Blooming Thursday: Hidden Cyclamen

Many years ago, my friend, Leslie, gave me a gorgeous cyclamen for Valentine’s Day. I was between relationships and probably feeling sorry for myself. It was a sweet gesture and a stunning specimen of a plant.

pink cyclamen

Brilliant Fuchsia

The cyclamen sat on my coffee table for many weeks, producing bloom after bloom. Then, with little warning, the leaves began to drop. I’m not one to give up easily on plants, so I tried the usual things: more water, then less water, different light. Nothing. Eventually I was out of ideas. I upended the contents of the pot into the small strip of dirt near my apartment door. Imagine my surprise a year later when the cyclamen “came back to life.” Turns out cyclamens are tubers, also known as corms. The plant had simply gone dormant.

cyclamen corm

Cyclamen corm with emerging heart-shaped leaves

Cyclamens remain one of my favorite winter plants. I planted three in colorful pots on the deck last winter so I could watch them bloom from my kitchen window. When spring rolled around, I transplanted them to larger pots and paired them with spring annuals.

As my potted darlings closed up shop in the late spring, I scooped them out of the soil and moved them to the lower garden. I found a small patch of dirt under some tall grass next to the Magnolia tree. They would be in good company and would stay cool all summer long.

It was a sweet surprise to see them back in bloom this week, refreshed from the recent rains and ready to flourish.

white cyclamen

Shaded by the grass

What’s blooming in your garden?

Cyclamen Care. I especially like the beautiful drawing at the end of this link.

Halloween Countdown

Collector Pumpkin

Collector Pumpkin

Winterizing the Double Wide Coleus

Inky Finger Coleus

Inky Finger Coleus
aka Double-Wide

My beautiful ‘Inky Fingers’ Coleus has been busy.  Unlike its tall neighbor, this Coleus is growing out instead of up. I’ve nicknamed it Double-Wide.

Double-Wide makes me smile when I walk up the patio steps. The colors are spectacular. I’ve grown fond of this plant and hope to winterize it if possible. I grew a spectacular Coleus in the same area last year.  It even garnered compliments from our landscape designer.  Sadly, as soon as the temperatures dropped, the leaves dropped too.  I thought it might come back the following year, but apparently when it’s done, it’s done.

Some brave souls bring their plants indoors for the winter, but I’m leery of what might move in with them.  After a summer dealing with aphids, scale, wasps and thrips, I’m reluctant to go that route.

This year I want to create a localized greenhouse for the two plants to see if they’ll make it through the winter.  I’ve done a bit of reading today, and learned that Coleuses grow as a perennial in Zone 10, an area quite a bit inland from our Zone 15.  I also learned that you can take multiple cuttings from the plant in late summer, and start next season’s plants indoors.  The challenge is lack of humidity in a dry, winter house.

Fall is still a few weeks away, so I will enjoy the plant outdoors for as long as I can.  I don’t have a green house so I would have to improvise with PVC pipe and heavy-gauge plastic.  Gardener’s Supply Company catalog sells garden quilt fabric and plant protection tents good to 24°F,  also possible options.

Do you plan to winter over some of your garden plants?  Have you had success in the past?  Tips welcome!  Please reply in the comments section below.