Mark Griffiths Inspiring Plants

Cyclamen seed sowing - virtually all my plants have been grown from seed.

There are several reasons for this

1. Bought tubers mail order unless they are in pots tend to take longer to settle. Even then you only have one and it's in someone else's compost.

2. Seed is much cheaper.

3. Cyclamen tend to vary from seed so you get more plants and a greater variety.

4. It is often easier to get seed than tubers of the rarer varieties.

Seed is best sown ripe but if you are getting it from a seed exchange or buying it then it will have dried. The seeds have a built in germination inhibitor and if they are dried it can be hard to break their dormancy.

I use a method which is based on the Reading method.

1. First soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water with a drop of detergent. This is supposed to wash out the inhibitor and with most seed you can see they have taken in water and have plumped up.

2. Tip the seed out into a seed pot or tray. Then separate out the seed - I usually use a plant label to move the seed around.

3. Cover the seed lightly with compost.

4. Top off the pots with grit.

5. Put a plastic bag over the pot and put it somewhere warm and dark.

6. Seed usually germinates roughly when the adult plants come into leaf, but I usually start to check the pots regularly after about a month.

7. Once I get some germination I usually check the pots every few days.

8. In the first year you generally get one leaf which is unmarked. Occasionally the first leaves are marked, as in these C. mirabile.

9. After a year plants put up their true leaves which is a rough approximation of what the adult plants will look like (only smaller)