Florist Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)
Whether miniature or large, single-
This is where Florist Cyclamen come in, and right now their season of colour, scent and exuberance is reaching its peak at the Garden Centre. These flowers are cold-
The choice is enhanced by two-
Cyclamen leaves are heart-
Cyclamen can tolerate cooler temperatures on patios, balconies and window boxes, their colours becoming even more intense, but you’ll need to bring them in when the temperatures drop to around 50°F (10°F). If you provide cyclamen with too much heat and the flowers very quickly droop and often the leaves turn bright yellow within a matter of a few days.
Cyclamen come into bloom from early September flowering to the end of February (although it is possible to keep them flowering for most of the year).
To prolong the flowering period, remove wilted Cyclamen flowers and leaves from their pot with a firm ‘pull and twist’ movement. Never simply cut off the blooms or leaves as the stems are likely to die-
With watering and feeding, moderation is the rule. If the soil is too wet, the flat tuber will start to rot. Don’t pour the water directly onto the compost; it is better to pour it into a dish or saucer into which the plant is stood, and half-
Cyclamen should only be watered when the compost in the pot no longer feels damp. Feed them every week with a half strength Baby Bio feed while they are in bloom, and cyclamen will repay you with lots of flowers. To make sure they are really happy, repot them annually anytime from March to May in a multi-
Poinsettia or Star of Christmas (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
The vibrant Poinsettia for many is Christmas in a pot all beautifully bundled into lovely dark green leaves together with wonderful colour bracts of colour in a pot. This star of Christmas, however, needs to be treated carefully.
Over the last decade growers have been developing Poinsettia varieties with stronger stems and which are tolerant of cooler growing conditions. One of the reasons is transport – Poinsettias hate being cold and if they do it chilled in transit it often results in disaster as the plants may well drop their leaves and bracts. This is the reason we only buy from a local British grower, based just outside Leighton Buzzard.
Location and temperature are crucial once you get your plant home. Maximum light through the winter is essential, however if you place it on a sunny windowsill be sure to remove it before the curtains are drawn. A temperature of between 13-
Watering is straightforward with Poinsettias. Water the plant thoroughly then wait until the compost is moderately dry before watering again. Use tepid water and never let the plant stand in water, especially if you place the plant into a decorative pot cover. I like to carefully mist spray the underside of the leaves (not the colourful bracts) once a week to help improve the humidity around the plant.
As for feeding, well you could use one of the Fito Poinsettia Drip Feeders which is inserted into the pot and the fertiliser simply drips into the compost over a few weeks. Alternatively, you could use Tomorite or Phostrogen every couple of weeks to keep the plant healthy.
Amaryllis (sometimes called Hippeastrum, which is the plants correct Latin name)
These are unquestionably one of the easiest flowering bulbs to bring to bloom. Normally 8-
For most people it’s the re-
Leaf Growth and Development Continue to water and apply a liquid fertilizer such as Phostrogen or Tomorite as normal all summer, or for at least 5-
Bulb Storage Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (40-
Plant Again After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom. Again, make sure the bulb is planted to the correct level.
Christmas Cacti (Schlumbergia truncata)
Quite different from the traditional desert cacti, Schlumbergia are more at home attached to trees in woodlands and jungles rather than the arid desert. They are remarkably easy to care for. Straight after flowering they need a couple of months resting period where they are kept cool and water infrequntly. During April and May treat normally, water thoroughly when the compost begins to dry out. Feed fortnightly with Baby Bio or Miracle-
Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
These “outdoor indoor plants” are often grown in too much warmth and therein lies the problem. Keeping these plants cool (around 50-
Click on a houseplant name below for more information and care instructions:
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Buckingham Nurseries and Garden Centre,
Tingewick Road, Buckingham, MK18 4AE, UK.
Tel: 01280 822133 -