Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sow Bread, Hardy Cyclamen
Cyclamen purpurascens

Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Cyclamen (SIGH-kla-men) (Info)
Species: purpurascens (pur-pur-ESS-kenz) (Info)

Synonym:Cyclamen europaeum
Synonym:Cyclamen floridum
Synonym:Cyclamen littorale
Synonym:Cyclamen officinale
Synonym:Cyclaminus europaea

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.


under 6 in. (15 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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6 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive El_Pavle On Nov 22, 2014, El_Pavle from Zagreb
Croatia wrote:

I have to say these cyclamen are incredibly resilient. I've always had problems with C. persicum dying as soon as the temperature hits 21C (70F). However, these can take it far beyond that, never showing any signs of wilting due to temperature. They're amazing when it comes to watering as well - no matter if the soil is dry or wet, they never wilt (unlike C. persicum). They don't seem to care whether they're in pots indoors, in pots in the garden, or in the soil either. They all grow equally well.
The day temperature where I keep them is 18-20C (64-68F), and at night it's 10-15C (50-59F). As for the light, I keep them away from direct sunlight, just like any cyclamen. I water the ones in pots as soon as the soil appears dry, sometimes even more often (it's going to depend on the ventilation in the spot where you keep them; there's almost none where I keep them (on a window shelf, with curtains on)).
Outdoors, they benefit being under a deciduous tree, as they seem to like the leaves covering them and the soil being rich. I put some leaves in some of the pots as well, and these plants became more vigorous compared to others. It appears they like their roots / corms / bulbs receiving low to no light. This appears to stimulate them to grow new foliage and blooms as well. It's also interesting that the spots and patterns become more obvious when the temperature drops + the moisture is high.
I took mine from the forest in September, after blooming, and oddly enough the ones indoors are about to bloom (now it's November; their blooming time here is usually from mid-July to early September).

Neutral altagardener On Aug 31, 2013, altagardener from Calgary, AB (Zone 3b) wrote:

Cyclamen purpurascens is the only Cyclamen I've found to be hardy here in zone 3.
The others that are usually considered to be very hardy, C. hederifolium and C. coum, have never wintered over here, after many tries.
My plants were started from seed in 2004, and have survived and done well since then.

Positive Erutuon On Aug 17, 2012, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

Two winters ago (2010-11) I bought about 150 Cyclamen purpurascens seeds, some with regular leaf patterns, and some with Christmas-tree patterns and silver, from Jan Bravenboer. (I also ordered Cyclamen coum seeds at the same time.) I sowed them in several pots, and placed them outside for the winter, since I assumed they required winter cold in order to germinate. Since then I've heard that they only require darkness, so perhaps I'll try that next time. It would maybe allow them to bloom quicker after germination.

They germinated the following spring and summer. Over this past winter (2011-12) they stayed indoors under lights. This summer, two of them are in bloom and probably have tubers at least an inch wide. Others are a variety of sizes, and are not yet in bloom.

The flowers are fragrant, similar to the indoor type of cyclamen, but a little less soapy and intense. Most of the leaves have unremarkable patterns, but four look interesting, with a larger area of silver or extra distinction between green and silver areas.

Cyclamen purpurascens is grown by Betty Ann Addison of Gardens of Rice Creek (formerly Rice Creek Gardens), who has found it to be consistently hardy, unlike Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen coum. She has several plants in various areas of her gardens.

Positive BrendaLeigh On Jun 25, 2011, BrendaLeigh from Seguin, TX wrote:

I have been growing a cyclamen in a container inside, next to
a window, and it blooms all year long. However recently it has been covered with something like dandruff. Little white
spots or flecks that are very sticky. I failed to water it soon
enough and the leaves all turned yellow and when i went to remove them they were very sticky and yucky. I have been growing it for several years in the same container.

Positive the1pony On Sep 19, 2009, the1pony from (Pony) Lakewood, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

These are utterly charming little plants. They are brilliant in rockeries, you can just tuck them in anywhere and they'll send leaves and flowers out through the cracks. They spread slowly but surely, and squirrels will often dig around them to get the babies, which they then bury and forget. So don't be surprised when they show up elsewhere in the garden. ;)

Positive shortcm On Aug 13, 2004, shortcm from Wilmington, DE (Zone 7b) wrote:

My love of indoor cyclamen prompted me to order these from a catalog several years ago. They are thriving in my "overlooked" full-shade garden; spreading. They bloom after the Hosta and Heuchera have vanished.

My only tending is to pull out the violets which try to take back the garden.

Positive Howard_C On Aug 11, 2004, Howard_C from St John's, NL wrote:

St John's, Newfoundland is just on the border of hardy cyclamen territory (Canadian zone 5b), but I have found four species that survive outside given the right site. C. purpurascens is the best of these in that it is the only one that self seeds, the others may germinate, but the seedlings seem to fail to get through their first winter outside. Seedlings of C. purpurascens can pop up some way from the original plants: they are spread by ants who like the sugary coating.

It flowers with us from late July until the end of September, and is essentially evergreen: the new leaves appear with the flowers just as the old ones are fading. (The pictures I've submitted were taken on August 10th 2004.) The flowers are faintly scented and generally a deep reddish purple, but paler forms occur.

Oddly, although it is considered difficult elsewhere, I've found this species survives in a variety of sites, although generally in rich, well drained soil. Its main enemy here is the vine weavil, whose larvae eat the roots and cause the corms to rot.

Neutral Baa On Oct 5, 2001, Baa wrote:

A tuberous, summer flowering, Cyclamen from Eastern and Central Europe. It is increasingly rare to find in the wild and in the catalogues so make sure the nursery is a reputable one which doesn't wild collect.

This plant is an evergreen or sometimes deciduous variable plant, loved by pigs, and will cause severe discomfort if any part of the plant (not the pig) is digested.

Has heart shaped or rounded, dark green leaves, sometimes mottled with silvery patterns. Bears strongly scented (honeyish), pinkish-red or purple flowers with fully reflexed petals carried singularly on reddish stalks which appear while the plant is in leaf. The flowers stalks coil like a spring as the fruit develops to bring it to soil level.

Flowers June-October

Likes an alkaline, well drained soil in partial shade, tree or shrub shade is best. While the corms mustn't be in wet soils, this particular species won't forgive you if they are allowed to dry out (which I learnt through bitter experience) so mulch with leaf mold when corms are in dormancy, over winter.

You may not suffer a problem with pigs digging them up these days but mice and squirrels love to eat them so keep an eye out. Slugs and snails don't seem to bother them at all but if they are too crowded in or under glass they can suffer from fungal diseases.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Wilmington, Delaware
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Brooklyn, New York
Canton, Ohio
Molalla, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Austin, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Seguin, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Arlington, Virginia
Bellevue, Washington
Lakewood, Washington
Seattle, Washington

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