Cyclamen is a genus of perennial plants that belong to the Primulaceae family. Although it comes in a variety of species, a common factor between them is the beautiful flowers they bloom.
These flowers are among the main reasons they’re used as ornamental houseplants. However, getting these plants to bloom can be quite tricky, as it requires various conditions to flower, and that’s where this guide comes in handy!
Today, I’ll walk you through a complete Cyclamen flowering guide in addition to the flower properties and what you should do with them. Let’s jump right in!
As previously established, Cyclamen is a full genus of flowers, which contains over 20 different species and varieties of the flowering plant.
Each one of those species has its unique flowers, which mainly vary in terms of colors, but still have plenty in common. This range of colors includes pink, red, white, purple, and orange as well as bicolored varieties.
Most cyclamen flowers are fairly small to medium in size, with the average flower measuring around 2 to 4 inches in diameter.
One characteristic aspect of all cyclamen flowers is that they rise above the rest of the dark foliage through slender stems.
The flowers have delicate petals, which are joined at the bottom through a tube-shaped or flat base.
The petals can vary in shape between ruffled and plain, depending on the species and the variety.
Cyclamen flowers typically have a unique scent, which is often described as floral and sweet, with a slight note of spiciness.
Florists find the scent of Cyclamens fairly close to lilies of the valley and roses but with a hint of pepper.
The essential oils from the cyclamens are also used in the perfume industry to add a brightly sweet element to the final scent.
The majority of people enjoy the fragrant scent of cyclamen, although a few might find it a bit irritating.
That being said, not all cyclamen flowers are highly fragrant. For instance, the cyclamen species with the most noticeable scent are pure species like the Cyclamen purpurascens (Cilician Cyclamen) and the Cyclamen persicum (Persian Cyclamen).
On the other hand, many modern varieties of the flower are bred for size and color, so the fragrance is sometimes sacrificed.
Cyclamens have a unique flowering cycle, as the plant is a popular winter bloomer, although many species also extend their flowering season to early spring when temperatures are still relatively low.
This is mainly because the plant is a tuberous perennial, which means that the plant has alternating dormancy and growth periods every year, depending on the weather conditions.
The plant is originally native to a variety of locations, but most species hail from Europe (especially the Mediterranean region), Iran, and Somalia.
The summers in these regions are too hot and dry for the cyclamen to grow properly. For that reason, the plant goes dormant throughout the summer and regrows quickly when the fall starts.
As winter approaches, the weather becomes cool and damp enough for the delicate flower to bloom and withstand the weather.
While Cyclamen’s flowering seasons usually extend from December to early March, some varieties might have a unique blooming season.
For example, the Cyclamen hederifolium, also known as the Ivy-Leaved Cyclamen, blooms in the fall rather than winter.
Cyclamens are quite delicate, so their blooms rarely last long. In optimal conditions, you should expect the flowers to bloom for around 5 to 7 weeks, with some species staying in bloom for up to 3 months.
The good news is that the plants will bloom both indoors and outdoors for the same period, as long as you keep them in a relatively cool and bright corner of the room.
The short answer to this question is yes, Cyclamens will come back every year because they’re tuberous perennial plants. This means that the plant produces a thick tuber beneath the soil.
The function of this tuber is to store water, food, and other necessary resources for survival during periods of drought and harsh weather.
This period usually extends throughout the summer when the plant naturally goes into a dormancy period.
During that time, the flower stems will droop and the leaves will discolor, so the plant looks like it’s dead. However, with proper care, cyclamens will quickly come back to life in the fall.
After the flowering season ends, the plant will naturally go into its dormant period. During that time, you’ll need to cut back watering to allow the flowers and leaves to fade and wither.
Besides reduced watering, you’ll also need to fertilize the plant less often and trim any remaining leaves and flowers to prevent them from using the resources stored in the tuber.
You should also avoid fertilizing the plant completely during that period because feeding the plant during dormancy can disrupt its natural cycle and result in weak blooms next winter.
As the plant hits full dormancy mode, you should transfer it to a cool and dry spot, preferably with little light.
Some people may transfer the plant outside if the temperature is suitable enough, but make sure that you keep the plant out of rain or direct sunlight.
Removing wilted and spent blooms of the Cyclamen is one of the best ways to encourage the plant to produce more vibrant flowers after a dormancy period.
The advantage of deadheading is that it redirects the plant’s resources towards healthier flowers and leaves.
To deadhead a cyclamen, simply pinch off the spent flowers at the stem’s base. You can also use shears or sharp knives to cut them off.
The main cause of Cyclamen flowering in summer is the disruption of the natural cycle of the plant. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
- The temperature where you keep the plant is low enough to trick the plant into thinking it’s winter already
- Feeding the plant with intense fertilizers
- Watering the plant frequently
While it might be tempting to have a year-round blooming Cyclamen, disrupting the plant’s cycle will affect the quality of its foliage and flowers in the long run, so you should avoid it.
It’s generally advised that you avoid eating Cyclamen flowers because they can cause a variety of negative side effects.
According to WebMD, ingesting as little as 300 mg of Cyclamen flowers by mouth can cause severe stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
That being said, some Mediterranean cuisines use the leaves of some Cyclamen species in food, but then again, you should avoid eating any parts of the plant and seek medical help if you feel any negative symptoms after eating it.
This wraps it up for today’s Cyclamen flowering guide. As you can see, this unique plant blooms in winter and stays dormant throughout the summer.
While the plant might seem withered and weakened while dormant, you shouldn’t worry about it, as long as you’re providing your plant with proper care.
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.