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Solutions for Leggy Cyclamen, Stunted Growth, and Other Common Issues

Solutions for Leggy Cyclamen, Stunted Growth, and Other Common Issues

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Was your blooming cyclamen once the crown jewel of your interior decor, but now it’s become all leggy and sparse?

In this article, I’ll outline some common issues with house cyclamen such as legginess, stunted growth, wilting leaves, and sparse blooming.

I’ll explain the cause of each problem and how to reverse the damage so you can return your cyclamen to its glory days.

Why Is My Cyclamen Getting Leggy?

When a cyclamen is leggy, its stems are long and thin with only a few leaves on top. In contrast, a healthy potted cyclamen is luscious with many leaves that cover the soil surface.

Inadequate lighting is to blame for leggy cyclamen. Plants need light to make their food through a process called photosynthesis, using chlorophyll in the leaves, carbon dioxide, and water. When placed in the dark, cyclamen stalks will grow tall rapidly in search of light.

Although too much sunlight can dry out Cyclamen, it can tolerate a few hours of daylight in the winter. Cyclamen do best in a well-lit area but without direct sunshine.

If you live in a basement apartment where it’s often dim, you can invest in a grow light. It’s an artificial lamp that mimics sunlight to help indoor plants develop better and prevent legginess. Grow lights can be useful too if winters in your country are too dark.

I should warn you though that too much sunlight is harmful to cyclamen. It can cause the leaves to dry out and wilt. You can reduce the intensity of the sunlight from your window by sticking some parchment paper on the glass or hanging a sheer curtain.

Why Is My Cyclamen Getting Limp?

If your cyclamen appear droopy, they’re not getting enough water. Another tell-tale sign of underwatering in cyclamen is dry and crisp leaves.

Luckily, the solution to this problem is easy. To rehydrate your cyclamen, place the flowerpot in a shallow dish filled with water and leave it for 15 minutes.

It’s advisable to bottom-water cyclamen once every week or as soon as you notice the soil getting dry. Don’t let the soil dry out for too long between waterings.

Also, you should avoid using peat-based compost because it drains too quickly. Instead, you can use soil-based compost.

Here’s a tip when watering your cyclamen: using cold water will be refreshing for your plant and reminiscent of its origin during Mediterranean winters.

Why Won’t My Cyclamen Bloom?

If your cyclamen is getting enough water and light but still needs to bloom well, the issue may be with the soil, temperature, or humidity. I will explain these factors below and tell you some tweaks that can boost your cyclamen into flowering:

1 – Lack of Proper Nutrition

In the blooming phase, cyclamen need a fertilizer that contains a lot of phosphorus. This helps to lengthen the blooming duration. Afterwards, you can use a regular houseplant fertilizer every four to six weeks.

When you notice that there are so many leaves and no blooms, stop using the plant food entirely and observe the plant. It may be a sign that your plant is getting too much nitrogen.

2 – Temperature Is Too Hot

Cyclamen grows better at cold temperatures around 50 to 65F. If it’s too hot, your cyclamen can stop blooming. You can place it on a windowsill where it can get cool air and temperatures drop at night.

The wrong place to put cyclamen is over the fridge or near the stove in the kitchen because these places are too warm. You should also avoid keeping them over the mantel in the living room since it’s toasty there as well.

Further, you can help your cyclamen to thrive by adjusting your home temperature to be below 70F on your thermostat.

3 – Air Is Too Dry

Cyclamen love some humidity during their growing and flowering time, ideally between 40-60%. If the air is too dry in your house you can use a plant humidifier or place a tray with water and pebbles near the flowerpot.

This is not to say that cyclamen can tolerate steamy air. If you place your plant in your bathroom where it’s too moist, it can catch mold like Botrytis blight.

Why Is My Cyclamen Wilting?

Often, too much water is more dangerous than too little for cyclamen. Overwatering can cause rotting if waterdrops are caught up in the grooves between the leaves and the tuber.

If you accidentally forget your cyclamen in its watering station for too long, you can wipe the excess water using paper towels. Then, drain the rest of the water on a saucer.

To speed up the process, you can allow your cyclamen to dry out in a well-ventilated room with plenty of sunlight.

Other Cyclamen Problems

Here are two more points to consider when diagnosing your cyclamen:

1 – Parasites

Although uncommon, cyclamen can catch parasites such as slugs, aphids, or mites. You can diagnose a parasite infestation by watching out for sticky leaves or white specks around the pot in the case of mites.

You can rid your cyclamen of a mite infestation using a miticide that you can buy from the gardening aisle of a department store or local nursery.

Aphids are tiny insects that cling to the cyclamen stalks and leaves. Several methods to combat this pest include horticultural soap and DIY sprays using essential oils and water.

2 – Time to Re-Pot

Sometimes, the only solution to a weak cyclamen is to replace its pot with a new one. You can do so every two years as a precautionary measure to maintain optimal health for your plant.

The best time to change pots is when the bulb is dormant. Gently remove the tuber from the old flowerpot and rinse it with water. Then, inspect the roots and remove any soft spots that indicate rot.

Next, replant the tuber in hydrated fresh soil with part of it showing over the surface. Finally, add some diluted houseplant fertilizer to the soil.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, there are several reasons why your cyclamen may not be doing well. Cyclamen become leggy when placed in dark places. Additionally, these plants need just the right amount of water to survive; overwatering and underwatering can be problematic.

If you’ve checked all the above and your cyclamen is still not doing fine, you can consider that maybe it’s going dormant. Dormancy in cyclamen is a time for it to rest during the warm summer months.

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