You can make it snow indoors with pots of white cyclamen.
There are quite a few kinds of cyclamen—nearly two dozen species—beyond the common, florists’ cyclmen for sale in supermarkets. And yet. The large-flowered potted variety you see everywhere can be a care-free, ruffly petaled thing of beauty if you set pots of it on the mantel or beneath the Christmas tree.
After the holiday season ends, cyclamen will be happy to continue blooming year-round in its pot. (I set mine in a sheltered spot that gets a northern exposure and water once a week.)
Photography by Michelle Slatalla.
Above: Cyclamen persicum, native to Mediterranean climates, can do well in the garden too, if you live in a growing zone where temperatures don’t drop below freezing. If you bought a plant or two for the holidays, paint the plastic nursery pots gold for now and decide later, after New Year’s, if you want to commit.
Above: Cyclamen spreads from tubers. If you like the look of its velvety, upright petals—they remind me of the ears on a certain little dog I know—you also can experiment in the garden with more delicately shaped woodland varieties. Cyclamen cilicium, for instance, has pale purple flowers. It is 3 inches tall and native to Turkey and has mottled green and white leaves. In the garden, it will tolerate light shade; $16 per plant from Plant Delights.
Above: For instant holiday decor, head to the supermarket; potted cyclamens are inexpensive and will bloom through the season in well-drained soil. I paid $4.99 per pot for mine.
Softening on poinsettias? We witnessed a Christmas Miracle: 5 Poinsettias That Aren’t Tacky. And see what happened when Justine decided to get a live Christmas tree and plant it in the garden after the holidays in DIY: Plant Your Christmas Tree.