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Gardening & More: Have fun gardening inside, with succulents and cyclamen

GO GREEN — Different heights, colors and textures add interest to this container garden of succulents. In the back is crassula “hobbit.” The yellow plant in front is sedum “lemon coral” and the trailing plant is the “string of pearls.” Photo used courtesy of Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses.
You cannot dig outside in your garden right now, so turn your attention to the great indoors and have fun with houseplants.

Succulents are great, even for beginners, or for lazy gardeners like me, because they do not need a lot of care.

Succulents need to be watered only once every three weeks, according to Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, located at 118 S. Forest Road in Williamsville.

Succulents are plants with thick, heavy leaves, such as jade and aloe. I bet that those who keep both of those plants have them in separate pots. But these plants do not have to be loners. You can mix succulents in a larger pot, to create a container garden. This is a fun little project that allows you to get your hands dirty, at this time of year.

You can use your creativity, as you mix upright and trailing plants, plants of different textures and colors. Use the same design techniques that you would use to create an interesting flower arrangement or lovely container of annuals.

Succulents are good for vertical gardens, too. You may have seen them hanging on walls or fences outside, but they can be used inside, as well. Mischler’s sells special containers with small compartments that help hold the soil and plants in place.

Mischler’s will have succulents for sale at Plantasia, which will be held March 20 – 23, with a preview night on March 19, at The Fairgrounds Event Center and Expo Hall in Hamburg.

If you want an indoor plant that flowers, get a cyclamen. Cyclamen do not need a lot of watering, either, and because of that, attentive gardeners might find cyclamen tricky to care for.

“They don’t want to be overloved,” Yadon said.

Cyclamen like it a little on the dry side, so you should not overwater them. They also like to dry out, between waterings. If you are not sure how much to water, err on the side of dry. If they wilt, give them a little water and they will bounce right back.

If this lack of watering leaves you feeling unfulfilled as a gardener, there is one thing that you will like about the cyclamen. You need to dote on it a little, to keep it flowering. Deadhead (remove the dead flowers) cyclamen, to keep these plants blooming.

Place this plant in a bright, but cool, space and use a mild fertilizer.

This plant should continue to bloom until it gets very warm, in spring or early summer. After that, you can enjoy the foliage. Some people have had success getting the plant to rebloom the following fall.

Cyclamen come in standard and miniature sizes; the flowers are pink, purple, red and white.

Connie Oswald Stofko is the publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.
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