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Peak Winter Blooms: Unraveling the Cyclamen’s Beautiful Life Cycle

Peak Winter Blooms: Unraveling the Cyclamen’s Beautiful Life Cycle

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Because of its strange but beautiful life cycle, the cyclamen is one of the most popular plants in winter. You’ll find it in florist shops, garden centers, and even grocery stores at around the coldest time of the year, alongside other holiday favorites like poinsettia and Christmas cactus.

The reason behind this is that during the colder months, when most plants are dormant, cyclamen are surprisingly in peak bloom, with their heart-shaped leaves and sweet-scented pink, purple, white, and red flowers in full display.

If you’re curious to know how the cyclamen life cycle works and would like to find out how to keep these cold-loving beauties blooming year after year, this guide is for you. Keep on reading!

All About the Cyclamen Life Cycle

Cyclamen is a flowering herbaceous plant that grows out of a tuber. As a perennial, it lives for more than two years and can even survive for decades!

Many cyclamen species are native to the Mediterranean, where they grow in rocky areas with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.

Cyclamen have an opposite growing season compared to other plants! Most of them sprout leaves in the fall, grow and bloom in the winter, start to wither in the spring, and go dormant in the summer to protect themselves from the drought and heat.

The cyclamen life cycle involves several stages. It begins with a dormant cyclamen seed, which germinates into a seedling and grows until maturity, where it eventually flowers and spreads seeds.

Cyclamen Seeds and Germination

Cyclamen seeds come from small pods that have 5 to 7 chambers filled with anywhere from 5 to 50 sticky seeds. Mature seed pods dry up and split open, releasing the seeds.

To germinate, seeds need the right conditions, such as slightly acidic and well-draining soil, sufficient moisture, a temperature of 55° to 60°F, and total darkness. Depending on the cyclamen variety, germination can take two months to a year, so patience is a must-have!

Cyclamen Seedlings and Maturity

After successful germination, tiny green shoots and an initial root system will emerge from tiny tubers. You can transfer the seedlings from a tray into individual pots when they have developed two to three fleshy leaves.

As they grow, the cyclamen’s signature heart-shaped leaves and colorful flowers will appear. Adult cyclamen reach three heights: 6 inches or less for miniatures, 7 to 11 inches for intermediates, and 12 inches for standard cyclamen plants.

Cyclamen Blooming Season

When a cyclamen blooms, it’s a sight to behold! The plant sprouts lush leaves and blooms bright pink, red, lavender, and white flowers with attractive petals that curve backward, waiting for bees to pollinate them.

This flowering season naturally takes place in the fall or winter when the weather turns cool and damp. With proper care and the right conditions, flowering will last for 5 to 8 weeks until spring.

To lengthen the blooming period, keep temperatures between 50° and 60°F, provide lots of indirect sunshine, maintain soil moisture with room-temperature water, and fertilize with a diluted solution every two weeks.

Cyclamen Dormant Season

After the blooming season, when the weather turns hot and dry, the cyclamen’s flowers begin to fade and fall, and their lush leaves slowly turn yellow and die. It’s also during this time when the cyclamen seed pods ripen and open.

This dry, dormant, and resting season usually occurs during the late spring or early summer and lasts around 6 to 8 weeks.

Many plant owners make the mistake of discarding their cyclamen once it has reached this stage, thinking that the plant is dead. Little do they know, their cyclamen has just entered its normal dormant season and, with proper care, will bloom again at the end of this period!

Cyclamen Care During Dormancy

Caring for a dormant cyclamen involves reducing your watering, as its tuber is sensitive to excess moisture and may rot. A healthy tuber will remain firm and plump while the plant rests.

Keep your plant in a cool, dark location, at around 45° to 50°F. The end of a cyclamen’s dormant season usually comes in the mid to late summer—at this point, you can give your plant a good soaking to encourage regrowth!

If your plant has gotten too big for its container, an ideal time to repot would be at the end of its dormant season. Plant the tuber in a new container with fresh potting soil, keeping the top slightly above the surface.

Maintain moist but not wet soil for your regrowing cyclamen plant by regular watering, and ensure it receives plenty of bright, indirect light. Leaves and flower buds will soon make an appearance during the fall or winter, so get ready to welcome beautiful blooms once again!

Do Cyclamen Come Back Every Year?

Yes, cyclamen are perennial plants that grow back every year when given the proper care and favorable conditions indoors and outdoors. In their native Mediterranean habitat, these plants follow annual blooming and dormant seasons.

To ensure that your cyclamen plant blooms again after its dormancy, provide a cool temperature, dim light, and mostly dry soil to protect its tuber from rotting. You can drizzle water occasionally to prevent the soil from completely drying out—remove dead foliage, too.

When fall comes, and your cyclamen starts showing signs of life, you can encourage new growth by moving your plant to a brighter location and giving it a good soak. Maintain a cool temperature of 50° to 60°F for better chances of flowering, and fertilize periodically.

Final Thoughts

Cyclamen plants are full of surprises. Unlike most plants that are inactive during the cold months, cyclamen are at their prettiest peak flowering season in winter.

When cyclamen blossoms fade and leaves fall, this fascinating plant can look like it’s dead. But it’ll surprise you once again in the fall when fresh flowers and foliage reemerge!

Now that you’re aware of the cyclamen life cycle, all that’s left to do is take care of your plant, and enjoy its returning blossoms year after year.

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