Garden Help Desk: Cyclamens are wonderful holiday additions | News, Sports, Jobs


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Cyclamens are available in a variety of sizes and colors, including many bi-color combinations.

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A healthy cyclamen plant will send up a steady supply of blooms from its base for weeks or even months.

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Pink is one of the most common color choices for cyclamens.

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Have you heard of Cyclamen? If you haven’t, you might guess that a cyclamen is a video game or a destructive weather event or even a new virus of concern. But none of those guesses would be correct. A cyclamen is a lovely flowering plant. They’re easy to find during at this time of year because they make nice, colorful additions to indoor Holiday décor.

Some cyclamens are hardy in our zone and their tubers can be planted in dappled shade outdoors wherever the is good drainage, but the cyclamens you’ll find in garden centers and flower shops now are tender perennials that should be kept as houseplants.

Cyclamens grow as tidy mound of dark green, rounded or heart-shaped leaved. Some varieties of cyclamen have white or silvery markings on the leaves. The unique flowers are the main attraction on these plants. They’re held high above the foliage on fleshy stems and face downward. The petals are reflexed (curved backward) and varieties can be found in white, red, or any of a full range of rosy colors. There are also bicolored varieties.

If want to bring a cyclamen home for a little extra holiday color, or if you’ve received a cyclamen plant as a gift, there are a few things you’ll need to know so that you can keep your plant looking beautiful.

Cyclamens need bright, indirect light. A few hours of direct light from an east-facing wouldn’t be a problem, but otherwise, avoid prolonged direct. Cyclamens won’t do well with warm, dry air, so keep your plant away from heater vents, fireplaces, and similar settings. Cyclamens need cooler temperatures, so display your plant in the coolest room in your home. Cyclamens are native to regions where the soil drains very freely, and wet soils or frequent watering are common causes decline for these plants. Your plant doesn’t want to dry down to the point of wilting either, so check the surface of the soil every couple of days and then water completely when the surface of the soil feels dry and the pot is a bit lightweight. Watering from the bottom by setting the pot in a small dish of water for 15-20 minutes a good way to avoid getting water on the crown, or center of the plant, which should be kept dry. A very light application of houseplant food every few weeks will help your plant to stay healthy.

Individual flowers on your plant can last for many days and flowering usually lasts until early spring. Twisting off spent blooms at the base of the stems will help to prolong the flowering season for longer into the spring, but eventually flowering will stop. Once a cyclamen is done blooming it will shift into dormancy- the leaves will fade and drop.

Many people consider their cyclamens to be temporary plants at will discard them once flowering stops. If you’d like to keep your plant, you’ll need to stop fertilizing, water very infrequently and keep the pot in a cool location. At the end of the summer, check often for new growth. Once you plant starts to grow again, resume the infrequent watering and very light fertilizing, and cross your fingers for new flower buds.

I am starting a turning drum composter and am seeing on the internet people recommending adding 1/3 greens (Nitrogen) and 2/3 brown (carbon) materials. I understand the green items (kitchen scrapes, lawn clippings, garden plants) but I am confused about some of the brown items like cardboard, and newspaper. If these are used what would be the acceptable range of size for each piece included in the load? Does it really matter? I do realize that given it is winter and cold outside, any composting now will be very slow to produce any good soil but I have time to start and wait for any results.

Turning or rolling compost drums, also called compost tumblers, can be an easy way to make small batches of compost but you still need to follow the basic composting principles.

For winter composting, where your options are limited to kitchen waste, paper sources, and (possibly) bagged leaves, you’ll want to coarsely chop any tough or large kitchen scraps. Paper sources like cardboard, newspapers and paper bags should be torn into strips. The thicker the paper product, the thinner the strips should be. These items would compost eventually regardless of their size but making the strips not more than 1-2″ in width would be more efficient.

The composting process is slower in the winter but rolling your composter really well with each new addition of material will improve the oxygen level and help speed things up. Enjoy your new composter!



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