Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

Over the years I’ve noticed that fall cyclamen are becoming more and more popular as Christmas plants. But, of course why wouldn’t they? These unusual colorful flowering plants can also make a very nice alternative to pansies and snapdragons.

Cyclamen come in several different colors, white, red, purple and pink with some of these varieties also being fragrant. It’s said that deer do not eat cyclamen, but I will not promise this.

Many people find cyclamen plants hard to grow and very short lived. With a few tips these plants can be grown indoors or outdoors for several years. Cyclamen are members of the Primrose family. There are about 20 different species of cyclamen with most of them being cold hardy. One important thing to remember about cyclamen plants, whether grown in the ground or in containers, is that they do require good drainage. You can water regularly but let the soil dry out between waterings. Never allow the soil to stay wet and soggy, this could lead to root rot, which could then lead to dead plants.

Cyclamen prefer partially shady areas, especially when they’re blooming, and deep shade when they’re dormant. These growing conditions also make them good houseplants. Cyclamen can grow in a variety of soil types, except not any heavy gumbo soil that would retain water and could become water logged. Cyclamen do best in a rich well drained soil that’s full of organic matter.

Cyclamen grow from tubers. When planting each tuber place it just below the soil level usually no more than 1 to 2 inches deep. Fertilize cyclamen once a month but not during a dormant period.

Cyclamen could add color and beauty to any late season landscape.

Until next time let’s all try to garden with nature not against it and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

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Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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