Cyclamen Come of Age

I’ve told you how many hours I spent reading growers’ manuals to learn how commercial florist crops were produced. That’s back when I was 13 and 14. And one of the crops I read about (but rarely saw) was cyclamen.

This mixture of cyclamen in various colors at a North Texas Calloways last week reminded me of how far these plants have come in my lifetime.

There were several reasons few growers offered it here in Texas, but the chief ones were that it was slow (months to produce) and that it required cool weather (55F). We just don’t have that many months with temperatures that cool.

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Breeders got busy, though, and found us types that would come along faster. Shippers found ways to get them to us more rapidly. And improvements in lightweight potting soils made transportation a lot easier and much less expensive.

Cyclamen flowers almost look upside-down, giving rise to their common name of “shooting stars.”

Suddenly cyclamens came of age. Many different colors and flower sizes. Plants in pots from 2 inches to 8 inches in diameter intended for use as everything from table décor to patio pots and terrariums.

Exotic foliage complements the cheerful floral colors of cyclamen.

Shortcuts to maximum success…
Buy fresh, vigorous plants, preferably from a nursery or greenhouse where you know they’ve been carefully tended.
Give them bright light. Morning sun is great.
Keep them cool. They still like those 55-60F temperatures, so keep them away from hot drafts indoors and away from reflective, light-colored walls outdoors.
Keep them moist. These plants wilt dramatically. When you first see their leaves starting to droop, water the plants thoroughly.

This rich maroon color shows the handiwork of accomplished plant breeders who have brought new colors and bloom numbers to cyclamen.
Posted by Neil Sperry
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