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Cyclamen Care Guide: Simple Steps to Keep Your Plant Thriving

Cyclamen Care Guide: Simple Steps to Keep Your Plant Thriving

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Whether you plan to keep them for one season or several years, you need to learn the optimal way for cyclamen care.

Not only will following the proper caring tips make the plant flowers look more exquisite, but it can also extend their lifespan.

In this post, I’ll guide you on providing your cyclamen plants with the best care to make them thrive.

An Overview of Cyclamen Plants

Before delving into how to take care of your cyclamen, let me provide you with a quick overview of this wonderful plant.

Cyclamen is a small flowering plant that grows exquisite blooms with sweet scents. The plant is a tuberous perennial too.

It goes through a dormancy period during the summer and then starts to rebloom by the start of fall.

This plant produces green heart-shaped leaves. It also has flowers that feature a variety of shades, including red, purple, pink, and white.

Nonetheless, it’s worth mentioning that cyclamen is toxic to humans and pets. So, you need to keep them away from your children and pets.

Common Types of Cyclamen

There are a variety of cyclamen species, each providing distinct, beautiful appearances.

Generally, you should purchase your cyclamen plants during their blooming phase in winter so you can know how they’ll look.

Here are the most common varieties of the plant:

  • Cyclamen persicum
  • Cyclamen alpinum
  • Cyclamen coum
  • Cyclamen hederifolium
  • Cyclamen mirabile

Are Cyclamen Plants Easy to Grow?

Cyclamen plants are easy to grow as they’re low-maintenance.

However, many people don’t provide these plants the optimal care to rebloom when they’re dormant.

That’s because a lot of cyclamen keepers treat them as temporary plants and dispose of them after the blooming period.

How to Care for Your Indoor Cyclamen

Plant keepers usually cultivate cyclamen in pots indoors. This plant goes dormant during the entire summer due to warm temperatures.

Still, if you care for it during the dormancy, it’ll start reblooming in the fall.

Given that, here are the caring requirements of this plant:

Soil

You need to grow your cyclamen in well-drained, organically rich soil. The soil also needs to be slightly acidic.

So, when you keep it in a pot, you should use a regular potting mix. In addition, you need to incorporate some sphagnum peat into the potting mix to increase its acidity level.

Humidity and Temperatures

Cyclamen plants thrive in temperatures ranging from 60 to 70°F during the day and from 40 to 50°F at night.

They don’t prefer drafts or dry air. Similarly, if you keep them in a warm room, you’ll notice their leaves quickly turning yellow.

These plants prefer high humidity too, especially during their growth season in winter. Given that, you may need to raise the humidity around them if its level in your area is low.

To achieve this, place cyclamen pots on a tray filled with pebbles and water.

That said, ensure that the pots aren’t in direct contact with water. This is to avoid causing the plants’ roots to rot.

Moreover, if you keep your potted cyclamen plants outdoors during the summer, you’ll need to move them indoors when winter is approaching.

Make sure to bring them inside before the weather becomes too cold.

Water

You need to water the cyclamen plants during their active growth phase once you find the top one inch of the soil is dry.

However, make sure to test the soil’s wetness before watering the plants. This is because overwatering is one of the most common reasons for killing cyclamen.

In addition, avoid spraying water on the plant’s stems and leaves while watering. If you do so, you increase the likelihood of these parts rotting.

To avoid this issue, I recommend not watering the plants using a watering can.

Instead, place the pots in a shallow water bowl until you notice that the compost is thoroughly moist. At this point, move them from the bowl and drain away any excess water.

On the other hand, when the plant is in the dormant phase during summer, you only need to water it every once in a while. This is just to prevent its soil from drying out completely.

Light Conditions

Cyclamen thrive in bright yet indirect light during its active growing season in winter.

That said, you should place it in a dark, cool spot when it’s dormant in the summer. You also need to ensure that its location has good air circulation.

