalk coils onto the surface after flowering to release the ripe seeds.
Grow hardy species and cultivars in a rock garden, border, or raised bed. All parts may cause severe discomfort if ingested.
Cyclamens vary from frost tender to very frost hardy. They should be planted in light, fibrous soil, rich in organic matter with good drainage and sun or part shade. Water regularly during growth but allow to dry out during summer. The tubers are best left undisturbed and should grow larger each year, flowering more abundantly each season.
Prone to mice, squirrels, spider mites, vine weevil, cyclamen mite, gray mold, and black rot.
C. coum f. albissimum – C. coum ‘Album’ – This tuberous perennial grows 2-4″ tall. It produces rounded to heart shaped leaves, 1-2 ½” long, either glossy, unmarked, and deep green with silver patterns. In winter and early spring, along with the leaves it bears compact flowers, to ½” long, that are carmine-red, with dark carmine-red stains at the base, above white rimmed mouths.