How do you spread the love when temperatures fall? When a person is born or when two are married? When your best friend moves house or when they are blue? How do you give them some TLC to let them know you care? Cut flowers are great but sometimes we want something to last a little longer. We want the receiver to remember the giver for as long as possible — and smile! Cyclamen are the perfect plants for indoors or shady areas in winter. They have a long, continuous flowering period — usually from May until October. They are available in a rich tapestry of colours, ranging from white to pink, red and mauve. Some are even bi-coloured. The leaves come in a range of shapes — from broad to rounded, kidney, or heart shaped. They may be blotched, patterned, or even marbled on the upper surface. A cyclamen’s foliage is so pretty and distinctive that it can be worth growing for its foliage alone. There are even scented and miniature forms of cyclamen.
Cyclamen aren’t fussy: ‘Treat ‘em cold, keep ‘em beautiful!’ Even though cyclamen grow fantastically indoors, they love the cold; it seems to refresh and revitalise them. Every few days give your cyclamen a drink and put them outside for the night. They will appreciate the cold, frosty night more than us! Never let your cyclamen sit in a saucer of water permanently — this will cause a yellowing of the leaves, rotting of the stems, and eventual death of the plant.
Plant cyclamens in a specifically designed soil mix which has excellent water holding capacity and the right nutrient ratio for Cyclamen to grow beautifully. Searles Cyclamen & African Violet Mix is ideal for planting cyclamens. Cyclamens also appreciate a feed with a liquid fertiliser, such as Searles Flourish Liquid Plant Food. If done fortnightly with, cyclamen should continuously bloom until mid-spring. Another way to promote plentiful, long-lasting blooms is to remove the spent flowers. A spent cyclamen flower should never be cut off. Instead, remove tired blooms and stems by gently twisting them off at the base and pulling them away from the main bulb.
Cyclamen grow from a tuber or corm and tend to die down during our hot, humid summer. If you are lucky though and find a cool, dry, shady spot in the garden (that isn’t taken by you) they can continue to grow. If your cyclamen do die down, keep them in a cool, dry, shady position and water sparingly and hope they reappear in the cool months again. If they don’t regrow, think about it like this – A bunch of cut flowers that lasted over three months. Wow, now that’s value for money!
Don’t be cold this winter, share the love and give a living, growing gift to someone special. Or give some TLC to yourself and buy a cyclamen. These beauties will warm your soul even on the coldest morning.