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9:49 AM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - If you prefer your home cool and your cocoa hot, you should grow cyclamens on your window window sills.

These pretty flowering plants are native to the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They flower in winter and early spring and thrive in cool conditions; 55 degrees or lower is ideal. Window greenhouses often suit cyclamens well. They fail miserably in hot houses with low humidity. They will also fail if they are over-watered. Let the soil dry out almost completely before waterings.

Cyclamens are unique. The flowers face their "noses" downward so that their five petals face upward. The flowers may be red, pink, coral, violet or white, often with a darker ring around the nose. Some are sweetly scented but not all; they are sometimes called Persian violets. The foliage is also beautiful, being dark green and frosted and marbled with white and gray markings.

Cyclamen plants grow from a round tuber resembling a potato. In the wild, they grow at high, cool elevations in well-drained soil beneath trees. There are more than 20 species. The ones we grow as potted plants are hybrids. In the high heat of the Mediterranean summer, the plants usually go dormant. Your plants won't continue to bloom much in summer but since it is cool at night in Colorado, the plants usually don't go dormant. Fertilize during fall and winter with a bloom booster type of fertilizer.

Plants are courtesy of Tagawa Gardens.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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