Hardy cyclamen, etc.

Adam irisman at AMERITECH.NET
Wed Dec 11 20:22:22 CET 2002

Hello Gene, Thanks for the response.  I suspect that both Bonaventure and
Ray S.know a lot about how to classify plants but don't understand plant
nutrition or drainage requirements.  Remember Ray finding it puzzling that
his sikokianum which survived were in clay?  "Go figure"??
I don't find this puzzling at all, clay sheds water (and retains it in
small quantities for the tiniest rootlets) and is better for some plants
than damp leafmold or so-called "good" soil.

Your comment about people having different methods of gardening  and
different answers to the same problem  (leaves on top of tubers, or brushing
them away) is not a gardening question for me, but a psychological one or a
question of logic.  If two opposing methods both "solve a problem" then
maybe both methods are irrelevant to the problem:    the problem has not
been addressed-- because it hasn't been understood.  What's been defined as
the problem is not the problem.
Clearly, as you noted --leaves on top of cyclamen are not going to go away
because of fairies at night keeping the tubers safe. I hesitate to challenge
some of these attitudes on the public list because I don't know how tender
their feelings are.  (I think they'd be very offended-- because they know
almost everything already.) I'm a newcomer.  I can't really  say I know how
to grow any arisaemas--but I suspect that one condition which has been
stated clearly by Andy Wong, et al, is just not being met.--sharp drainage.
How many members grow on a hill?  Chen Yi's pictures show many of them
growing on sharp inclines, (as much as 45-60 degrees) near  or  nearly under
The other, is that closely associated with sharp drainage is (probably) a
need for calcium which would be improved with the addition of pea gravel,
but might well be lacking in a deep leaf-mold  environment which is not
closely over limestone.  In China, the leafmold is over limestone or
serpentine as I understand it, and lots of calcium is leached out of the
rock into the leaves wih every monsoon. every year.  Here, unless an
arisaema is in leafmold  and amended with gravel, or growing over limestone,
rot is likely occur.

My soil is a rather heavy clayey  mix from a prehistoric lake bottom.  I
amend it more with gypsum , sand and gravel than leaf mold to improve
drainage, but plan to do more with next year's arrivals from Chen Yi;  I
think she may be getting a bad rap unfairly.    Even though she may not have
control over her collectors, she's probably trying to improve.

When you told me that you grow your cyclamen (purpurascens) on a hill, with
gravel,and a Western exposure the answer was clear; you've got the
necessities in place.  drainage, calcium,fast drying when things get soaked
, etc.  The only other possibility is that you've got  tougher clones of
purpurascens than they do.  On that off chance-- How big are the flowers?,
Am considering ordering some from you.   Costs?  Regards. -- Adam Fikso in
Glenview, NW suburb of Chicago, USDA 5a.

From: "Gene Bush" <genebush at OTHERSIDE.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 7:44 PM
Subject: Re: Hardy cyclamen, etc.

> Hello Adam,
>     All of the cyclamen I have are on the western side of my garden. That
> side has a very sharp grade with a path climbing up and around the base of
> the sharp incline. The C. prupurescens is in an alpine mix... that is 1/3
> sand, 1/3 pea graves, 1/3 peat or leaf mold. The mix is in two-hole
> blocks that forms a shelf beneath an old cedar tree. There are also dwarf
> conifers and deciduous hollies. My C. hed. is in very nice soil with lots
> leaf mold. This species in direct competition with the small shrubs. So,
> decent well drained soil with chucks of organics, lots of root
> They receive lots of light but drop down behind the shrubs as the sun gets
> its most intense.
>     Gene E. Bush
> Munchkin Nursery & Gardens, llc
> www.munchkinnursery.com
> genebush at munchkinnursery.com
> Zone 6/5  Southern Indiana
> ----- Original Message -----
> > And so far, no mention whatsoever of soil composition, drainage, hours
> > light, although tubers AT the soil surface with leaves falling  on them
> > seems odd to me. I'll find out what mine do,

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