Cyclamen for Winter Cheer

Cyclamen for Winter Cheer

Cold weather got you down? We have the perfect plant for you. It’s cheerful and versatile, and perfect for those who want a plant that’s not as associated with Christmas as the Poinsettia is. This plant is often called “florist Cyclamen” and it grows from a bulb. We love these bright flowers on the windowsill,  in dish gardens, and in decorative baskets or pots. A small Cyclamen makes a great instant centerpiece on the table…or buy one for each place setting and let dinner guests take them home! Use Cyclamen as a component in your holiday decor, or just place one or more pots on your kitchen counter or in the window over the sink for instant winter cheer. Here are some tips for succeeding with this lovely, cool-weather plant:

  • Don’t let Cyclamen get so dry that they wilt. Learn how heavy the pot feels when it’s well watered and lift it every other day to see if it’s light weight and dry. Place the pot in a bowl filled with an inch of water for two hours to water from the bottom up. Once the soil has absorbed water remove the pot from the bowl and place it on a dry saucer to drain.
  • Cyclamen want bright light so if you use them for decorations for a party, for example, move them to a window after the event. This plant also likes cool temperatures so don’t worry about placing it in a cold window or cooler room. In places like northern California these are the winter flowers that many use in window boxes so they can be in 40 degree temperatures without a problem.
  • After your Cyclamen finishes flowering many people want to keep the plant alive. The bloom lasts so long, and the foliage is so beautiful, that it’s understandable that you might want to save it and try to have it flower again. Know, however, that this is one of the trickier plants to save from year to year. They need a dormant period during which they aren’t watered and allowed to rest. If your plant starts to decline let the foliage die back and place the potted bulb in a cool garage or basement for about six to eight weeks. After that period bring the pot back into a sunny window and start to water and fertilize again. Know, however, that if you lose the plant or it never flowers again that it isn’t you. This is one of those plants that we welcome at this time of year but don’t count on growing for decades to come. Should you not want to save it, don’t feel guilty about thanking it for coming and putting it in the compost or brush pile.
One reason that this plant is called a “florist’s cyclamen” is that most people view it as a temporary plant, not one that they will keep alive for years to come. In other words, it’s like a very long-lasting cut flower bouquet.

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