Winter Plants: Cyclamen

Cyclamen are a seasonal flowering plant, available during the winter months. Cyclamen are ideally suited to growing in a shaded rockery or naturalized in the light shade of woodland borders. As well as shapely, marbled foliage, Cyclamen have the most elegant, sweptback flowers in shades of pink, white or carmine, often accompanied by a seductive fragrance. With cool temperatures, bright light, and a feeding every two weeks, Cyclamen can reward you with several months of beautiful flowers.

Cyclamen are very popular flowering houseplants that are exceptionally beautiful and very striking. If possible, keep your cyclamen in an unheated room that maintains a daytime temperature of no more than 68°F.

Evening temperatures should range between 40 and 50°F. Lower evening temperatures greatly revitalize this cool natured plant.

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Weather buffers of trees, shrubs, buildings, amount of moisture, sun, etc. can make a difference in successfully growing cyclamen in severe cold. It is good to keep in mind that winter is their growing season when they need light and moisture. Hardy cyclamen can survive brief and sometimes prolonged periods at temperatures below 0° especially with snow cover. Species for the garden in order of hardiest are hederifolium, coum, purpuracens, cilicium, pseudibericum and repandum.

A lot of common mistakes lead to problems with growing Cyclamen. The most common mistake people make is to over-water the plants which will lead to grey mould and rotting of the Cyclamen bulbs or roots.

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The unmistakable flowers of these plants make a delightful carpet under deciduous trees and shrubs. Cyclamen coum flowers from late winter to mid-spring, in a range of colors, from purple-violet to pink and white. The nodding flowers often have darker staining towards the mouth. The attractive rounded leaves usually have silver markings. This species associates particularly well with snowdrops.

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Cyclamen persicum. The scented flowers range in color from white to a glowing cerise-red and appear in winter and spring. Some combine two colors on the frilly petals. The flowers have darker staining towards the mouth, and the heart-shaped leaves and often patterned. Many cultivars have been bred but look for those with a sweet scent and attractively marked foliage.

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Cyclamen pseudibericum

Pests and diseases. If your Cyclamen plant starts looking distorted or stop growing where buds and new growth is supposed to grow, you may have Cyclamen mites (which are microscopic arachnids that attack many African violets). These are very difficult to control, and you will most likely need to throw your Cyclamen plant away before it spreads to other container plants.

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