For a beautiful indoor flower display from late autumn through winter you can't go past cyclamen. Their unique heart-shaped flowers and blooms ranging from white and pink to mauve and red also make them an impressive gift.
A little bit about Cyclamen
Botanical name: Cyclamen
Height: Cyclamen can grow up to 20cm high but growth will be contained in pots.
Cyclamen is a small but diverse genus of plants with many varieties being quite hardy. They provide beautiful splashes of winter colour with vivid flowers set perfectly against the heart shaped, marbled foliage. The Cyclamens you'll most commonly come across are Cyclamen persicum because they make fantastic indoor plants, blooming for months with very little care.
They look gorgeous indoors, so long as they are placed near a window that receives plenty of light. Cyclamens need space and don’t appreciate hot, stuffy rooms. If you the foliage on your plant begins to yellow and the flowers are fading it's a sign that the position is too warm and needs to be moved. If you have the heating on, pop the plants outside for the night so that they can get a breath of fresh air.
While we often think of them as a delicate indoor plant, cyclamens actually perform very well outdoors as they naturally occur in harsh, rocky areas of the Mediterranean. Plant them in a spot with good drainage and dappled shade – they look particularly pretty planted around the base of your favourite tree.
Cyclamen like it cool and dry so water sparingly in the mornings when the soil feels dry and try to avoid splashing the leaves to extend their life.
Remove spent flowers by gently twisting stems off at the base and pulling away from the main bulb to promote further blooms.
Keep away from your home heater or fire as they don't like the heat or dry air.
Cyclamen kept as indoor plants are usually thrown away once they've finished flowering as they're used as an extended alternative to cut flowers. It is possible however to get another season out of them if you put them outside in a dry, protected place over summer. In autumn report the plant and start to water again when new leaves appear. Another option is to plant them out in a shady garden position where they may flower again next year.
Pests and diseases to watch out for
Cyclamen are not often troubled by pests and disease but you can avoid potential rotting and fungus problems by watering only as needed and below the leaves to keep foliage dry.