("Persian violet / Sowbread / Primrose")
There are about 20 species of cyclamen and most all of them are native to the Mediterranean. The word cyclamen comes from the Greek word 'kyklamenos' which means 'circle form' a perfect description of the cyclamen corm. They have been in cultivation since Plato times, several hundred years B.C.
Cyclamen are pretty, short-statured plants with winged "butterfly" flowers in pink and in white. Their dark green leaves are beautifully shaped like ivy and marked with a lovely silver. Some species flower early in the year while others wait until late Summer, sending up successive waves of blooms into early Fall. Considered especially easy to grow, there's a misconception that cyclamens need a lot of moisture. The hardy cyclamen thrives in shade or partial shade where conditions imitate its natural habitat: soil must contain sufficient humus, be rich in calcium and you'll want to cover the plants once a year with a light mulch of well-composted leaves. Plant, not too deep and almost at the surface, with concave side up. Once established, do not disturb and it will slowly multiply.