There’s something invigorating about a fresh burst of blooms amid fall’s finest foliage. Persian violet (Cyclamen hederifolium) signals autumn’s arrival with delicate pink or white flowers brushed with a drop of purple at the bottom of each petal. The plant blooms well into fall and is surrounded by heart-shaped, glossy green foliage that has a unique marbled pattern. After the flowers fade, the leaves continue their striking display into the winter before going dormant in spring.
Common name: Persian violet, baby cyclamen
Botanical name: Cyclamen hederifolium
Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 5 to 9
Height: 3 to 6 inches
• Sun: Part shade
• Soil: Moist, humus-rich, well-drained
• Moisture: Dry to medium
• Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture in the soil and prevent weeds.
• Pruning: None needed.
• Fertilizer: None needed.
• By seed.
Pests and diseases
• No major insect or disease problems, although mice and squirrels may eat the corms.
• Corms may rot if watered too much or if placed in poorly drained soils.
• C. hederifolium will self-seed if happy with their spot in the garden.
• Persian violet looks great in a partially shaded area of a rock garden, as well as massed in front of trees or shrubs in woodland gardens.
• The plant is the most widespread cyclamen species.
• C. hederifolium is sometimes sold at nurseries as C. neapolitanum.
All in the family
• Primulaceae (the primrose family) consists of about 24 genera, which include some common garden plants and wildflowers.
• The genus Cyclamen is comprised of about 19 species of tuberous perennials found in the Mediterranean, Iran, and Somalia.
Where to buy
• Edelweiss Perennials, Canby, OR, 503-263-4680, www.edelweissperennials.com
• Summer Hill Seeds, Wittington, IL, 618-248-2010, www.summerhillseeds.com
• Touch of Nature, Inc., Lawrenceville, GA, 770-237-0993, www.touchofnature.com
(Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden’s Kemper Center for Home Gardening)