CYCLAMENS are a wonderful potted plant for this time of year and make lovely gift ideas.
According to Yates horticulturalist Angie Thomas, with a little care, they can flower for many months and flourish outdoors or indoors on a cool, well-ventilated and brightly lit windowsill.
Angie’s top tips for caring for cyclamens
– Only water the soil surface, avoiding wetting the flowers and foliage (to minimise disease) and only water when the soil feels a little dry
– Remove any spent flowers by twisting them off at the base
– Feed each fortnight with a potassium-enriched liquid fertiliser
– When leaves start to turn yellow in spring, reduce watering and allow the pot to dry out in preparation for their dormant phase during summer
– You can keep a dormant cyclamen in a sheltered spot outside in the garden (underneath a shrub is ideal) until new shoots start to emerge at the end of summer
– The plant can then be re-potted using fresh, good-quality potting mix, to give it a new lease on life
They come in a range of beautiful flower colours, from pinks and purples through to white, scarlet and magenta, with some varieties having two-toned flowers, ruffled petals or a light fragrance.
Cyclamen’s heart-shaped leaves are also attractive and can have mottled colours.
Some are perfumed but it’s not a strong fragrance. I’d probably describe them as ‘delicately perfumed’.
They can be prone to grey mould fungal disease (also called botrytis). It’s more common where the foliage is crowded and the humidity is high. To help reduce it, remove any dead or dying leaves from the base, avoid watering the foliage (water the soil only) and grow them in a cool, well-ventilated spot. Potted cyclamens will enjoy being put outside at night where it’s nice and cool. You can also spray with systemic fungicide every seven to 14 days if grey mould symptoms occur.