Cyclamen is a genus of 23 plants in the Primulacaea family. These species are perennial. Its petals come in lighter and darker shades of white, pink, red or violet. Cyclamens are somewhat frost hardy species with sweetly scented flowers. The most commonly sold cyclamen by florists is Cyclamen Persicum. It is commonly called “Florist’s Cyclamen” and is a house plant that is native to the Eastern Mediterranean region.
It is prized due to its blooming nature in winter and is cherished and gifted around holidays. Due to being a perennial, indoor and a winter blooming plant, its care is a little different from most indoor plants. Proper care is essential if you wish to keep your tuberous plant alive year after year.
Let’s look after a cyclamen better this year with these tips.
Because it is a tuberous perennial plant it becomes dormant during summer. You have to keep it in a cool and dark place where there is good air circulation to avoid mold and diseases. During the start of winter bring them out. They will do good anywhere if provided with bright indirect light. Placing them near bright windows or under indirect light are also a suitable options.
Cyclamens are tuberous plants. Leaves and floral stems emerge from a growing point on these tubers. Leaves of hybrids and species have different types of shapes and colors. Roots grow from a basal plate. Floral stems are slightly curved at the tip so that the flower’s nose faces downward and petals are upswept.
Care and maintenance
How to plant
Use well-draining rich organic soil with a slight acidic pH (6-60.2). You can add sphagnum moss to regular potting mix to slightly alter the pH to make it more acidic.
Cyclamens need to be repotted every 2 to 3 years. You can do this while the plant is still dormant in fall/autumn before the onset of leaves.
Take the dormant tuber and brush the old soil off. While placing tubers in the soil make sure they are the correct way up. Place it 3 inches (7.5 cm) below the rim in the soil and cover it with potting soil. Water it and keep watering unfrequently until the leaves start emerging in September.
The most important factor in cyclamen care is providing the correct temperature. Bring them indoors in autumn. Cyclamens are not frost hardy and cannot tolerate very low temperatures. They like cool temperatures. They should be kept at temperatures above 39 °F (4 °C) and below 68 °F (20 °C). Should the temperature increase above this they would die instantly. Temperatures higher or lower than this induces dormancy.
Do not place them near drafts, open doors and windows as one single whiff of cold or hot air and boom they are dead.
As winter season gets dry, providing humidity is crucial too. You can do this in two ways. Provide humidity by misting the surroundings of the plant using a spray bottle or place a tray or saucer filled with pebbles and water underneath the pot. Make sure that the excess water is not getting reabsorbed into the pot or else it will cause root rot.
Cyclamens are sensitive to both under and overwatering so you will have to take great care. Make sure that the pot has excellent drainage and is not clogged. Water instantly when the top layer of the soil feels dry to touch. You also can insert a finger to check. Don’t leave the plant thirsty for prolonged time periods.
Another thing you have to care about is not pouring the water directly on leaves and flowers. Pouring water over the plant will lead to rotting. Soak all the soil gently.
When the plant is dormant water scarcely, once a week is enough, to keep the plant from dying.
Liquid fertilizer every second- or third-week during blooming is recommended or you can use water soluble fertilizer mixed at half strength, once every month. If you give a high fertilizer dose it will affect the reblooming ability of the tubers. There is no need for fertilizing when the tubers are dormant. Only fertilize once every one to two months with water soluble fertilizer mixed at half strength. When cyclamen get too much fertilizer it can affect their ability to rebloom.
Towards the end of winter the cyclamen reign is also over. Don’t panic if the bloom fade and leaves start dying. It is the starting of dormancy. Leaves will start drooping and turn yellow. During dormancy, it is advised placing the tubers in a dark and cold place.
Once the dormant period is over you can start watering it again at the same rate. When you see few leaves, soak the soil fully with water for a half hour and then make sure the excess has drained away. The cyclamen tuber is not hard to rebloom. You can force bloom the cyclamen and break its dormancy by altering the temperatures.
Leaves sprout in autumn, bloom in winter, die in spring, and remain dormant during summer. They are the best winter bloomers.
There are many varieties available in the market but the most 3 popular of them are:
The white petals are tinted with red around the edges. It is known for its less maintenance requirements.
It is not as fragrant but has large flowers in a variety of colors including white, scarlet, pink, lilac, purple, salmon etc.
This variety is prized for its strong scented flowers. Red and pink flowers are open-pollinated.
Cyclamens bloom for almost 8 weeks and require very little maintenance.
So what are you waiting for? You could give this beautiful plant as a gift these coming holidays. In a wishing card, write about how to care for it so that your friends can cherish it for yeas to come!