Hardy Cyclamen and Kalanchoe Plants

Bonnie Nowicki

During our cool but mild winters here in Green Valley, container-grown cyclamens and kalanchoes thrive. I am targeting these plants for their nonstop flower power and easy care—a perfect combination for the holidays. You can find many candy-colored varieties in our local stores and garden centers. I usually purchase a healthy, blooming, potted cyclamen persicum for display on my outside patio table all winter. Its magenta blooms are stunning.

Perhaps some of you dedicated gardeners have grown cyclamens in your yard and have nurtured them for several years. They go dormant in the summer, and new growth appears from the center of the corm, or tuber, around September. Then you can resume normal watering and fertilizing.

The succulent kalanchoe blossfeldiana, sometimes called “the supermarket kalanchoe,” is covered with showy flower clusters that last for months. The proper pronunciation is “kal-en-koey,” not “kal-an-cho.” I’ve been mispronouncing it forever. This plant does best in a protected location like a front porch alcove or patio corner. I have a few pots of other kalanchoe varieties. Most are coated in a smooth fuzz and have managed well through the cold weather.

It is my experience that both container cyclamen and kalanchoe plants do very well in our cool weather, down to 40 degrees. They will bloom continuously until late spring. Water once a week at the container’s edge—not into the crown. Morning sun is perfect.

It’s a joy to see colorful flowers consistently all winter as you gaze out your window. So, consider dressing up your front door entrance or patio for Christmas with one or more of these dependable plants.

Merry Christmas to all!