Cyclamen: The Original Christmas Flower

Every year it is the same routine. The lights start to go up on trees, wreaths on front doors and holiday carols are played at the mall.  Then out come the poinsettias.  Everywhere you look, you see the beautiful red, white, and pink blooms.  These tropical plants, however, were not always the star of the show.

Cyclamen were originally the go-to Christmas flowers in the Victorian Era, and they are making a comeback.  With their affinity for cooler temperatures, their blooms last a long time and their easy maintenance makes them a great gift for those lacking the greenest thumbs.

Cyclamen, or the poor man's orchid, have unique flowers that come in a variety of colors ranging from white to red to purple and they can even be two-toned.  Each flower has five petals that can be single, double, or ruffled, and appear as if they are a cluster of butterflies hovering above the plant.

Not only do the unusual blooms make a statement, but the leaves do too.  With a variety of patterns on the heart-shaped leaves, as well as shades of green and silver, the foliage also makes a great display when the flowers are done blooming.

Their Christmas Flower title came from being a cool season blooming houseplant. With the proper care, a cyclamen can last on average 2-3 months or longer, and often will change color when they re-bloom.

Cyclamen require bright, indirect light and should be placed in the coolest room of the house.  Like a lot of plants, definitely keep cyclamen away from heating vents as the warm drafts can dry them out quickly.

Cyclamen require even soil moisture and are tuberous plants, so it is best to water them from the bottom.  Simply fill a saucer with water and place the cyclamen in the saucer.  Be sure to drain off excess water if the saucer is under the cyclamen at all times.  Also, be sure that plant dries out a little before watering it again.  You wouldn't want the bulb to rot.

So this year, mix it up a bit. Add a cyclamen or two to your poinsettia decorations and you'll have a piece of trivia to tell everyone about.

Christian Goers