Cyclamens are among the most popular ornamental plants, whether you want to plant them indoors or outdoors.
Their flowers have been enchanting the world for centuries with their delicate beauty and vibrant colors. For that reason, cyclamens have been associated with a variety of meanings.
Whether you are drawn to their beauty, their symbolism, or their timeless appeal, cyclamens are sure to capture the hearts and eyes of their beholders!
In this guide, I will explore the rich history and meaning of cyclamen flowers and their different colors to uncover the secrets behind their enduring popularity.
One of the best ways to better understand the meanings behind a plant is to find out more about its origins and where it got its name.
This helps you find out more about the plant and flower’s symbolism and how they affected civilizations across history.
Cyclamen is a genus of more than 20 different species of perennial flowering plants that belong to the family Primulaceae, also known as the Primrose family.
They are native to various locations, including Southern Europe, the Mediterranean Basin east to the Caucasus, and Iran, along with one species in Somalia.
The plant is prized for its showy flowers with upswept, delicate petals as well as its patterned leaves with unique variegation and silvery sheen.
The name cyclamen comes from the Latin word “cyclaminos”, which is derived from the Greek word “kyklaminos” and “kyklamis”. Both words are derived from the Greek word “kyklos”, which means “circle”.
This is likely a reference to the round shape of the cyclamen bulbous tuber, which is an underground storage organ that helps the plant survive through dormant periods during hot, dry summers.
Cyclamens have a long and rich history, dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times. They were mentioned in the writings of many historical figures, such as the Greek physician Hippocrates and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder as a remedy for various ailments.
The plant enjoyed its popularity throughout the ages and even across the Victorian era when they were often used in floral arrangements and given as gifts.
Today, cyclamens are still a popular choice for indoor plants and floral arrangements. They are also used in traditional medicine and cuisines in some cultures, although some parts of the plant are considered toxic.
Now that you know more about the origin and roots of this beautiful plant, it’s time to dive deeper into the various meanings it stands for and what they symbolize.
Since cyclamens have been around for centuries and across different cultures, the flower can have plenty of meanings depending on the cultural interpretations and impressions. Here’s a quick look at the most popular ones.
Cyclamens have been a symbol of resilience, perseverance, and hope for renewal across different ages and civilizations.
This meaning comes from the plant’s perennial tuberous nature. Despite its delicate appearance, Cyclamen is one of the most popular winter bloomers, adapted to thrive in the most challenging conditions.
Since there aren’t many plants that flower during winter, the stand-out blooming time of the flower was a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope.
For that reason, people across different civilizations see the flower as a symbol of the ability to overcome challenges and persevere through the hardest of adversities.
Cyclamens are one of the timeless symbols of true love and affection. Their delicate petals, rising above graceful stems evoke the essence of romance, passion, and devotion towards your loved ones.
The delicate petals of the flower also represent the beauty of undying love, as the flower stays in bloom for up to three months, which is longer than many other winter flowers.
Giving someone a cyclamen flower is an excellent way to express your deepest love and commitment.
People also use Cyclamens as a thoughtful gift for couples who are celebrating a special occasion, such as weddings and anniversaries.
Besides being a symbol of love and affection, the flower also has some deep spiritual meanings, as it symbolizes sincerity, empathy, and devotion to god.
For that reason, the beautiful flowers were often grown near churches, churchyards, and monasteries.
Besides Christianity, the flowers were also planted near Islamic ribats across the Mediterranean, which were a form of frontier fortresses and were seen as a symbol of pure hearts as well as spiritual growth.
Cyclamens are a popular flower choice when it comes to symbolizing innocence. This is mainly because they come in a variety of pale shades, which naturally represent purity.
Besides its soft color shades, the petals of Cyclamens are quite delicate and fragile, so must be handled with utmost care.
While all Cyclamen flowers can be used to represent innocence, people typically use white cyclamens in particular to convey this meaning.
This meaning is heavily inspired by the shape of the Cyclamen flowers, which is why it’s common across various cultures and times.
As previously established, Cyclamens have delicate upswept petals, which represent innocence and fragility.
They also hang above gracefully curved stems, which gives a sense of humility and respect, as they look like a person bowing their head in reverence.
This perfectly explains why Cyclamens are often planted near places of worship, as it symbolizes the respect and humidity required when approaching the divine.
Although there isn’t enough evidence of the safety of Cyclamens, many civilizations around the world use the flower as a remedy for some illnesses. In fact, a small-scale study shows that Cyclamens have potential anti-inflammatory properties.
For that reason, the flower is often seen as a protective talisman that can ward off negative energy and misfortune.
The beautiful Cyclamen flower comes in a variety of colors, depending on their species and varieties.
In addition to the general meanings associated with Cyclamens, each color of the flower has its unique symbolism. Let’s have a quick look at them:
Pink cyclamens are a popular symbol of gentleness, femininity, and grace. Their soft and delicate petals evoke images of budding romance and playfulness. In some cultures, they’re also associated with innocence, purity, and new beginnings.
The meaning of pink Cyclamens can vary depending on the shade of pink. Lighter shades of pink are more associated with innocence, playfulness, and motherly love while deeper shades can represent sophistication, passion, and desire.
Like most white flowers out there, white Cyclamens are a symbol of purity, innocence, and tranquility.
However, white cyclamens are also a symbol of winter, since they bloom at the end of the fall and throughout the cold months of December and January.
White cyclamens are also used in both weddings and funerals to symbolize eternity, peace, and love.
Red cyclamens are a symbol of passion and desire. They also represent courage and warmth because the winter bloomers evoke images of smoldering embers during the cold season.
You can also see cyclamens as a part of floral decorations on romantic occasions because they carry meanings of affection and unbreakable love.
Purple cyclamens are not as common as other shades, but they’re incredibly beautiful and have their unique allure, as they’re associated with royalty, luxury, and sophistication.
This is because this shade’s dye was quite rare and expensive, so it was almost exclusively used by monarchies and nobles.
They are often used in high-end floral arrangements and home decor to represent the finer things in life.
Bicolored cyclamens don’t have a special meaning on their own. Instead, they’re usually a mix of the two colors that they carry.
For instance, red and white Cyclamens are symbols of both true passion and innocence. This combination makes them ideal for wedding decorations.
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.