Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) is a petite flowering plant that has sweet-scented, small blooms on long stems that stretch up above the foliage. It is a tuberous perennial, meaning it dies down to its thick roots (tubers) during its summer dormancy period and then regrows quickly each fall. Flowers come in shades of pink, purple, red, and white. The heart-shaped leaves are medium green, often with silver marbling. It’s commonly grown as a houseplant and is especially popular during the winter holiday season when you can find cyclamen blooming on shelves in garden centers and grocery stores. Seeds can be planted in late summer for blooms in the subsequent year’s winter (roughly 18 months later). Cyclamen is toxic to both animals1 and humans.
Taking care of a cyclamen
Taking care of a cyclamen properly is essential if you wish to keep your cyclamen plant lasting year after year. Their vibrant flowers and interesting leaves make this plant a popular houseplant. Let’s look at how to take care of cyclamen plants both during and after blooming.
Basic Cyclamen Plant Care
Cyclamen care starts with the correct temperature. In nature, cyclamens grow in cool, humid environments. If the temperature of your house is over 20 degrees Celsius during the day and 10 degrees Celsius at night, your cyclamen will start to die slowly. Temperatures that are too high will cause the plant to begin to yellow, and the flowers will fade rapidly.
The next essential part of taking care of a cyclamen is to make sure that it’s properly watered. Cyclamen are sensitive to both over and under watering. Make sure the plant has excellent drainage with a potting medium that holds water well. Water your cyclamen plant only when the soil is dry to the touch, but do not leave the plant in this dry state so long that it shows visible signs of not being watered, such as droopy leaves and flowers.
When you water the plant, water from below the leaves so that the water doesn’t touch the stems or leaves. Water on the stems and leaves can cause them to rot. Soak the soil thoroughly and let any excess water drain away.
The next part of cyclamen plant care is fertilizer. Only fertilize once every one to two months with water soluble fertilizer mixed at half strength. When cyclamen get too much fertilizer, it can affect their ability to rebloom.
Cyclamen Care After Blooming
After a cyclamen blooms, it will go into a dormant state. Going into a dormant state looks very much like the plant is dying, as the leaves will turn yellow and fall off. It isn’t dead, just sleeping.
With proper cyclamen plant care, you can help it through its dormancy and it will rebloom in a few months. Please note that hardy cyclamen planted outdoors will go through this process naturally and do not need extra care to rebloom.
When taking care of a cyclamen after blooming, allow the leaves to die and stop watering the plant once you see the signs that the leaves are dying. Place the plant in a cool, somewhat dark place. You can remove any dead foliage, if you would like. Let sit for two months.
Taking Care of a Cyclamen to Get it to Rebloom
Once a cyclamen has finished its dormant period, you can start to water it again and bring it out of storage. You may see some leaf growth, and this is okay. Make sure to completely soak the soil. You may want to set the pot in a tub of water for an hour or so, then make sure any excess water drains away.
Check the cyclamen tuber and make sure that the tuber has not outgrown the pot. If the tuber seems crowded, repot the cyclamen to a larger pot.
Once the leaves start to grow, resume normal cyclamen care and the plant should rebloom shortly.
Proper pruning of cyclamen involves simply removing yellowing, dead leaves as they appear. Fading flowers and seeds heads can also be plucked off, which may extend the blooming period.
Greek name: Κυκλάμινο.