If there’s one flower I adore seeing throughout the cold winter days, it’ll be the cyclamen. It comes in whites, pinks, reds, and even a little bit of purple, adding spirit to an otherwise wintry blank canvas.
Over the years, cyclamen’s beauty mesmerized people, and it became the go-to option for house plants.
Of course, this led many flower aficionados and gardeners to wonder about a few things, such as cyclamen winter care.
Winter can be a harsh season for many plants, yet these seem to thrive and splash their bold colors everywhere! So, how to care for them in winter? In fact, how do you care for them in general?
It’s best you put on your gardening gloves and read on to find the answer!
There are many species of the cyclamen flower, with the most famous types going back to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.
Compared to the general characteristics of this flower, her place of origin can seem weird. How so, you might wonder?
Well, it doesn’t usually bloom or grow in spring or summer—it does the opposite.
Cyclamens thrive in cool areas where the heat can’t really get to them. Moreover, they go dormant in summer. So, if you think your flower dies every summer, you thought wrong!
It just slows down or completely stops its growth for a new rebirth come fall.
Finally, most of the cyclamen species can bloom in hardiness zones 4a to 8b. However, certain species, like the cyclamen persicum, can go up to 9a and 11b. This means if you have cyclamen persicum, it might handle heat better than other types.
Before you learn how to care for your cyclamen in winter, you must learn how to help it thrive when it’s blooming in fall and, sometimes, spring.
Here are the main factors you need to keep in mind:
Before I tell you when and how much to water, here’s a tip: Don’t spray the leaves!
Most individuals use a watering can for this mission, but you’ll get water all over the cyclamen leaves, which can lead to mildew.
Hence, don’t spray from above; rather, place the pot in a shallow bowl filled with water to get its fill. After that, let it drain away any excess water.
As for the “when” question, you can water the flower once you feel the soil is dry. Just scratch the top inch lightly with your finger, and if it’s dry, you can water it.
Also, keep the water lukewarm or at room temperature, as cold water can shock the little flower’s system.
Regarding cyclamen soil preference, the flower usually goes for moist but well-drained soils.
Basically, this flower, with its heart-shaped leaves, needs a draining mix that doesn’t retain water to the point of stagnation.
The ideal mix for this would be a combination of chalk, clay, loam, perlite, or sand—usually, no more than three potting materials.
Also, using organic matter like well-composed compost or leaves can further enhance the ground’s water retention without making it overly dense—perfect if your flower is in the garden.
Lastly, cyclamens aren’t fussy when it comes to pH levels. This means your soil could be alkaline, acidic, or neutral, and the plant would still grow.
However, you can use a testing method to make sure you don’t go to either extreme and keep things balanced.
Here’s the thing about cyclamens: while they love the light, they don’t want it directly shining on them.
This is because direct sunlight, especially during the noon hours, can scorch the leaves or damage the flower in some other way.
So, if you have this flower as an indoor plant, it’s best to put it beside a window that’s covered with a sheer curtain.
However, if your plant is outdoors, please keep the pot near the patio, where it can get enough sunlight from the shade.
As for garden-planted cyclamen, placing them under taller plants and trees that provide shade is perfect.
For your little cyclamens, as with any other plant, proper fertilization plays a fantastic role in their health and vibrancy.
However, I need to point out that this flower doesn’t actually need fertilization as much as it likes it.
If you want to use a fertilizer to see some lush growth, I’d recommend one with low-nitrogen content.
While nitrogen can help the plant bloom, too much can cause rapid changes, weakening the flowers. Hence, it’s best to ensure it’s one with low nitrogen levels.
For best results, use the fertilizer about once every two to four weeks when the plant is actively blooming.
Finally, cyclamens are delicate blooms that can easily weaken when the temperatures change too drastically and too quickly.
In general, cyclamen enjoy cool temperatures during the day that range from 60 to 65°F. This is considered an ideal environment that can support the flowers’ growth and blooming process.
At night, the flower appreciates an even cooler atmosphere where the temperatures can drop to 50°F.
In contrast, if the temperature rises to 70°F or over, you’re in big trouble!
When faced with high temperatures, the plant finds it hard to thrive, and its buds might not develop properly, leading to fewer flowers.
Though it often gives a delicate impression, this flower is as tolerant as they come! Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the flower’s foliage is exceptionally cold-resistant.
Its adaptability to cold weather means its bold-colored petals and green leaves remain as lively as ever, even in the chilly winter months.
Generally, the flower can withstand cold degrees, falling to around 40°F or less. However, you might want to intervene when it gets this cold or even a couple of degrees lower.
Caring for your cyclamen during winter isn’t the same as other seasons. While the flower can handle the cold, you can lend a hand by keeping a few things in mind.
To make sure your flowers are healthy during winter, follow the tips below:
When the temperature falls below 40 or 30 degrees, your plant’s foliage is at risk of frost damage. The frost can leave the foliage damaged and limp, affecting the plant’s health.
So, on nights when there’s a frost or a sharp drop in the temperature, consider covering your cyclamen with agricultural cloth or frost blankets.
This temporary solution can help trap whatever amount of warmth emanating from the soil around the flowers.
Also, if your flowers are in the garden and you’re unable to cover them adequately or bring them inside, use mulch!
Mulch can help insulate the soil and keep your plants’ roots safe from frostbite.
Over the last few months, you’ve probably gotten used to a regular watering schedule.
For instance, you’re now used to watering your plant’s soil once every Saturday because you know it’ll be dry.
However, in winter, this changes a notch. The evaporation rates decrease because of the lower temperatures and reduced sunlight, making the soil retain water for a bit longer.
So, instead of continuing your old routine, make sure you start rechecking the soil to ensure it’s dry before watering.
What are the key features of winter that we all know? That’s right, it’s the shorter days and less sunlight!
Most of the time, the sky is cloudy, if not bordering on stormy. So, what’s the solution here?
First, ensure the cyclamens get as much natural sunlight as possible. This could mean moving the pot from one location to the other to provide a bit of light.
If the sun’s hiding most of the time, you can go with artificial grow lights.
Even though, when compared to sunlight, they’re not the best, artificial light can help your flowers when you can’t move them to a sunnier spot or if the sun isn’t doing its job properly!
Now that you know everything about caring for cyclamens during winter as well as other seasons, it’s time to check out some of the most popular questions:
The answer here is yes and not—complicated, right?
This is because the flowers don’t really appreciate the cold temperatures, especially when they fall below 50 degrees.
Thankfully, this doesn’t mean it’ll completely die off, as the cyclamens are hardy. However, the blooms might suffer terribly from the frost, and that’s why you need to cover them.
Yes, they do! As a matter of fact, the cyclamen’s blooming season is around winter or late spring.
This is another yes! Cyclamens flower through winter, fall, and when spring is a tad damp and cool.
On the other hand, in summer, when it’s sunny and hot, you can expect the foliage to yellow and the plant to go into dormancy.
So, what’s the cyclamen winter care routine? Apparently, it’s not that different from what you used to do in previous seasons!
To start, all you have to do is cover the foliage if it gets too cold in case of frost.
Also, because of the shorter days and cloudy atmosphere, consider investing in artificial grow lights to help you provide the flowers with their much-needed light.
Finally, throw away the old watering schedule and start a new one! Just keep your eyes—and fingers—on the soil to learn when it’s dry and needs watering.
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.