Cyclamen hederifolium,
sowbread cyclamen     1597

sowbread cyclamen heirloom bulbssowbread cyclamen heirloom bulbssowbread cyclamen heirloom bulbssowbread cyclamen bagtag

We’re proud to deliver big bulbs, 3-4 inches across, of this early fall-blooming cyclamen that bulb-guru John Bryan calls “the first choice for most gardens.” Known as sowbread back in Shakespeare’s time, today it’s more often called ivy-leaved cyclamen because of its angular, silver-patterned leaves which, oddly enough, appear after the flowers. Give it light shade and humus-rich soil that’s dryish in summer. Aka C. neapolitanum, 4-6”, zones 6a-7b(9bWC), from Holland.


SUB TYPE   wildflower

ZONES   6a-7b(9bWC)

HEIGHT   4-6”

BLOOM SEASONS   early fall

LIGHT   light shade


Plant ASAP when you receive them in October. To thrive, these tubers MUST establish good roots as early as possible.

Choose a lightly shaded site — under high-branched deciduous shrubs or trees often suits cyclamen well, or on the east side of a house — with well-drained soil that’s rich in humus (moisture-retentive organic matter). Make sure it’s a spot where you can see and enjoy these short plants, too!

Space 4-6” apart, leaving room for tubers to expand in future years. Plant flat with KNOBBY (often indented) side UP and smooth, BARE side down. (C. hederifolium roots and sprouts from the top and sides only.) Cover with 1-2” of soil. Water well, once, but allow soil to dry out a bit between future waterings. Cyclamen do NOT like soggy soils.

Leaves may appear the first fall or you may not see them until the NEXT fall, after they flower. (Have faith, and mark where you planted them.) A little protection from bitter cold and wind the first winter can be helpful. Snow is best, but a light sprinkling of straw or an evergreen bough will work, too.

Leaves go dormant in summer. Allow to yellow and wither naturally. Avoid watering while dormant. Top-dress lightly with well-rotted leaves, compost, or other organic matter. Look for first flowers next fall, usually before leaves re-appear. In the right spot, cyclamen will self-sow if you allow flowers to mature and scatter their seeds.

Learn how to pick cyclamen for bouquets at our Bulbs as Cut-Flowers page.