SAVANNAH, Ga. — Walking down our long Crape Myrtle Allee we have several large Vietnamese glazed pots filled with cool season flowers. For this to be the first week in February, they are looking rather impressive thanks to what may be the perfect Valentine’s Day plant, the Persian cyclamen. Just thinking Valentine’s Day, used to give me the shudders. Shoot, three cyclamens in a basket and a nice dinner at a Savannah restaurant and I am home free.
If you normally grab the traditional red roses for Valentine’s Day, this horticulture guy is telling you to forget the “roses are red, my love” thing and go with cyclamen. Simply because you cannot beat the cyclamen for the number of flowers it produces and its long period of bloom. Cyclamen is available in the traditional Valentine’s Day colors of red, pink and white, and the shades of purple and lavender will also leave your love interest mesmerized. If that were not enough, the incredibly striking leaves are heart-shaped.
Cyclamen is one example of a plant with foliage that contributes significantly to the plant’s beauty. Most cyclamen have some pattern of silver or gray variegation in those heart-shaped leaves. Another thing I like about the cyclamen is their ability to tolerate cool conditions. Cyclamen love temperatures from 40 to 60
degrees. This means the pot near the front door where a geranium bloomed all summer can now be filled with cyclamen in my area.
We have them partnered with various shades of fragrant dianthus and a touch of variegated Lamium. Try them in containers, window boxes and even baskets. Don’t skimp and buy the bargain heavy potting soil, instead use a good lightweight soil mix.
This will pay dividends because, with a little care, your cyclamen will still be blooming as spring arrives.
Keep the cyclamen evenly moist but never soggy. When watering, I like to use a little can with a spout to place the water around the edge of the container without watering the crown or center of the plant directly. If bone-chilling temperatures are in the forecast, simply tuck your container inside for a day.
The cyclamen will certainly last longer than cut flowers. Try a mix of three differing colors in a decorative container or basket, add a fine dinner at her favorite restaurant, turn on the charm that stole her heart and you’ll be in great shape for Valentine’s Day.