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Soil-Free Cyclamens – Too Good to Be True or the Real Deal?

Soil-Free Cyclamens – Too Good to Be True or the Real Deal?

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With their delicate blossoms and great resilience, cyclamens can decorate your garden for decades. The only problem is that these species are susceptible to soil pests like aphids.

To avoid this hassle, you might wonder: can you grow cyclamen in water?

Although possible, I generally don’t recommend growing these plants in water for a long time.

Continue reading this article to learn about cyclamen water propagation methods and how to care for them!

Can You Grow Cyclamen in Water?

Generally, yes. You can grow cyclamen in water. These systems are known as hydroponics.

The technique involves propagating plants in a nutrient-rich solution without soil. However, occasionally, people add a substrate like vermiculite or coconut coir to provide support.

Among the primary advantages of this method is that it reduces the risk of soil-borne diseases.

Although cyclamens can grow in water, this method isn’t as efficient as soil in the long run. Why?

Well, that’s because hydroponic plants only last a few months or years. Compared to the 100-year lifespan of soil growth, planting cyclamens in the pot is highly recommended.

How to Propagate Cyclamen in Water

Although it’s best to grow cyclamen in soil, directly sowing its seeds can be counterproductive.

You see, these plants are mostly winter bloomers. So, it’s best to plant them in the fall.

The problem is that placing the seeds too early can cause heat damage in the summer. To tackle this issue, you can propagate the plants in water before transplanting them into garden soil.

Seed propagation is the only method that works when placed in water. Although tuber cuttings are a better technique for cyclamen, they don’t root in a water medium.

The good news is that seed propagation is pretty simple. You’ll only need a clean jar and water. Once you have that on hand, soak the seed for around 24 hours or until it sprouts.

Afterward, place the propagule into a potting mix. Provide indirect, bright light and frequent watering, and watch the seed turn into a young plant.

How to Transplant Cyclamen to Soil?

After the plants sprout, you need to transfer them into a potting mix, provide optimal growth conditions, and then transplant them to the garden.

Here’s a detailed explanation of each step:

Step 1: Prepare the Potting Mix

As you might know, cyclamens thrive best in well-draining soil with rich organic matter. They also prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6-7.

You can use a regular potting mix and add some sphagnum peat to increase the acidity. Alternatively, you can make your mix from scratch.

Simply mix four parts of sphagnum peat moss and add two parts of compost. Then, add one part of vermiculite and worm casting.

Aside from the soil, make sure to feed the plants a liquid, low-nitrogen fertilizer every couple of weeks. However, that’s once they produce full leaves.

Step 2: Provide Optimal Growth Conditions

Since most cyclamen species are Mediterranean, they thrive in mild climate conditions.

Here’s a brief explanation of cyclamens’ requirements:


These plants prefer indirect, bright light in the winter when they’re active. They need around 2-6 hours during the day.

For that reason, place them near a south-, east-, or west-facing window. Just make sure they stay in a shaded area.

Water Requirments

Cyclamens love moisture. So, make sure to water them frequently during their growth period. Just test to see if the soil is dry before hydrating it to avoid clogging it.

Additionally, steer clear of watering the crown, as that can cause rot.

Temperature and Humidity

Since these plants enter dormancy in the summer, they don’t like extreme heat. Make sure to keep the surrounding temperature between 40ºF and 50ºF at night and 70ºF during the day.

Additionally, keep these plants in high humidity. To do so, put them in a tray filled with water and pebbles, making sure the pots don’t touch the water.

Step 3: Transplant Cyclamen to Soil

Once early fall comes, it’s time to transplant your cyclamen to your garden. Simply dig a hole that’s around one foot deep and one foot wide.

Test if the soil drains well by filling it with water. If it drains within 10 minutes, you’re good to go.

Now, all you have to do is remove the cyclamens from the pots, plant them in the garden, and water them regularly.

Final Thoughts

So, can you grow cyclamen in water?

While cyclamens can grow in hydroponic systems, it’s not as efficient as soil cultivation, producing plants with a shorter lifespan.

That said, water propagation is an excellent way to grow sprouts from seeds. By providing optimal conditions, you can successfully transplant cyclamens to your garden and enjoy their beauty for a long time!

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