Bring beautiful pops of color to shady spots on your deck or patio with colorful cyclamens this winter. These starry flowers bursting from pretty heart-shaped leaves bloom in red, white and many shades of pink. Some are even lightly fragrant.
Best known as winter-blooming houseplants, cyclamens bloom for several months with proper care. In warm climates you also can use cyclamens outdoors as winter annuals.
Grow Cyclamens for color through winter:
- Choose a color palette. A planting of a single color is always attractive, or add contrast by including a few white-blooming plants in the mix.
- Plant cyclamens in both beds and containers so that they sit slightly high. Cyclamen flower buds form at ground level and may rot if exposed to too much water.
- Plant cyclamens in containers at least 6 inches wide with drainage holes. Use potting soil that includes starter fertilizer or add your own.
- Plant cyclamens in small groups outdoors in shady flowerbeds. Dig the bed with a digging fork. Add a spadeful of compost and a handful of time-release flower fertilizer to each planting hole.
- Water as needed to keep the soil moderately moist. Cyclamens need steady water and excellent drainage. Cyclamens that run dry often collapse, but water will usually revive the plants. Rehydrate dry containers by placing them in a bin or bucket filled with 4 inches of cool water for 30 minutes.
- Keep plants well-groomed by clipping off old blooms and leaves as needed with scissors or floral snips.
- Feed plants every two weeks with a water-soluble flower food, starting a month after planting.
Potted cyclamens make great gifts because they are easy to grow indoors and outdoors.
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