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Florist’s cyclamen are popular house plants. They are grown for their large, vibrant, winter flowers, which come in shades of white, pink, and red. They either frilly, scented, or ruffled flowers are held together by intricate heart-shaped leaves.
Cyclamen plants are cultivars of the wild Cyclamen persicum, which are native to Turkey. “Mini cyclamen” are small-flowered cultivars that are typically grown as outdoor bedding plants, usually in autumn.
Being widely available in a garden center and grocery stores, especially through the holiday seasons, these fresh and dainty plants are undeniably great for adding color to pots and rather dull spaces.
Scientific Name: Cyclamen; L.
Common Name: Alpine Violet, Persian Violet, and Sowbread
Similar to: Hellebores
Native to: Primulaceae, the plant family from which the cyclamen comes from is native to the Middle East. Some of the parents of new hybrids are traced into Central and Southern Europe.
Shape: Cyclamens have spherical tuber and heart-shaped flowers.
Maximum Size: Up to 12 inches tall
Watering Requirements: Water the plant once the topsoil gets dry; no overwatering
Light Requirements: Prefers bright indirect sunlight.
Preferred Humidity: Moderate level of humidity
Preferred Temperature: 55 to 700F (13 to 21oC)
Soil or Potting Medium: Moist, loamy, and well-draining soil.
Fertilizer: Common all-purpose fertilizers
Propagation Method: Division
Toxicity: They contain saponins, which if ingested by pets may cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Vulnerable to: Bacterial soft rot and blight
Cyclamen Plant Care Basics
Cyclamen plants are no wonder a delightful treat to just about any garden or indoor setup. Their vibrant flowers and delicate foliages are also a great accompaniment to other houseplants.
Get to know them more and we will guide you to the basics of cyclamen care!
The Ideal Soil Mixture
For cyclamen plants, a regular potting mix will do, but organically rich and well-draining soil goes a long way. This ideally works for most container plants.
In preparing potted cyclamen, be sure to provide a mix with a slightly acidic pH. Technicality aside, this can easily be done by putting amendments such as sphagnum peat to raise the pH level.
Choose the Best Lighting
Cyclamens prefer bright, indirect light. In the winter, the plant is actively growing while the plant appears to have its dormant period during the summer.
Cyclamen plants can tolerate sun or partial shade, but they also need protection from hot sun exposure in the afternoons, especially during dry summers.
For indoor cyclamen, it’s best to keep the plant in a cool location with rather good air circulation.
Just the Right Amount of Water
In caring for your hardy cyclamen, be sure to provide just enough water. It’s recommended to only water them when the soil is dry to the touch. However, it is also important not to leave them dry for so long for they may become dehydrated.
If you notice your cyclamens having droopy leaves and close to wilting blooms, do not panic just yet! Know that you can easily revamp the plant by adding in just enough moisture and by making sure that you drain away that excess water.
Temperature & Humidity
When growing cyclamens indoors, it’s important to know the current temperature level that your home can provide as these plants prefer cooler environments. Exposure to high temperatures will eventually cause the foliage to turn yellow, and later on, fade rapidly.
However, they cannot tolerate temperatures below 40°F (4oC). The ideal temperature range is 55-70°F (13 to 21oC).
Cyclamen plants also prefer moderate humidity. In cooler months, when the air seems dry, you may opt to use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. In very hot and humid environments, however, be sure to monitor the plant from time to time.
Fertilizer is a crucial topic for a complete cyclamen care guide. They are not heavy feeders hence it is recommended to fertilize them only once every 1-2 months using water-soluble fertilizer mixed only at half strength. Generally, a complete houseplant fertilizer of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 will do.
To promote and prolong cyclamen blooms, feed the plants with fertilizers high in phosphorus, like 4-20-4. Yet, it’s important to remember that everything must be in moderation and this is particularly true for plants. Hence, too much fertilizer is a no-no as it can affect their ability to rebloom and develop flowers.
Propagation of Cyclamens
Cyclamens can ideally be reproduced via tubers. Begin by lifting the tuber from the soil and dividing it into fair sizes. Replant the pieces at about 2 inches of the soil on a new pot to encourage root formation before the cold season arises.
If you wish to grow them by seeds, sow them in late summer through fall. Yet most gardeners would agree that growing cyclamen from seeds can be difficult as they are slow to germinate. Also, propagating the plant using delicate tubers may be inefficient as they can easily rot.
It’s best to buy an established plant and watch it thrive, especially if it will be grown indoors.
Most cyclamen species are hardy to USDA Zone 5 to 7 and can thrive indoors as well.
Hardy cyclamens are moderately drought tolerant and do best in rich and well-draining soil high in organic matter. They prefer areas with fair humid levels and shade, making them a perfect accompaniment among trees and shrubs.
Potting and Pruning
For normal cyclamen care growth, it is important to thin them out from time to time by removing dead foliage and yellowing leaves. Begin by clipping them close to the base of the plant while also clearing out some debris from pruning to keep them sanitized and vibrant.
Once they have flowered, you may remove the deadheads from the plants to promote further blooms. Gently hold the base of each flower stem and firmly twist it to pull the stems further from the crown.
Taking away spent flowers and shriveled leaves may keep away bad organisms and fungus that may later affect the plants.
Cyclamen Plant Varieties and Similar Plants
Let’s take a look at these other stunning new hybrids to widen your options and tune up your imagination!
Hardy in USDA zone 6. This variety is also known as the eastern cyclamen or round-leaved cyclamen. Characterized by its deep green and hear-shaped foliages that have silver and gay undertones. It also flaunts pinkish to off-white flowers.
Cyclamen coum can grow at about 10 cm in height and 2.5 cm in width. It can tolerate dry conditions and grows optimum at well-draining soil.
Similar to the above variety, this cyclamen species also has white to soft pink dainty flowers that come with a refreshing lily scent. Its triangular leaves have greyish-green margins that grow up to 4-12 cm long.
Cyclamen Creticum grows best in a slightly wet environment and flowers around February to May.
As the name implies, this plant species was traced in Lebanon after it was assumed to be extinct. The blooming season is March and is hardy at USDA Zone 8.
Fertile soil with humus is ideal for the growth of this plan, and the soil must be cultivated at least 10 to 15 cm deep. This dwarf variety would certainly look in borders and as an accompaniment plant.
Cyclamen Plant Diseases & Pests
Bacterial soft rot is a common nemesis of most cyclamen species. The visible symptoms are yellowing of the leaves, rotting of the tuber surface, and the whole plant’s rapid decline.
Another is the Botrytis blight, by which the affected leaves have tan spots or brown patches, flower petal spots, infected crowns, petioles, and flowers showing signs of early fungal growth. Wet soil and inadequate air circulation are the primary cause of this infection.
Regular trimming down of the plant may prevent a disease-prone environment, also by making sure that the leaves are not soaking wet whenever the plant is being watered.
Applying fungicide and pesticide in moderation also proved to be beneficial in protecting the delicate foliages and new growth structures.
Frequently Asked Questions
The blooming period of cyclamens usually occurs around March or April, after that, expect the plant to naturally die back and proceed to its dormant state. The dormant period usually occurs in the summer.
After the blooming period, the plant leaves start showing signs of senescence. They fall out and may eventually dry out. Accommodate this phase by not watering the plant and by removing dead foliages. Place them in a cool dark spot for at least two months.
Most of the cyclamen that we see are perennials in nature. This is because the plant can develop a tuber. Hence, the cyclamen tubers may be expected to come back every year as long as the ideal growing environment is provided.