Today we have some old photos from the ex-job (yes, even a year and a half later, I still have unused pictures from there) of Cyclamen persicum.
The species has been on my mind a lot lately: they're beginning to appear in the stores now, and I had this post planned out a while ago and had been pondering them because of that, but there's something else, too. Garden Rant's Elizabeth Licata did a post on 13 Nov. about the article in the Times for which I was interviewed, in which she seemed to be taking issue with the plants discussed on the grounds that many of them weren't particularly good plants for beginners. This despite acknowledging that I'd already said that I wasn't asked for good plants for beginners. (I'd been asked for plants that were easy, useful, strange, exceptionally pretty, or otherwise interesting in some way.1 Although I saw my part of the article before it ran, I was not shown the intro where the author framed the article as being about plants that were easy to care for, or else I would have said something. I suspect post-interview editorial meddling/shaping.)
So that felt a little unfair. But then also, Licata suggested her own set of easy-care plants for the Garden Rant post, some of which I agree with (Philodendron hederaceum, Schlumbergera truncata) and some of which I don't (Saintpaulia, Sansevieria trifasciata, Epipremnum aureum2). And among the Licata "easy" plants is Cyclamen persicum.
Really? Could it be? I've long been intimidated by Cyclamen, because they have fairly specific requirements (cool temperatures, bright light, summer dormancy, moist soil), and in my book the more specific and inflexible the requirements, the less easy a plant is.3 I mean, an "easy" plant you should be able to treat however and have it still work okay most of the time. So this is puzzling, and I am skeptical, but I bought one on Friday anyway. We'll see. If it works out, then hooray (I've always thought they were pretty), and if it doesn't, I'll be going after Elizabeth Licata with a (metaphorical) hatchet. Should be a good time either way.
Pictures of the new Cyclamen, as well as the other recent purchases, tomorrow.
1 I assume the same is true for the other people; I don't know how else Asplenium spp. could find itself in an article about "hard to kill" houseplants.
2 Sansevieria trifasciata scores as an easy plant on the PATSP scale of plant difficulty, as does Epipremnum aureum, but neither one do particularly well for me. Saintpaulia and I are getting along now, at the moment, though we've had a turbulent past, and I wouldn't recommend one to someone new to houseplants. Sansevieria and Epipremnum I might, because even if they're not easy for me, they're easy for most people.
3 Cyclamen persicum rates a 7.1 (pretty damn difficult) on the PATSP scale, at least according to what people say you're supposed to do with them. Once I've had actual personal experience, that may change.