A: Cyclamen plants have exotic looking flowers but the leaves are also stunning – such a pretty plant. However, they are a little finicky about their environment. They prefer evening temperatures between 40 – 50 degrees F, day time temperatures should not go over 70. This makes cyclamen a great plant to help us out of the gray doldrums of the long stretch between January and March. It is possible to put the plant outside as long as you bring it back inside or cover it up when temperatures drop below forty. Cyclamen also prefers good air circulation and moisture in the air which makes it a poor choice as a year round house plant. Evidence it is unhappy with the environment is yellowing leaves, which eventually drop off. In addition, cyclamen does not like wet soil. The soil must be well drained. This is probably why it does not last from one season to another here in Florida as we always have one or two rainy seasons during the late spring and summer. The most common problem is overwatering which causes the tubers to decay. Mites can be an issue for cyclamen and violets which can best be controlled by horticulture oil. I would treat cyclamen like a cool season annual. Enjoy the beautiful leaves and flowers for the length of time you have it. When selecting one from the retail nursery, be sure to pick one with loads of unopened buds to provide the optimum amount of flowers.
Q: A friend just brought me a cyclamen. What can you tell me about this pretty plant?