image by cynthia berridge/sxc.hu
Winter blooming plants are prized for bringing bright colors and foliage indoors when everything outside has returned to dormancy. Cyclamen, a tuberous flowering plant, is one such winter bloomer. Available at most florists and grocery floral departments once the weather cools, the glossy green foliage and bright central flowers of cyclamen are often packaged as houseplants. Yet cyclamen is better suited to the outdoors in milder climates. It is possible to grow cyclamen indoors successfully but you must be willing to ensure proper care.
Choose a room for the cyclamen that is 60 to 65 degrees F during the day and 50 to 55 degrees at night. An unheated interior room or enclosed porch works well.
Place the cyclamen under bright, indirect sunlight. Choose an east window or a south window with sheer shades.
Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet, allowing the top of the soil to dry lightly between waterings. Water from the bottom of the pot to avoid getting moisture on top of the tuber which will lead to rot.
Feed with a general purpose liquid fertilizer twice a month during the growing season, which lasts from autumn until early spring.
Remove flower stems once they finish blooming. Snap or cut them off at the base of the plant where they emerge from the tuber.
Allow the leaves to yellow and die off naturally in late winter or early spring. Dig up the tuber and place in a perforated plastic bag filled with dry vermiculite. Store in a cool, dark place---such as a refrigerator--at approximately 50 degrees until autumn.
Replant the tuber once temperatures begin to cool in late September or October. Fill the container with 2 parts peat moss, 1 part potting soil or compost and 1 part perlite. Plant the tuber so the top section where the growing eyes are visible is just above the soil surface.