They have lovely heart-shaped, fleshy leaves at the end of long stalks which are variegated with silver veining (rather appropriate Christmas colors)
and solitary flowers that come in many colors; most common are shades of red, pink or white that fits the season.
The indoor Cyclamen is a florist cultivar of Cyclamen persicum. This should not be confused with the Hardy Cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) which can grow outdoors in zones 4-8.
To successfully grow this plant year over year keep in mind that
- They like to be kept in good light but not direct sunlight (keep out of a south facing window).
- They like it cool. Keep them in temperatures around 55F. If they get too hot they will go dormant.
- They don't like to be over-watered. It is best to water from the bottom of the pot so that the tuber doesn't get too wet and rot. Let the plant use up the moisture until the compost is fairly dry. (They don't really appreciate a constant dribble of water).
- Yellowing leaves are a sign of over-watering or temperatures that are too warm. Dead flowers or leaves should be removed carefully by giving their stems a sharp tug.
Cyclamen are naturally winter to spring growing plants native to the Mediterranean region where they are a woodland plant. Come spring the plant will start to go dormant. It will loose its blooms and leaves. At this time they should not be watered. Cyclamen have a tuber which is the storage organ they use to stay alive during their dormant period. They rest during the summer months and then in September into November new leaves will start to shoot up. Start watering the plant at this time. It can take some time but as long as the tubers are still plump and hard the plant should come back.
What I love most about this plant are the paper thin, twisted and reflexed petals. They are held aloft from the clustered leaves and have a wonderful flow and body about them.
Cyclamen is said to bring one happiness. So I hope that this plant will bring you something magical this holiday season.