Growing Potted Cyclamen as a Houseplant

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Cyclamen are available as houseplants in winter, and they're often given as gifts or purchased to be holiday decorations. Here are tips on caring for potted cyclamen.

cyclamen

They key thing to know about cyclamen when you're growing them as a winter-flowering houseplant is that they prefer cool temperatures. Their ideal temperature is anywhere from 50 to 55˚F. This does not jibe with most homes, but you can still keep your cyclamen looking healthy as long as you try to put it in your coolest room.

Be sure to also keep it out of direct light. Cyclamen prefer filtered light, which will also keep them cooler.

As for watering, keep your potted cyclamen watered, but allow the top inch or so of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Eventually a potted cyclamen will naturally start to fade away. It wants to go dormant. You can either discard it at this point, or cease regular waterings and keep the pot in a cool, dark, dry place until autumn. Occasionally add some water over the summer, just enough to keep the soil from drying completely. In autumn you should see some new growth begin to appear, at which point you can bring it into stronger light, water it very well, let it dry out a bit again, and then resume regular watering.

For more garden plants that you can grow inside of your home, read Tovah Martin's The Unexpected Houseplant, which covers bulbs, perennials and trees that go well beyond the usual windowsill subjects.

For advice on choosing and caring for all kinds of indoor plants, check out Barbara Pleasant's The Houseplant Survival Manual.