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How to Rescue Your Cyclamen from Overwatering and Underwatering Woes

How to Rescue Your Cyclamen from Overwatering and Underwatering Woes

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Cyclamen is one of my favorite winter-flowering plants. They look gorgeous, are hardy, and are easy to grow even in the toughest of weathers.

The only catch is that they’re somewhat fussy with their water schedule. It’s one of the reasons why some home gardeners find making the right conditions for their cyclamen difficult.

If you relate to this hitch, you’re exactly where you should be.

Today, I’ll show you how I deal with underwatered or overwatered cyclamen plants. I’ll walk you through some essential tips to revive and care for this gorgeous flora!

What Does an Overwatered Cyclamen Look Like?

You love your garden companions. But sometimes, like a doting parent, you forget what they need and shower them with too much love—in this case, water.

Cyclamen plants, in particular, are sensitive to overwatering. Being adapted to the Mediterranean climate, too much water can result in deadly problems for these plants.

So, how do you know if you’re overwatering your cyclamen?

Yellowing Leaves

The first thing to watch out for is discolored foliage. If you observe your cyclamen leaves turning yellow, it’s a sign you’re watering it more than it needs.

See, it’s easy to think of plants as an inanimate object. However, they, too, can suffocate when washed down with too much liquid.

Drooping and falling foliage usually follow discoloration. Watch out for those as well.

Tuber Rot

Yellow drooping leaves are just a symptom of a more problematic issue. It’s a sign that the plant isn’t getting as many nutrients and minerals to carry out metabolic processes.

If you observe yellowing foliage, look down—the cyclamen stems could be rotting, too!

Tough as they are, tubers like Cyclamen can rot when exposed to too much water. When a part of the plant starts decaying, it shuts down and stops sending nutrients.

Botrytis Fungus

A soggy soil invites plenty of issues for cyclamen, including the pesky Bobritys fungus. If infected, your plant can develop cyclamen gray mold rot, a common but deadly disease for tubers.

If you notice rotting beginning at your plant’s heart and masses of gray fuzzy material covering browned parts, Bobtrytis fungus could be the culprit.

What Does an Underwatered Cyclamen Look Like?

Forgetting to care for houseplants is a common problem for busy gardeners. With life becoming increasingly hectic, dull chores like watering our flora can slip from our minds easily.

Sure, cyclamen flowers are tough and can endure the harshest of conditions. However, like every other plant, they need their share of water to survive.

But how can you identify an underwatered cyclamen?

Wilting Foliage

Overwatering and underwatering have a similar effect on the cyclamen’s foliage. One way or the other, the leaves will start drooping, change color, and eventually die.

However, a thirsty cyclamen often exhibits a more pronounced case of symptoms.

For example, you might observe every part of the plant wilting—leaves, stem, flower, and all. The leaves and stems often feel dry and papery, signaling the lack of water.

Leaf discolorations are more severe, as well. Instead of yellow, the foliage can turn dead brown and fall off faster.

Stunted Growth

The absence of new growth is another evident change of an underwatered. You may notice your cyclamen producing fewer buds, noticeably maintaining its size.

Pale and stunted blooms are also an expected result of underwatering cyclamen. It produces fewer, less-vibrant flowers and more slowly than a healthy plant.

What Should You Do in Each Scenario?

Now that you know the signs, how can you save and revitalize your cyclamen? Luckily, the solution can be as simple as correcting your watering routine.

Reviving an Overwatered Cyclamen

More cyclamen plants die from overwatering than water depletion. As such, you may need to change your watering methods.

But first, look at your pot.

Cyclamen dislike wet feet, so use a container with several holes for proper drainage. I highly recommend using a porous terra cotta pot, which helps evaporate moisture faster.

Next is your water habit.

As delicate as they look, cyclamen don’t need water every few days. So, set that watering pot aside more often, as it’s likely why you’re in this hitch.

With cyclamen, the golden rule is to allow the soil to dry in between waterings.

If you’re having problems keeping the soil dry, “bottom watering” is an excellent technique you can adapt.

It’s where you fill a plate or saucer with water and place the flower pot on top. Then, let the pot soak for at least 20 minutes until the potting soil feels moist, just below the surface.

It’s an excellent way to guard your plant from water issues and promote strong roots simultaneously.

Reviving an Underwatered Cyclamen

Increasing the amount of moisture should help an underwatered cyclamen revive. For a start, you can water the plant once every week.

A good practice to know when and when not to water your cyclamen is observing its soil. Check about an inch below the potting soil’s surface.

If it feels dry, it’s a sign your plant needs its share of water.

Shower the flora thoroughly and let any excess water drain. Avoid pouring water on the leaves or the plant’s crown to prevent rotting.

When watering, you can mix a low-nitrogen fertilizer for flowering plants to help rejuvenate the cyclamen.

But here’s an important note:

Most cyclamens go into dormancy after their flowering season, usually starting in spring and throughout summer. When dormant, the cyclamen leaves will turn yellow first, then dry and fall out.

It’s a natural process of these plants’ life cycle. Don’t confuse dormancy with a thirsty cyclamen.

Seasonal Care Reminders for Cyclamen

A cyclamen plant needs special care, depending on the season. So, here are a few reminders to keep in your gardening notes:


Most cyclamen bloom in the winter. I’d recommend moving them to a spot with plenty of sunlight to produce healthy and vibrant flowers.

An appropriate water schedule is also critical for these tubers during this period. The cold season makes them particularly sensitive to water and prone to rotting.

Water only when the potting mix dries or when the foliage begins to drop.


Cyclamen enter a semi-dormant state as the temperature rises with spring. They stop blooming, which means they need less sunlight.

STOP watering the plant altogether and leave the soil to dry. Water during spring could spell a rotting disaster for these tubers.


Spring giving way to summer means complete dormancy to cyclamen. They lose their foliage completely, looking almost dead.

That said, a cyclamen doesn’t need much water when dormant. So, only spray some water to stop the potting soil from drying.


While fall is a gloomy time for most vegetation, for cyclamen, it’s a time for revival. With proper care and gentle watering, new leaves will sprout, and life restarts for these tubers.

Final Thoughts

Can we agree that few sights surpass the view of vivid cyclamen flowers blooming through pure white snow? It’s simply breathtaking.

Not when they’re overwatered or underwatered, though. They flop and lose their color, taking away from their natural charm.

That said, try not to panic next time you see these symptoms on your treasured cyclamen flowers. You can recover their stunning vibrancy and appeal with just a few steps!

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