Herself's Houseplants

Killing plants so you don't have to

Cyclamen




I had not thought of these as Christmas plants but I’ve read several columns referring to cyclamens as holiday plants last month.

They grow in the wild from tubers producing leaves late winter and flowers in the fall. In the wild they grow in dry forest areas in part shade where they are often seen under olive trees.

When buying one as an indoor plant pick one with only a few flowers open with lots of unopened buds. Buds should be tucked under and flowers in bloom should be on upright stems.

Because this plant goes dormant in the summer, you want to keep it cool in the house. This is a great plant for a drafty window or door. When the plant gets too warm outer leaves will yellow, die and brown. Stems on the plant will get soft.

Remember this plant has a tuber and prefers dry areas. That means you need to go easy on the watering. Water it only when the top half inch of soil is dry and be sure to drain the water thoroughly.

But it also likes high humidity. If the leaves start curling under try putting it in a damper location.

Plants that grow in part shade outdoors usually want the brightest window you can offer them indoors. Remember too in the winter there is a lot less sun coming through your windows.

Cyclamen will go dormant after blooming. Stop watering when the leaves die off. Save it and place the whole pot outside in the summer, but it needs to be kept pretty dry. So make sure it is sheltered from the rain. Around October new leaves should appear. You can begin watering it regularly again at that time and bring it in if you’d like. It does not like temperatures in the low 40s so bring it in when nighttime lows are in the mid 40s.

Keep an eye out for spider mites.