I've never planted cyclamen corms outdoors, only indoors in pots. What should I know? How hardy are they? What soil conditions do they need? Do rodents eat them? I did a few searches but came up with nothing.
The hardy cyclamen for your area are: Cyclamen coum and Cyclamen hederifolium (there are others but they aren't widely available). Florist's cyclamen probably won't be hardy, but you never know, what with microclimates and soil conditions. Generally speaking, I find they like dryish shade. The two I mentioned have very small flowers, but they are charming. They are also slow to establish. I don't know if rodents eat them, because I have rodent-eating cats.
Cyclamen purpurescens is also hardy. They want it dry and well drained as well as shady. Mine are in sandy soil under a twisted hazel (Harry Lauder's Walking Stick) and they are flowering now. My best tip would be to buy potted plants since it's absolutely impossible to tell which side of the corm is right side up. I got mine from Seneca Hills (good stock at a good price) but think it is a bit late for planting this year.
Well, I bought a corm in a bag at the local garden center, so I'll give it a go. I have no idea what kind of cyclamen it is. Maybe I'll plant it in a pot first. Then I can tell which side is up! I seem to have luck with them indoors. Thanks, everyone.
I went to plant the cyclamen and the bag said it's hederifolium. Also I lucked out because there are 5 tiny leaves starting, so I know which side is up! I planted it in a pot for now and will put it in the ground next spring. Dry shade is very easy to find where I live. LOL.
Definitely avoid any area where the soil will be wet in summer or waterlogged at any time. C. hederifolium is normally in flower about now and produces leaves over winter into spring. Plant out when it goes dormant next spring. They have been grown in zone 4, at least for a few years, but good drainage is essential. Rodents have been known to eat them.
If the hederifolium work out for you, then try C. coum which should be equally hardy, leafs out about now, and then flowers in winter or early spring. If you get hooked you can start looking for other species which will be progressively less hardy, right the way to some species which cannot tolerate any frost at all. All have smaller flowers than the hybrids often seen in florists, which are not at all hardy.