Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Poinsettia Alternative!

The cyclamen is a wonderful, colorful plant for the cooler months of the year. They have large heartshaped, fleshy leaves, and bright blooms, usually in shades of red, pink and white. Cyclamen are normally available in the fall and winter months, but you might occasionally find them in the springtime too. They like bright, indirect light and cooler temperatures, no higher than 65 to 70 degrees. Keep them evenly moist and allow the soil to dry out on top between waterings. Twist or pull off the yellowing leaves and spent blooms. Cyclamen like cool, well circulated air. Be sure not to overwater or let it sit in water, as this will rot the bulb. After the plant finishes blooming for the season, the foliage will die back. Place the plant in a cool location and allow the soil to dry. In midsummer, replant the corm with the upper half above the soil line. Choose new soil and a small pot, then put the pot in a warm place to encourage root growth. As the foliage returns, gradually move to a cool place to induce blooming. Cyclamen offer an easy alternative to traditional holiday plants, such as poinsettias. They are the perfect plant for the person who has everything but still wants something!!

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