When the bright reds and yellows of autumn start to fade and days become shorter, its easy to succumb to the winter blues. Our favorite solution: cyclamen. Colorful and easy to care for, cyclamen are long-blooming, sending up flowers from deep within their variegated foliage for months. These tips will help keep your plant healthy and blooming throughout the winter. With a little special care they make beautiful houseplants all year.
Cyclamen prefer the cool temperatures of our winter homes, between 60 and 65 degrees. Keep the plants away from drafty windows and doors and heating vents. They bloom best in bright, indirect light. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Each home is different, but it will probably need water about every week to 10 days. To water, set the plants in a tray of water and let them soak for a couple of hours. We like to use decorative drop-in containers for our cyclamen, dropping the plant in its original grow pot into the decorative container, and slipping it out to spend a few hours in the sink when its time to water. Fertilize every two weeks with a high-phosphorus (the middle of the three numbers on your fertilizer bottle) fertilizer for sustained blooming.
Multiple buds will shoot up from the center of the cyclamen. As the flowers fade, pinch them off at the base of the plant and new buds will grow up to replace them. Cyclamen usually bloom from mid-autumn to early spring with regular fertilizing. If the flowers fade, it might be a sign that the plant is stressed. Check its environment and watering. If the leaves look healthy, its probably just taking some time to replenish its energy.
When blooming slows in the spring and the foliage dies down, keep the tubers in the pot in a cool dry spot and let the soil dry out. In mid-summer, re-pot the tuber with new soil, water and place in a warm spot to encourage root growth. As the plant grows, gradually return it to a cooler climate to encourage blooming in the late fall.