Cyclamen are tuberous perennials from Europe, Iran, and some Mediterranean countries. With their petite but vibrant blooms, these plants make an excellent addition to your indoor aesthetic.
However, caring for these plants is pretty challenging. Despite their striking appearance, these plants often wilt or display a saggy appearance due to diseases and mishandling.
In fact, cyclamen drooping is a frequently occurring problem.
Cyclamen becomes droopy due to watering issues, temperature changes, and disease infestations. Since cyclamen go through a dormancy phase, the plant could appear to be dying during its inactive period, too.
Given that fact, knowing the signs to watch out for is essential in identifying whether the root cause of this phenomenon is due to natural processes or improper care.
Cyclamen are long-lived plants that can survive for dozens of years as long as the right living conditions are met. That said, their sudden dying appearance is a telltale sign that you need to adjust your care.
Apart from its droopy appearance, here are other signs and symptoms you should look out for:
Cyclamen flowers display vibrant shades of pink, red, and violet, but some variants feature a classic white color. They look like tiny butterflies sitting on top of slender stems.
When you notice their color lightening, there could be problems associated with temperature fluctuations.
That said, colored cyclamen variants like C. persicum flowers may experience lightening or loss of color, and blooms will eventually wither and fall off.
Cyclamen have round or heart-shaped bright green leaves, sometimes with light green to white speckled patterns.
These leaves will start to curl or become saggy once they suffer from extreme heat, too much light, or water issues.
In addition to leaves sagging, they may also turn yellowish or brown and sometimes detach from the plant.
Cyclamen stems are usually long, straight, thin, and upright. However, their stems can get mushy and collapse to the surface because of insufficient care, which I’ll further detail in the next section.
Here are the most common causes of droopy cyclamen:
Once cyclamen go dormant, these plants could appear dead—but don’t toss them away yet. These plants will reawaken after a few weeks to three months, usually when fall approaches.
However, it’s not the same case for all cyclamen. Some cyclamen may not go through a dormancy phase, and it’s totally normal.
Given that fact, it’s vital to tell the difference between dying and dormant cyclamen, as dormant ones require special handling and care.
Since cyclamen shows symptoms of a usual dying plant when approaching its dormant phase, it’s important to note the month it starts to show wilting or drooping.
That said, the plant is likely to show these signs after it finishes flowering. This usually happens around summer to late spring, when temperatures rise.
Another symptom is if the plant is losing most or all of its leaves.
Cyclamen love moisture, but too much or too little can cause them to wilt. Therefore, only water the cyclamen when the upper portion of its soil completely dries out.
Unlike other perennials, cyclamen thrive best in cool temperatures with high humidity. Too high or too low temperatures can lead to stress, causing them to droop.
Cyclamen thrive best with filtered sunlight, so exposure to direct sunlight for more than six hours can burn their leaves and cause them to die.
Scorching and dry climate isn’t favorable for these plants, not to mention that sudden changes in humidity levels can stress them out too. As a result, the cyclamen’s foliage will curl and dry out.
Using humidifiers is one way to maintain a consistently humid environment for these plants.
Crown rot is one of the culprits of cyclamen drooping. Also known as southern blight, a fungus called Phytophthora causes this plant disease.
Some factors that encourage fungal infestation are high temperatures (exceeding 70°F), improper watering methods, and increased humidity.
Meanwhile, when your cyclamen suffers from crown rot, it shows signs of withering, with stems sagging and leaves losing pigment. Sometimes, there are brown patches visible on the leaves.
On the other hand, mite infestations are significant causes of cyclamen drooping, too. Leaves of mite-affected cyclamen appear wrinkly and compact.
When the cyclamen plant droops with some parts starting to wither, it’s essential to cut off the dying parts to promote new growth.
Here’s what I do to help my cyclamen recover after they become droopy:
Unfortunately, there’s no way to revive fading or wilting flowers and leaves, so the best solution is to cut them off to encourage new growth.
To remove or pluck out dying cyclamen flowers or leaves, cut them from the stem’s base with disinfected pruning shears.
If the plant shows symptoms of fungal or mite infestation, immediately remove affected stems or leaves and treat the plant with organic fungicides or insecticidal soap.
Neem oil is an excellent remedy that’s safe to use indoors.
It’s also best to isolate affected cyclamen from other plants to prevent disease spread.
At the same time, follow up with proper care to encourage revival and prevent drooping problems from reoccurring.
Sustaining our cyclamen’s growth requirements and living conditions is crucial in preventing drooping.
Here are some care tips to follow in keeping your plants in optimal condition:
Mulching is beneficial for outdoor or hardy cyclamen variants.
Layering wood chip mulch over the soil will prevent weed growth, promote air circulation, and improve moisture retention.
Only water cyclamen when the upper layer of the soil (about an inch from the surface) is completely dry.
To water the plant, avoid overhead watering or getting the leaves and crown wet to avoid rots.
Instead, place the potted plant on a tray or saucer and pour the water into the tray. That way, the root system will directly soak the water through the pot’s draining holes.
Water the plant until the soil is moist, and don’t forget to drain the excess water.
Cyclamen prefer slightly acidic and well-draining soil.
A loamy soil that performs well in retaining moisture is the ideal choice, but a regular potting mix will do.
When grown indoors, place the plant in a well-lit room, but avoid exposing it to direct harsh sunlight.
In my case, I display my plant by a window with a sheer curtain so it receives indirect sunshine throughout the day.
Regarding temperature requirements, cyclamen thrive best in temperatures between 40 to 70°F.
Nourish the plant with compost and avoid fertilizing during the dormant phase to encourage healthy growth. A low-nitrogen fertilizer works well, too.
Cyclamen love moderately humid environments. Humidity levels above 50% are most preferred.
Here are some quick tips to ensure your cyclamen flourishes even during its inactive phase:
- Remove the tuber from the soil and place it in dry vermiculite.
- Repot the tuber with its upper half peeking through the soil surface after the dormancy period.
- Avoid watering the cyclamen while dormant. Resume watering after replanting, and new leaves sprout.
Cyclamen drooping can be due to improper care methods, diseases, and dormancy. When this happens, cyclamen leaves and flowers may also lose pigment and wilt.
To revive cyclamen, cut off the sagging flowers or leaves clean from the stem’s base and treat the plant accordingly if plant disease is the cause.
Following up with proper watering methods, fertilizing, and filtered sunlight exposure will help the plant recover fast as well.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.