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Cyclamen Whatcom County 01

Plant Cyclamen in Groups for Full Effect.

These beautiful flowers are grown for the winter holidays. They are derived from Cyclamen persicum, which is native to the Mediterranean. Their unusual flowers with strong bends in their petals, they come in shades of white, pink, mauve and purple. The flowers are coupled with attractive silver-marbled round or heart-shaped foliage and have earned cyclamen increasing popularity as a stunning decorative plant. Cyclamen grow from tubers. In their native habitat, cyclamen go dormant during the hot, dry summer months, then grow again as the weather becomes cooler and it begins to rain.

Cyclamen are a little challenging to grow as houseplants, because they prefer a cooler temperature than people generally find comfortable. They perform best with daytime temperatures no higher than 68°F and night temperatures between 50 and 55°F.

You may have to move them to an unused room where the heat is turned off to achieve those cool night temperatures. If you maintain daytime temperatures above 70°F, the flowers will pass very quickly and the plant will go dormant.

A bright, slightly drafty window, where other plants have a hard time would be the ideal location for your cyclamen. Cyclamen prefer bright light When they are actively growing and blooming. They do well in an east-facing window most of the year, but during the gray days of winter, a southern exposure provides better sun.

Watering your cyclamen

It is important to keep cyclamen constantly moist, but never soggy wet. This will cause the tubers to rot. Wait until the soil surface is dry to the touch before watering. Never allow the plant to dry to the point of wilting. When you water, try not to get the water right on top of the tubers themselves. This is especially true where the stems and leaves emerge from the tuber. Allowing cyclamen to stand in water that has collected in a saucer is an invitation to root rot and premature death.

Fertilizing your cyclamen

You can use a water-soluble fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro, which now has an organic solution using compost, sphagnum peat moss and manure flowering plants. Mix it at half-strength, and apply it every three or four weeks while your cyclamen is blooming. Avoid the temptation to over-fertilize. Otherwise you will get all foliage and fewer flowers.

If you can provide the right light, temperature and watering practices, your cyclamen should bloom and brighten your home for two to three months. Remove dead flowers as they fade by gently tugging at the stalk. It should pull out easily. If it does not, give it a day or two and try again. This avoids damaging the tuber or pulling out healthy leaves.