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Holiday Blooms: GBBD, December 2018

December 16, 2018

The end of the outdoor garden season came suddenly this year when months of above average heat and humidity gave way to unseasonably cold, wet weather in October and November. By the end of November, we had already experienced five snowfalls, and the garden has been tucked in under a blanket of snow since mid-November.

peach cactus flower red cactus flower

This is the season when I turn to indoor blooms for holiday cheer. My holiday cactus (Schlumbergera) plants have almost finished blooming, but the cyclamen are coming on strong.

coral cyclamen

reverted cyclamenTwo years ago, I had to get rid of my decades-old cyclamen plants when they became infected with mites, and I replaced them with two new Cyclamen persicum last year at this time. Both are now blooming. One has intense coral pink flowers. The flowers on the other were white with lavender striations when I bought it. This year, however, it seems to be reverting to a more familiar form: Most of the flowers are now solid hot pink. The others are mostly pink brushed with white striations.

I am not a big fan of Poinsettia and would not buy them for myself. But this one was a gift from a friend, and its bracts are providing a splash of cheery Christmas red in my plant window.


Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see holiday blooms from both outdoor and indoor gardens.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2018 10:40 pm

    It’s interesting that the Cyclamen flowers are reverting but perhaps the striations in the flowers were created by a virus that has been “cured” under your ministrations. I’ve been avoiding poinsettias for awhile now but this year I found a new variety called ‘Ice Punch’ I couldn’t resist. Best wishes for a peaceful winter followed by an early spring.

    • December 17, 2018 7:48 pm

      Kris, I wondered if the striated flowers were a sport of a plant with solid pink flowers and tissue from the sport was then cultured to make clones. I don’t think it’s unusual for genetic mutations reproduced in this way to revert to the parent genotype.

  2. December 17, 2018 11:25 am

    Beautiful! Love the cyclamen flowers!

    • December 17, 2018 7:49 pm

      Lea, I am a big fan of cyclamen, and in my cool climate the potted ones bloom almost all year round.

  3. Laura Ouellette permalink
    December 17, 2018 12:16 pm

    Hi, Jean. I too have received a poinsettia plant as a gift. Would you please let me know how to keep it blooming, and what to do with it during the warm months until next year?

  4. janesmudgeegarden permalink
    December 17, 2018 1:58 pm

    I do like cyclamens, but have rarely managed to carry one over to the next flowering season. What is your secret?

    • December 17, 2018 8:01 pm

      Hi Jane, I think the most common problems in keeping cyclamen plants going are too much heat, too much water, and giving up on the plant when it goes into dormancy. These are plants that like it cool. In its native Mediterranean climate, Cyclamen persicum grows and blooms in the autumn and winter and then slows down in spring and goes into dormancy during the heat of summer. In these days of central heating, I think many people keep their houses too hot in winter for these plants to be happy. My house seldom gets above 70F (21C) for any length of time. I keep the indoor temperature in the sixties during the winter, and although the house can get up to 80F during a hot summer day, it almost always goes back down into the fifties or sixties overnight. In addition to not over-watering (the leading cause of death among houseplants), it’s important not to give up on the plant when it finishes blooming, drops all its leaves, and goes into dormancy. It will look dead, but it is not; a little water and some TLC will bring it back to life in autumn.

      • janesmudgeegarden permalink
        December 17, 2018 8:36 pm

        Thank you for your detailed reply, Jean. Actually we don’t have central heating, just a very good wood burner which heats the living area, but the rest of the house goes completely unheated, so obviously I should keep a cyclamen in that part. I’ll try again! I’ll have to find a cool place for it in the summer…our temps can reach as high as 40C.

  5. December 18, 2018 5:46 am

    You have a fresh and lovely photo – had to click thru to check Which Jean!

    • December 31, 2018 3:55 pm

      Diana, Since the old photo was more than ten years old, I thought it was time to replace it.

  6. December 29, 2018 4:09 pm

    Hello Jean, winter comes so suddenly for you, yet here I am at the end of the year and it’s been so mild we even hung our washing out (though it didn’t dry terribly well)! We have cyclamen of the outdoor variety but I haven’t checked on them in some time so I’m not sure if they’re flowering. What I am proud of indoors is the Streliztia, which has now matured and flowered for the first time last year, and is flowering again this winter. It’s add a touch of the exotic to an otherwise dark and dingy winter. It’s a shame you had to replace your indoor cyclamen but your new ones look just as stunning.

    • December 31, 2018 3:58 pm

      Sunil, The first time I ever saw a Sterliztia in bloom was at Kew, and I was instantly smitten. I admire your patience in growing yours and its blooms are a reward that you richly deserve (and that I trust you will share with the rest of us).

  7. January 2, 2019 4:50 pm

    Hi Jean, I think all your colorful blooms must be a beautiful counterpoint to all the snow outside your windows. My winters are so short and mild compared to yours. I am sure it must be challenging, but all that snow reminds me of a magical wonderland. I hope you have a successful 2019 with many happy and productive gardening days!

    • January 2, 2019 7:18 pm

      Deb, Snow is beautiful — especially when you’re looking out at it from inside a warm house. 😉 And colorful indoor blooms provide a nice counterpoint to the white world outside.

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