About four or five years ago I bought a four-inch Cyclamen to plant in a container in my front yard. The nurseries here in Las Vegas usually get them in sometime in October. They do well as a fall annual and many people purchase them to add some color as an indoor plant.
I was looking to add a little color to my front yard and figured the Cyclamen would live, hopefully, until spring. Around April or May the following year the Cyclamen died and I figured it was $3-4 dollars well spent for a little winter color.
Later that year, in October, I noticed there were leaves coming up in the container from the Clematis, despite it having completely died back to the soil level earlier in the year. Over the past four – five years it has increased in size to completely fill the 16″ – 18″ diameter container. As you can see below, it hides the top of the container, it is now so large.
When I first bought the Cyclamen I didn’t really know much about it. But after some research, I discovered they are native to the Middle East where they die back during the hot summers to regrow in the cooler winter months and that they naturally spread over time.
Mine starts to get leaves in October and by the end of December the container is beautifully filled with the variegated green leaves. By about the first of January, I can see the first flowers coming up and by the end of January there are dozens of flowers peeking above the green leaves. The flowers last until the heat starts to set in, anywhere from the middle of April to the end of May. By the end of June the plant is dead and is waiting for the cooler temperatures to grow again.
I think they would be a stunning addition to a desert landscape that has a small ‘dry’ riverbed in it. You could plant clematis in the bottom of the river bed, water it with drip irrigation and from October to December the river bed would come alive with green leaves and from January through April it could be filled with white, red, fuchsia, pink, or a variety of bi-color flowers. You would probably have to put fine, crushed rock in the bottom of the river bed about 12-18″ wide, for the plants to come up through, and the larger river stone on either side of the small crushed stone. But I think this could be unique and stunning in a desert landscape. If you try it, please share pictures with me!