Skip to Content

Is Your Cyclamen Under Siege? Identify the Culprits and Fight Back

Is Your Cyclamen Under Siege? Identify the Culprits and Fight Back

Share this post:

Disclaimer: Some links found on this page might be affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I might earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Here’s a horror story for cyclamen lovers: Missing blooms and nibbled leaves.

Decked in delicate flowers and heart-shaped foliage, cyclamen plants are a visual treat. Unfortunately, this eye candy is also a gourmet feast for critters with voracious appetites.

So, what’s eating your cyclamen, and how do you protect your vulnerable plant from these unseen assailants?

Allow me to present the lineup of the usual suspects!

What Eats Cyclamen Plants?

Below, meet the eager diners who love chomping on your beloved cyclamens:

1 – Vine Weevils

The Otiorrhynchi is a cheeky bunch of weevils that include the notorious black vine weevil—a cyclamen’s worst nightmare.

Fun Fact: All adult vine weevils are female. Where there are females, there are eggs, and where there are eggs, there are larvae.

It only takes a month of intensive feeding before an adult can lay as many as 500 eggs, which hatch in 10–14 days.

That said, the damage unfolds in two parts.

First, the adults—brown to black and about one-fourth of an inch—snack on the leaves at night. They leave notches along the leaf margin, giving it a ragged appearance.

You’ll likely notice this leaf damage from spring to the end of the growing season.

Second, the larvae attack the roots, wreaking havoc underground. Active round-the-clock, even a pair of these whitish grubs in the pot can be fatal to your plant.

They attack the rootlets, main roots, and even the tuber—a bulb where the roots and shoots grow. Some dead giveaways that these troublemakers have been hard at work include:

  • Stunted growth
  • Wilting
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Dying plant

How to Get Rid of Adult Vine Weevils

These flightless beetles are a year-round threat. So, how do you take them down?

Adults and larvae demand separate treatment. Let’s get rid of the adults first, and here’s how to do it:

  • Weevils hide under leaf litter, mulch, or loose soil during the day. Pluck them out, squash them, and throw them in the bin.
  • Give the plants a good shake to dislodge the weevils. Collect the fallen bugs and discard them.
  • Trim foliage to keep it from touching the ground or connecting to other plants.
  • Set up a pitfall trap by burying a plastic cup near your cyclamen plants up to the rim. Grease the inside with motor oil to make the surface unclimbable, and check for captured beetles every few days.

How to Get Rid of Vine Weevil Larvae

Chemical control is one way to deal with root-raiding grubs. Drench the compost with a systemic and contact insecticide to eliminate the grubs and disrupt the pest’s life cycle.

Insecticides containing bifenthrin or imidacloprid are most effective against black vine weevils.

For a more natural approach, you can try biological control. This method involves introducing a weevil’s natural enemies, like beneficial nematodes, into the soil.

Nematodes actively seek out their weevil hosts, infecting the grubs with bacteria. These worms won’t harm the plant but will make quick work of the larvae.

You can find the following anti-weevil nematodes sold under various brand names online or at your local garden center:

  • Heterohabditis bacteriophora
  • Steinernema kraussei
  • Steinernema feltiae

Apply them to lighter, moist soil in late summer before the grubs become a huge headache.

2 – Cyclamen Mites

Cyclamen mites are super tiny bugs, but don’t let their size fool you. They have a thing for buds and young leaves, causing all sorts of issues.

Besides messing up the look of your cyclamen, they can spread plant viruses. And they’ll happily infest most plants, not just cyclamens.

Cyclamen mites are active 24/7 in glasshouses, piercing plant tissues with their specialized mouthparts. The telltale signs of a mite infestation include:

  • Curled leaf edges
  • Pale or yellowing leaves
  • Deformed flower stalks
  • Tiny, light-colored dots or stippling on the leaves
  • Premature leaf drop

How to Get Rid of Cyclamen Mites

Here are a few tips to tackle a mite infestation in your cyclamens:

  • Tidy up fallen leaves and keep your garden clean to discourage mite activity.
  • Isolate the infected plant and snip away the heavily infested parts.
  • Introduce beneficial insects like Phytoseiulus persimilis or Amblyseius californicus to wipe out mites.
  • Make a solution of neem oil, water, and mild dish detergent. Spray all parts of the plants, including the undersides of leaves.

Do Rabbits Eat Cyclamen?

In general, rabbits aren’t fans of strong-smelling plants, including cyclamens.

But there’s a bigger reason our garden hoppers should steer clear of these fragrant perennials. Their leaves contain saponins, which can cause tummy troubles in rabbits.

So, let’s keep our bunnies away from cyclamens and offer them safe snacks instead!

Do Squirrels Eat Cyclamen?

If you’ve ever found your cyclamen’s tuber unearthed and partially devoured, odds are squirrels have paid a visit. They have a knack for digging up and chowing down on bulbs, including those of cyclamens’.

To ensure they don’t get their paws on your plant, consider these tips:

  • Use a mesh wire as a barrier
  • Plant your cyclamen among groundcover and other perennials.
  • Set up a feeding station stocked with grains and nuts to divert their attention away from your plants.

Do Slugs Eat Cyclamen?

These moisture-loving gastropods love munching on succulent leaves and can turn any lush plant into a chewed-up mess overnight. If you spot a slimy, silvery trail near your cyclamen, slugs are likely the culprit.

To fend off these nocturnal nibblers, keep your garden clean and free of debris where slugs can hide. You can spy on them on damp evenings, and if you’re not squeamish, you can pick them up and relocate them.

You can also try placing the following slug repellant around your cyclamen:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Cooper mesh or wire
  • Neem oil
  • Salt
  • Sand or mulch

Final Thoughts

We’ve identified what’s eating your cyclamen, from vine weevils to mites and slugs. Now, it’s up to you to take action using these tips.

With a keen eye and the right strategies, you can guarantee your cyclamen thrives!

Share this post: