Holiday Houseplants Part III


Bright, Indirect
Water: Dryer, Well Drained
Height: 6-12 inches

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 you use is under the cyclamen at all times. Also, be sure the 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.


Frosted Fern
Bright, Indirect
Water: Damp
Height: 6-12 inches

Frosty ferns get their name from appearing to have frost on their foliage. The fern has a soft appearance with dark green foliage that is variegated with a soft white.

Frosted ferns do best as a houseplant in our climate. They need to be planted in a container that has proper drainage. In the house, they need to be placed in a bright room, but not in direct sunlight. Like many ferns, these plants want moist soil and should not be allowed to dry out. They also like a lot of humidity if possible. To add extra humidity to the air around the plant, you can place the plant’s container on top of a drainage dish that is filled with gravel and water. This will act like a little greenhouse, giving plenty of moisture to the air around your fern. Just be sure that the container is resting on the dry part of the gravel and not in water, which can cause root rot.

Kim Boyer