There are varieties of Cyclamen such as Cyclamen Coum and Cyclamen Neapolitanum which are fully hardy in the garden. These are very beautiful in there own way but not as showy as their less hardy relatives. The plants we cover here are Cyclamen Persicum and its many hybrids which are available from September through to at least Christmas. They come in both miniature varieties, often blessed with a delicious scent, and the larger bloomed standard varieties. Their flowers can be purple, red, white, pink and bicoloured. Some varieties even have frilled edges. The foliage is often splashed with silver markings, adding to their beauty, which brings cheer to the dark winter days and can continue for several months.
The miniature varieties which as I mentioned are not completely hardy, are often used as bedding plants in autumn and winter hanging baskets and containers, providing a bright splash of colour when flowers are scarce.
They are also however ideal for an indoor display.Place them in a spot with plenty of light, but away from direct sunlight. A North facing windowsill is ideal. A room with a cool temperature of around forty-five to fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit or seven to thirteen degrees Celsius will lead to a healthy plant. They resent higher temperatures which will result in poor flowering performance and yellowing foliage. Allow the compost to become moderately dry between watering, but not so dry that the plant wilts. Try to avoid watering the leaves and the crown of the plant as this can cause rotting. Water directly onto the compost. Moderate feeding during the flowering season is recommended, but be careful not to overfeed as this can be detrimental.
Grey mould on the plant is a sign of botrytis. Sprays are available to treat this but it can often be avoided by removing spent flower stems by twisting at the base rather than just dead heading at the top of the stem like we are used to doing on many of our plants. Any damaged leaves can also be picked off.
When choosing a plant don’t simply look at the obvious flower stems. Look down and there should be numerous new buds nestling amongst the foliage which will provide a long display.
Some may wish to discard the plant after a season of use and buy another one next year, which is fine. Those who wish to persevere will not find great difficulty in getting the plant to flower again. When the foliage begins to yellow and die, greatly reduce watering. The plant can be placed outside in the warmer months. It should be in a cool, slightly shaded spot. The foliage can be removed if you so wish. After around two months of dormancy the watering can be increased again. Leaf growth will resume. If the tuber has outgrown its pot, repot into a slightly larger pot in a quality multi-purpose compost. Resume caring for your Cyclamen as described above and the plant should bloom again.
New plants can be propagated by sowing seed in late summer, but in my opinion this is a job best left to the experienced grower.
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