Shapes and colours
What catches the eye immediately are Cyclamen's colours. They can be modest and restrained, but also bright red, shocking pink and deep purple. That makes it a cheerful, eye-catching houseplant that’s available in sizes from XL to XS, so that any space however small can be home to a Cyclamen. The flowers of this plant can be smooth, but can also have cheerful frills. They grow with their heart pointing downwards and the petals upwards. Below is a full rosette of green leaves. These are heart-shaped, and sometimes have attractive silvery grey markings. Some varieties of Cyclamen have a beautiful light fragrance.
Cyclamen is a member of the Primrose family, and grows around the Mediterranean. The species that has achieved houseplant status - Cyclamen persicum - originates from Persia, present-day Iran. The philosopher Plato described the plant as far back as the 4th century BC. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘kuklos’, which means ‘circle’. Both the flattened tuber and the plant’s habit are circular. Such a tuber can last for decades. There are even examples known that lasted a century and still flowered.
Cyclamen symbolises the empathetic, devoted heart, and was therefore planted beside old monasteries, ribats (Islamic monasteries, a sort of fortress) and churchyards in the countries around the Mediterranean. In Japan the Cyclamen is the holy flower of love.