Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Cyclamens Flaunt the Rules

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Cyclamens Flaunt the Rules

Article excerpt

EVERY now and then you come across plants that do not read the books.

This is the case at the moment in the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane where cyclamens are being used in the mall's garden beds. Cyclamens are recognised as one of the best of the indoor winter flowering plants.

But these plants are out in the open to the rain, wind and the public. It has always been said that cyclamens are quite easy to maintain for many months if the golden rules are followed. Like cyclamens respond to the chill of the winter night air but should not be left outdoors overnight -- this is not the case in Brisbane.

Other golden rules include that a spent cyclamen flower should never be cut off. It is best to remove old flowers and stems by gently twisting off at the base and pulling them away from the main tuber.

Also cyclamens only require modest watering as too much water is the easiest way to kill the plant.

Cyclamens are native to countries in the Mediterranean like Greece and Turkey, where the winters are cold and the summer is the opposite, so the plant has adapted to the climate. Growing from a tuber in their natural environment cyclamens tend to die down during a hot humid summer.

Many enthusiasts will recommend that if you want to encourage strong flowering stems and buds on your cyclamens, apply a foliar spray of a soluble fertiliser, like Searle's Flourish, about every fortnight.

The Queen Street cyclamens are growing well without following these golden rules.

WINTER RAINFOREST CACTUS

Another plant that has made a big showy winter display this year is that of the zygocactus or as it should be correctly known as schlumbergera.

The zygocactus has been a popular bush house plant in Central Queensland for more than 50 years. Most of our region's shows this year had many flowering healthy specimens of this plant in full bloom. The zygocactus is also known by the common names, Christmas cactus or crab cactus.

The zygocactus originates from Brazil, where they grow as epiphytes (the horticultural equivalent of an animal tick) on many of the rainforest trees, or even on stony ledges found in an area of the Organ Mountains, surrounding Rio De Janiero. …

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