Cyclamen beauties worth the effort

Cyclamen beauties worth the effort

Just because they are beautiful doesn’t mean they are difficult. The lovely cyclamen can be found at local nursery centers flaunting their flirty pinks, purples, white and fuchsia petals. They are so full of themselves that they also go by the name “Shooting Stars.”

Go ahead and take home a few cyclamen and enjoy their striking deep green foliage with marbled patterning. Find a front and center semi-sunny spot for them to bloom. They shine in this cool weather and go dormant in the summer. Look for them to perk up and re-bloom when things get damp and cool again next fall. Enjoy the Shooting Star inside as a houseplant or outside in a special place in your yard.

Lots of folks keep their cyclamen indoors in a cool room of the house. They go to “fainting” when temperatures go too far above 70 degrees. Outside, they want morning sun and inside they want lots of light. Since these beauties grow from round, flat tubers, you can also “water them to death.” Their tubers are used for storage of energy during periods of dormancy, but these same tubers will rot if kept in soggy soil.

When watering a cyclamen houseplant, they prefer to be watered on the soil, not the stems and leaves, thank you very much. Simply saturate the soil and watch to make sure that the excess water comes out drainage holes on the bottom of the pot. They also like a beauty shop treatment of water-soluble fertilizer about once a month. Use the household variety of fertilizer at half-strength.

If you want to enjoy your cyclamen again next year, simply pull off any yellowed leaves and store a houseplant cyclamen in the coolest, driest location away from direct sunlight. The tubers should survive and be ready to be planted again next fall. Repot tubers in new sterile potting mix with their tops protruding out of the soil and don’t water until foliage begins to grow.

Avid gardeners who have cyclamen outdoors in our area can take a chance of leaving their tubers in the soil. But they have the most success when the tubers are lifted out of the soil and stored just as the houseplant cyclamen — in a cool, dark place until early next fall. Well, maybe they do need a little extra care, but just as with our beauty rituals, they are worth it.

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