Q. I received a cyclamen as a gift, and I’m not sure how to take care of it.
A. Cyclamen are popular gift plants because of their colorful blooms, decorative foliage, and compact habit. They are readily available in a variety of colors including pink, red, and white. Given the right location and care, they can be kept blooming for several months and grown as indoor houseplants to bloom again next winter. Cyclamen plants need to be kept in a bright, cool location away from direct sunlight. One to two hours of direct sunlight is acceptable in the winter months as long as they do not become too warm. Temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 to 65 degrees at night are ideal. The soil should be kept slightly moist at all times. When watering cyclamen, it is important to water near the outer rim of the pot to avoid the center of the plant which can lead to crown rot.
Many people discard cyclamen plants after they are finished blooming and leaves begin to yellow. However, plants can be encouraged to bloom again with a little bit of effort. Yellowing foliage and flowers should be removed. Plants should be placed in a dark, cool location for approximately three months and given just enough water to keep the roots from totally drying out. After the dormancy period, plants should be transplanted in fresh, sterile potting soil and returned to a cool, bright location. Plants should produce new foliage when regular watering is resumed and a diluted fertilizer is applied monthly. New blooms should be produced in approximately two to three months.