Fertilizers

Cyclamen plants don’t require a lot of fertilizing. Constantly feeding them will produce high amounts of foliage instead of flowers.

That way, you’ll only need to provide your cyclamen plants with diluted low-nitrogen fertilizer every three to four weeks during its blooming phase in winter.

Nonetheless, these plants don’t require fertilizing while in dormancy.

Pruning

Cyclamen is one of the simplest plants to prune. Their pruning process only involves removing yellow leaves.

In addition, you may also pluck off seed heads and fading flowers to help extend the plants’ blooming period.

How to Care for Cyclamen Outdoors

Most cyclamen species are known for being indoor plants. Nevertheless, a few varieties, including Cyclamen hederifolium, are used for outdoor gardens and landscapes.

Like indoor cyclamen, outdoor species are also low-maintenance, so you won’t have a hard time caring for them. You can follow all the instructions mentioned above to care for them.

Besides those instructions, here are a few tips to apply when keeping outdoor cyclamen:

  • Ensure the plants receive indirect sunlight and limit the direct light as much as possible.
  • Provide them with well-drained, humus-rich soil to prevent root rot issues.
  • I recommend incorporating organic material into the soil. This material can be leaf mulch or compost.
  • Spread a thin layer of organic mulch around the plants to protect the roots during extreme cold. However, avoid smothering them by spreading too much mulch.
  • You’ll need to protect the plants’ blooms during heavy frosts using a garden fleece. Extreme frost probably won’t kill the plants, yet it can damage the flowers.
  • Despite their soil being highly sensitive to overwatering, you need to avoid letting it completely dry out.

Potting and Repotting: Cyclamen Care in Pots

To grow potted cyclamen plants, choose pots that provide them with at least about one inch of space around their tuber.

When planting the tuber, place it in a position where only a tiny part of its top is out of the potting mix.

Every two years, you’ll need to repot your cyclamen plants. You should do this during the summer when they’re dormant.

To repot them, prepare a fresh potting mix and follow these steps:

1 – Remove the Tuber from the Old Container

Remove the tuber from the original container and brush off all the old soil. Avoid rinsing it, as this can negatively impact the plant.

2 – Plant the Tuber in the New Container

Fill a portion of the selected pots with the potting mix. Plant the tuber in the new container and make sure to leave around two inches between the rim and the top of the plant.

3 – Keep Caring for the Plants

Keep the container in a dry, shady place until the end of the summer. Then, begin to water the plants and provide them with regular care by the beginning of September.

How to Get Cyclamen to Rebloom

Many people treat cyclamen plants as annuals and get rid of them after their blooming period.

However, you can keep these plants for several years, and they’ll bloom every winter if you take care of them.

To get your cyclamen plants to rebloom, dispose of dead flowers by cutting them off at the base. You should do the same for yellowing leaves.

In addition, avoid providing the plants with too much water when they’re dormant during the summer.

By following these instructions, you’ll have cyclamen plants that rebloom every winter for several years.

How to Propagate Cyclamen Plants

The process of propagating cyclamen plants can be highly challenging. This is because their stem cuttings are hard to root.

In addition, the varieties of these plants are usually hybrids, so they don’t yield fertile seeds.

Still, there’s a chance you may succeed in propagating them.

To propagate these plants, you’ll need to divide their corm-like tuberous roots. When doing so, be careful to ensure the viability of the roots.

Here are the steps to follow:

1 – Remove the Stems

The first thing you should do is remove the plant from the pot and cut off its stems. You need to do this during summer while the plant is dormant.

2 – Look for Growth Eyes

If you find offsets on the corm-like tuber, you’ll need to carefully move these offsets away from the main plant’s root.

In case the tuber doesn’t contain offsets, however, search for growth eyes. Cut the tuber into multiple pieces. Each should have one growth eye.

3 – Plant the Cuttings

Cultivate the pieces you’ve extracted in a high-quality peat-based potting mix. Place each piece so its top is barely noticeable in the potting mix.

