This Valentine’s Day, don't just give roses to your paramore, give the flower of lasting love. Cyclamens are great gifts because they can grow indoors as houseplants or outdoors a shade-loving ground cover. And like your love, they'll last for years if taken care of properly.
Cyclamen's name is derived from the Greek, “kuklos,” which means circle, referring to the shape of the tubers and leaves. It’s a beauty, but was also used medically to treat depression, nightmares, and indigestion. The tubers, though, are toxic to pets and humans.
Check florist shops and garden centers for cyclamen plants. The flowers come in white, pink, or red colors and the circular leaves have interesting variegation on them.
Place your houseplant cyclamen in a sunny window in a room where the temperatures are cool at night. Water only after the soil dries and the pot is lightweight. But don’t let the leaves and flowers wilt. Deadhead the spent flowers all winter.
By early summer, let the pot dry out and the leaves die. This is the natural resting time for cyclamens. Place it in cool, dark place all summer and start watering again in fall to stimulate growth and flowering. If aphids or mites infect your plants, cut back the foliage back to the tuber. The plant will regrow.
Some cyclamen species are hardy outdoors. Grow species such as the pink flowered Cyclamen hederifolium in a part-shaded, woodland setting under deciduous trees on well-drained soil. Good drainage is important or the tubers will rot. The tubers are dormant in summer and bloom in early fall with evergreen foliage.