No cool greenhouse should be without at least one cyclamen. Recent hybrids are larger, more beautiful, in a range of colors from pure white through rose, pink, salmon, to scarlet and orchid. There are single, double, and fringed blossoms, even a pleasingly scented miniature-flowered variety. Flowers appear in profusion for up to six months, sometimes longer, hiding dark green foliage, standing stiffly on rosy-hued tubular stems, not unlike tremendous butterflies poised in flight.
Buy your first cyclamen (select a large, heavily budded plant) from your florist or garden center in November. Keep the plant cool and moist and shade it from direct sun at midday; feed every other week. When flowering ceases in April or May, force the plant to rest by withholding water until foliage dies. Keep nearly dry in the pot on its side under a bench until August. Then remove dead foliage and some of the old soil from around the rootball and repot in fresh soil (equal parts garden loam, peatmoss, sand) in a pot slightly larger than the rootball, and with good drainage. Be especially careful to keep the top of the tuber level with the surface of the soil if it is set lower, water may collect in the indentation and cause crown rot. Syringe daily.
Grow at 50 F night temperature and provide adequate ventilation. Remove all flower buds that appear before October. Cyclamens may be grown from seed planted from June to September, but it takes fifteen to eighteen months to produce flowering plants this way. Allow five to eight weeks for germination a tiny tuber develops under the soil before leaves appear above. Cyclamens are intolerant of some pesticides, so read instructions carefully before treating.