Yesterday afternoon, in the middle of getting our deck (finally) repaired, Garry said he had an important errand that could not wait. And off he went. It turned out the important errand was buying me a new orchid — except it’s not an orchid. It’s a cyclamen.
Cyclamen has a very different set of requirements than an orchid except for the “only water when really dry” thing, which is what I do anyway — the rare exception being fuchsia which requires quite a lot of water. Everything else I have needs very little water and weak fertilizer.
He had spotted them a couple of days ago and wanted to buy one before they disappeared. I’m not sure what his inspiration was, but it’s a beautiful plant and quite different than any of the others I have.
Growing a cyclamen makes growing orchids sound easy. The problem seems to be watering, storing during dormancy, and temperature control. They don’t like heat OR cold. They need to be kept nearly dry and you have to water from the bottom, but if you let them get too dry, that will kill them too. It would seem that a lot of things will kill them including failing to find a cool, dark place to store them.
I can’t keep my house below 70 degrees in summer because the electric bill would kill me. It’s cool in the winter and humidity is usually not a problem but finding a dark cool place to store it when (if) it goes dormant is very likely to be a BIG problem.
The thing is, a Mediterranean cyclamen ought to be dormant in summer, but Garry just bought it today and it is very much alive. He didn’t buy it at a nursery because there are none locally. We used to have them, but over the past five years, they have all closed. It wasn’t COVID. There weren’t enough customers.
These days, you buy plants wherever you find them — like the grocery store or lumber yard. This plant came from the grocery and it came without any instructions. I don’t know if it is a Mediterranean (indoor) plant or a hardy outdoor plant, unless it we are too cold or too snowy or too something. There wasn’t so much as a little stick in there to hint at what the plant needs and because I don’t know what kind of cyclamen it is, I’m guessing it’s one of the indoor Mediterranean ones. It’s just a guess.
My display table is crowded. When I bring in the Norfolk Island pine from the deck and the two huge aloes. I’m going to have to break up the aloes, keep the smallest, healthiest pieces and sadly, toss the rest. I just don’t have room for them.
I’m trying to figure out how to use part of the living room picture window for plants. It’s a west window, so it should be okay for everything I’m growing. The north window wouldn’t even keep the aloe alive and they are ridiculously hardy.
That picture window is Duke’s favorite hanging out spot. I have strong doubts about the survival of plants in El Duque’s care.
I need another window. The only other window that is big enough for plants and gets reasonable light is the picture window in the living room window. I’m not sure how I could make that work. I’d need a long, narrow table which could sit behind the sofa by the window. Just wide enough for the plants because people sit on that sofa — and it’s the Duke’s “lounging” space.
Any helpful ideas are welcome!