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Harvesting cyclamen coum seeds

Garden noobGarden noob Posts: 260
Has anyone had any success harvesting cyclamen coum seeds? I have more than 20 pods to play with but I don't know what I'm doing. 

At the moment they feel dry and solid, a bit like a small hazelnut (without the shell). Should I wait until the pods start to open before I do anything?



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158
    They should be ready when the stalk has curled. They need sowing fresh and leaving outside somewhere shady. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Garden noobGarden noob Posts: 260
    Thanks nutcutlet. The stalk looks curled to me - do you think they're ready now, or should I wait longer?
  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,104
    edited June 2018
    They are not ready yet. Wait until the pod skin begins to dry out and you can split the pods by squeezing them gently. Too soon and the seeds will not be ready to germinate.
    If you sow them in compost, do not cover with compost, use Perlite or Vermiculite. They need light to germinate. Don't be in too big a hurry to prick out either. I usually wait until the corms are a good half inch in diameter.  In fact these days I just scatter the seeds on a gravel area and dig the plants up when I want them.
  • Garden noobGarden noob Posts: 260
    Thanks for all of the input. Hopefully I'll have about 200 seeds in total so I can try a few different methods and see what works. I doubt we have room for more than about 5-10 more plants so I don't need a brilliant germination rate, although it would be nice to have some spare plants to give away at Christmas. 
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158
    It will be a few Christmases before you have a flowering plant. I'd leave some to sow themselves, they do best like that.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Garden noobGarden noob Posts: 260
    Ah, true! Patience is needed... I'll try my hardest  :s
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    edited June 2018
    The seeds are naturally spread by ants.  Each seed has a sugary coating so they collect the seeds and eat the coating, discarding the seeds when they clear rubbish from the nest.  Quite fascinating:
    For those who like words, it's called Myrmecochory.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Garden noobGarden noob Posts: 260
    So... All of my seed pods have disappeared without a trace  :'( 

    There wasn't even any evidence of them - gone! There were a few busy ants walking around though... Do you think they've taken the seeds? I was hoping to stop them doing that - I don't want cyclamen coming up in random places.

    Or could birds have eaten them? Or something else?

    I'm gutted! :'(
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,860
    You'll have cyclamen coming up in random places ... that's the way it goes. When you spot the leaves get a little trowel and scoop them up and transplant them into little pots of gritty loam and keep them in a quiet corner for a couple of years by which time they'll need potting on and will soon be ready to flower. 
    Thats the way we do it here. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Garden noobGarden noob Posts: 260
    A few days ago the seed pods didn't look close to being ready. I reckon our resident squirrel's had them, which would explain why they'd gone without trace  :/ 

    I'd like to think it was the ants though, and will look out for random cyclamen in the garden.

    Next time I'll protect the pods with some chicken wire.
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