Superficially cyclamen colchicum is similar to Cyclamen purpurascens, but with a much thicker, more leathery texture and a thickened lower margin to the leaves, which also tend to be less patterned. The flowers are a similar shade of purplish-pink, a little more compact, and the seed capsules are much smaller than Cyclamen purpurascens. When the two species are grown together side-by-side, the differences are more apparent. Flowers during August - September.

Position in the Garden: In the open garden, cyclamen prefer a position which is slightly shaded in summer, and moist during autumn through to late spring. An ideal site can be found around the base of mature shrubs and trees, but they also do well along north-facing walls, in stone troughs and in the rock garden. They look superb when planted beneath silver birch trees. Above all, the site must be well drained and the addition of copious quantities of shredded leaf mould will create a perfect medium in which to grow your cyclamen.

Maintenance: Very little cultivation is needed to maintain a good collection of cyclamen in the garden. Once established, hardy cyclamen should be left undisturbed for many years and they will just keep getting better. Cyclamen benefit from a top dressing of leaf mould and grit during the dormant season. Very little fertiliser of any kind is required, but do remember that most cyclamen are dormant during the summer, so be careful with the hoe!

Alpine House cultivation: All cyclamen are suitable for alpine house cultivation, especially the more tender species. The alpine house should receive maximum light, but will require shading in summer. Good air circulation is crucial and extra vents are a must. We advise growing this cyclamen in clay pans using a suitable compost. This may be made up by mixing two parts (by bulk) of John Innes compost No2, one part of Perlite and one part of shredded leaf mould. Top dress all tubers with a layer of grit. Give just enough heat to exclude frost in very cold weather. Otherwise, plunging your pots in sand or covering with horticultural fleece during very cold spells will give an amazing amount of extra protection.

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