If you are looking for a gift or home accent this holiday season that is different then the traditional poinsettia, cyclamen is the answer.
Today's florist cyclamen are hybrids of the cyclamen persicum native to Greece and Syria. They are considered a low growing herb of 12", and are members of the primrose family. Their colorful, long-lasting flowers and heart-shaped leaves are attractively veined with silver and have made them very popular as centerpiece and gift plants. Well cared for plants will bloom from fall through spring, with the more heat tolerant miniature hybrids blooming into summer.
Cyclamen flowers may be single, double, fringed, bicolor, or even candy-striped. Colors range from exquisitely pure white through all shades of pink, lavender, purple, red, and dark wine. Some of the miniature strains are even delightfully scented. In addition, today's hybrids can be maintained over a wide temperature range from just above freezing to a normal home temperature of 75 degrees with good performance.
Individual flowers as well as the blooming season will be extended if the plants can be kept cooler (50's and 60's) rather than warmer. Try to avoid hot places altogether.
Provide part sun through full sun or the artificial light equivalent to keep plants compact and flowers from aborting. Plants grown in insufficient light typically will stretch and become weak and lower leaves will fade and yellow.