Add some winter colour with CyclamensGreenthumb
Cyclamens are always a winter favourite due to their long lasting flowers and versatility. Cyclamens can be used in the home as well as in the garden. From the first to the last Cyclamen flower they are sure to bring you endless joy.
Cyclamens which are bulbous plants originally come from the Mediterranean. And as far flung places as ancient Persia to the coast of Spain. Cyclamens were also a favourite of Leonardo da Vinci. He used them extensively in his manuscripts and artwork. Interestingly, Cyclamens were known in England as “sowbread” due to the pigs devouring the bulbs straight out of the ground.
I often get asked if cyclamens can be used outdoors. The answer is a resounding yes. I would wager to say that in the right spot they will grow and flower better than indoors. The trick is to keep them in the right spot and they are sure to delight you for months on end.
Looking after Cyclamens indoors
Cyclamens are great for bringing colour indoors during the winter months. When buying a Cyclamen always make sure that there are plenty of new buds coming through. Be sure to check that it is a healthy plant that is not looking wilted. Indoors they prefer to be kept in a brightly lit area. One should avoid exposing them to the direct afternoon sun. A while ago a customer told me an interesting story: That she takes her cyclamens out at night and they flower and grow so much better. No matter how odd this may sound, the cool air actually does wonders for Cyclamens and will make them grow and flower better, just make sure they are not exposed to frost.
Watering is probably the most important part of looking after your cyclamen indoors. Being a bulbous plant, if you water your Cyclamens from above you always run the risk of the bulb rotting or the plant developing Botrytis. A tell-tale sign of bulb rot is when the whole plant flops over and looks wilted yet the soil is still wet. The big trick when watering your Cyclamen is to rather water it from below. As soon as your Cyclamen has dried out completely, put them in your washing basin and pour some water in, about 10cm, allow the cyclamen to soak the water up from below. Leave them in the basin for about 1 hour or till the soil on top is moist.
Cyclamens create a lovely focal point when used on their own, in a pot or interesting container or you can use them in a grouping with other plants. They make one of the best gifts that is sure to make your loved one feel spoiled.
Using Cyclamens outdoors
One of Cyclamens best kept secrets are that they perform great outdoors and can be used in multiple settings. The best spot for them is a shady area with a bit of morning sun and preferably some cover overhead to protect them against the frost. Think of using them on a patio or grouped together in your beds for maximum impact. Think out of the box and use them in your strawberry planters and hanging baskets. When planted outdoors the watering is a lot easier, just water around the base of the plant and ensure that you only water them as soon as the soil has dried out.
An easy way to remove spent flowers is by simply twisting the stem from the crown. Feed your Cyclamens at least once a month with a liquid fertilizer like Nitrosol or Multisol. As soon as the growth starts dying down in summer gradually reduce the watering, allowing the plant to dry out and rest. When the growth starts up again in autumn, gradually start watering them more. For your Cyclamens in the garden you can leave them in your garden beds (just remember to mark them) or you can dig them out and store them in a dark dry place such as a garage cupboard.
I hope this helps you to grow your Cyclamens successfully. And that it will give you the same pleasure I have personally experienced with these stunning plants. Time now to pop in to the Heckers and get your Cyclamen!