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By Nikkib

United Kingdom Gb

I have just moved into a flat with a garden, and found these weird bud type things with tendrils wrapped round them. They are at the base of some roses, but I don't know if that's important! Can you please tell me what they are and if I should do anything about them?





Don't worry, they're seed pods of Cyclamen - either Cyclamen hederifolium or Cyclamen coum. The roses must be underplanted with corms of these plants. They produce pink or white flowers - about September - December for C.hederifolium or December - March for C.coum. The pretty marbled leaves come out after the flowers, then the plants rest during the summer, ready to be lovely again in autumn/ winter.

You'll find that there are more cyclamen appear here and there after a while. Ants like the seeds as they are covered in a sweetish substance designed to appeal to them, so they carry the seeds away to their nests. The seedlings take several years to get to flowering size so you'll need to be patient. I grew these in my last garden and was amazed to find that they'd crossed the lane and were popping up on the roadside some way up the hill. Thank you ants!

5 Jun, 2011


You are lucky to have them - a delightful little plant.

5 Jun, 2011


Those bits that look like coiled springs are exactly that, in a way - when the seed is ripe, they uncoil and shoot the seed some distance, and then curl back up and wither gradually.

5 Jun, 2011


That may be the theory, Bamboo, but I think they have a design flaw. I found that the springs uncoil a bit, but the seed pod acts as an anchor and splits exactly where it was lying before, so the corms get covered in germinated cyclamen seeds - coming up like cress all over the shop. It's a good job the ants help out in spreading them. I used to spend ages easing the seedlings out and planting them further away, then found that they were coming up in the strangest places, courtesy of my six-legged assistants. :-)

5 Jun, 2011


I noticed they don't work so well in damp weather, but a garden I did for someone a couple of years ago was full of these - the weather was hot and dry, and the damned things were pinging all over the shop, so sometimes they work well, lol!

5 Jun, 2011


Ah, well, Cornwall is always damp, so I think that's where the design flaw must be. :-)

5 Jun, 2011


Most are native to more or less Mediterranean climates, so in their native habitat, they are pretty much assured of a dry summer to practice their shot put. ; )

6 Jun, 2011


That's amazing - thank you all so much!
I grew up in the Middle East where not a whole lot grows except Hibiscus, Oleander & Jasmine - all very lovely but not much variety. I haven't the fainest idea what some of the things are growing, and am sure I will have all sorts of lovely surprises throughout the next year. I'm kind of loathe to tinker too much before I know what's actually in my lovely garden!

6 Jun, 2011


You're absolutely right to wait and see what you've got first, before tinkering. We love "What's this plant?" type questions - you'll usually find they're answered within minutes if you post a few clear photos with your question.
Bring 'em on! :-)

You can keep a list of what's in your garden on this website, and you can add your photos to the list so you'll have a record, if you want to.

6 Jun, 2011

How do I say thanks?

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