How to keep your cyclamen blooming throughout winter

Cyclamens love the winter weather. Picture: Shutterstock
Cyclamens love the winter weather. Picture: Shutterstock

Winter months bring a new set of challenges when it comes to plant maintenance in the home. Indoor plants are usually sub-tropical and can survive in low-light levels typical of most indoor settings. They prefer higher humidity, which can sometimes be difficult to regulate in the cooler months.

During winter, indoor plants are often in rooms with additional heating that results in a loss of humidity, so the key to winter-time success is in regular maintenance.

Water when the mix appears dry, this might mean daily for smaller containers due to the loss of moisture from heaters.

Misting leaves daily and grouping plants together will also assist with maintaining humidity for plants. Wipe foliage regularly particularly on broad-leaf plants such as pothos, monstera and philodendron to remove dust that will accumulate more rapidly in low-humidity environments.

An indoor plant that is at its best in the cold months is the cyclamen. The trick to keeping cyclamen's gorgeous flower display in bloom is in managing their environment.

They prefer a cool humid area and if the indoor temperature exceeds 20 degrees during the day and stays above 10 degrees at night, cyclamens will slowly start to yellow and their flowers fade prematurely.

They will thrive in unheated rooms and if placed outside at night and brought inside in the morning. The most critical aspect of cyclamen care is watering - they are sensitive to both over and under watering.

Allow the growing media to dry a little between watering, but not to the point where the plant shows signs of foliage or flower wilt. Watering from the base by capillary action is ideal for cyclamen, but do not leave containers sitting in a saucer of water continuously as this can lead to rot.

As flowers fade remove them with a twisting action and gentle tug, do not cut them off as the stubs will rot and can cause rot of the tuber.

After cyclamens finish blooming, as the weather warms in spring, they go into a dormant state and the plant may appear to be dying. Once you see the signs that the leaves are dying, stop watering.

Place the plant in a cool, somewhat dark place, any dead leaves can be removed at this stage and let the plant sit for around two months. Once new leaves begin to appear, start watering and feeding again.

  • John Gabriele is a horticulture teacher with a love for green spaces.
This story How to help your indoor plants thrive throughout winter first appeared on The Canberra Times.