Help your cyclamen bloom all over again

Cyclamen love to be kept cool with plenty of light.
Cyclamen love to be kept cool with plenty of light.
It's amazing what you can achieve with a broom handle, a pinch of seed and... children.

BRIAN KIDD: Get the children in your life to do the hard work

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We are half way through the year and, like you, I feel that time passes very quickly.

Yet, when we look back, the school summer holidays seemed to go on for ages and it never rained.

This brings to mind the wonderful cyclamen plants in pots which we bought back in October. They were in full bloom and the flowers lasted until early May.

I hope you didn’t throw them out because they will flower again from October until April 2014 if they are treated properly.

Look at the poor things, pot on its side, weeds too – and the foliage looks a bit manky,

If you want them to flower again from next autumn, shake the plant out of the pot, remove the old foliage and weeds and gently shake off all the old compost from the roots.

If any cream-coloured grubs are seen, pick them out and put them into a saucer so that the robins will devour them

The grubs are the offspring of the dreaded vine weevil beetle which eats the roots of all sorts of plants.

The adults are all female and lay dozens of eggs during May and at this time of year the eggs have hatched out into cream C-shaped grubs which eat half their weight in roots every day.

It is a good idea to use a clean pot. The original can be used but it needs to be clean.

As always, ensure the pot is well drained by covering the base with pieces of broken clay pots.

A couple of handfuls of John Innes number 3 compost or a Universal compost is folded over the crock and the tuber is planted so that it is not buried but is half-way out of the surface of the compost. Water afterwards.

Cyclamen love to be kept cool with plenty of light but not in bright, hot sunshine. A windowsill facing north is ideal.

They can also be kept outside in the shade. New leaves will appear after three to four weeks.

If you can’t be bothered with all of this, you will be able to buy a potted cyclamen at your garden centre during the autumn, but quite a few of you lovely readers have cyclamen tubers which are over 20 years old.

For example, Marjorie who lives at Southsea has a cyclamen with a corm almost the same size as a saucer and it regularly has over 100 flowers over the winter.

If you enjoy growing plants from seeds, the seeds are sown in late July or early August. It can take just over a year to enjoy the flowers – well worth waiting though!