4 – Care for the Cuttings

Slightly moisten the potting mix and place the pots in a shady and dry place.

Move these pots to a bright location in the following fall. At this point, water them on a weekly basis to stimulate their growth.

How to Grow Cyclamen from Seeds

As mentioned above, cyclamen plants rarely yield viable seeds as they’re mostly hybrid. However, there’s still a chance, even if it’s low, to succeed in growing cyclamen from seeds.

To try this out, pick seed buds that emerge after the plants’ flowers fade. Break these seeds open and cultivate them in pots containing a potting mix and compost blend.

Cover the seeds with a thin layer of the potting mix and the compost. Then, moisten them lightly.

Afterward, keep the pots in a dark, cool spot until the seeds sprout. This can take anywhere between one to two months.

When the seeds sprout, move the pots to a bright place with indirect sunlight. Keep lightly moistening the seeds until they grow into mature plants.

However, the seeds can take up to two years to develop reliable roots that produce sustainable flowering. So, you need to be patient.

Troubleshooting Common Cyclamen Issues

By now, you know the caring requirements of cyclamen plants.

However, no matter how good you are at implementing these caring tips, there’s always a chance your plants may run into issues.

Here are the most common problems your cyclamen may encounter and their main causes:

Yellowing Leaves in Winter and Fall

If you notice your cyclamen plants’ leaves turning yellow during fall and winter, there’s a high probability that you’re keeping them at a warm temperature.

This also can indicate overwatering or exposure to sunlight for an extended period.

To avoid this issue, keep your plants in cool temperatures and care for them according to the recommendations above.

Poor Flowering

If your cyclamen plants experience poor flowering during winter and fall, you probably keep them in a room with too warm temperatures. In this case, move them to a cooler place.

Collapsed Cyclamen

If the center of the cyclamen plant turns mushy and brown and starts to collapse, this is an indication of overwatering.

This problem also might occur as a result of splashing water on the stems and leaves of the plant.

In addition, a pest called vine weevil larvae can contribute to the issue of collapsing cyclamen plants. That’s because this pest can eat the roots of plants.

Gray Mold on the Flowers or Stems

One of the issues splashing water on the leaves and stems of cyclamen plants can cause is the formation of gray mold.

When the center of the plant is moist or receives insufficient air circulation, a fungus called Botrytis starts to form the gray mold. This mold will usually develop on the flowers and the plant’s stems.

You should promptly remove and dispose of all affected parts to protect the entire plant from dying.

In addition, you need to move the plants to a place with good air circulation and avoid spraying them with water to prevent this problem in the future.

Spider Mites

Cyclamen plants are susceptible to mites that usually appear on leaves and stems. These pests can lead to curled, discolored, and deformed leaves.

This issue develops when the humidity of the plant’s environment is too low.

When these pests invade your plants, you can spot them with the naked eye because of their telltale whitish webbing.

Although these pests are hard to get rid of, avoiding them is pretty simple. You can protect your cyclamen plants from these mites’ invasions by keeping them in a well-humidified environment.

Tuber Rot

Bacteria called Erwinia can lead to the formation of soft rot on your cyclamen plants.

When this happens, plants start to become yellow, and their leaves begin to wilt. The soft rot will end up causing the tuber to rot completely.

This bacterial disease usually develops due to planting the tuber too deeply. Too moist potting mixes or hot temperatures can also contribute to this issue.

Unfortunately, treating plants that develop this type of bacteria is highly challenging.

So, when you experience this problem, I recommend you promptly dispose of the affected plant to prevent the disease from spreading to all the surrounding plants.

Final Thoughts

Having read this guide, you now know all about cyclamen care requirements.

These plants can thrive for several years with minimal care, producing eye-catching blooming flowers every winter. So, they can be a lovely addition to your holiday season decorations.

Whenever you need guidance taking care of your cyclamen plants, you can refer to this guide for help.

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