Have you ever heard of the Cyclamen, this beautiful houseplant with flowers of vibrant colors that turn every room into a fairy tale garden? Well, actually, if you’re reading this article, you probably have (I know, that was a dumb question for an article opening, sorry, I’m a bit rusty). Cyclamens’ flowers come in different shades, from bright pink to pure white, and the foliage is a mix of beautiful green and rich silver, which makes it the perfect plant for the holiday season.
The Cyclamen is a plant that doesn’t require much care, which means you don’t have to be a seasoned gardener to keep it alive. As long as you give it the minimum, it’s going to keep flowering in bursting colors. It is said that the Cyclamen plant’s flowers resemble shooting stars, which makes the silver pattern on their heart-shaped leaves even more starry. If taken care of well, your Cyclamen will bloom beautifully and continuously for a couple of months!
So, are you now ready to learn more about this magnificent house plant? Without further ado, here’s our complete guide to growing Cyclamen at home!
First of all, you need to know that Cyclamen is an eastern Mediterranean plant, which means it naturally blooms during autumn, winter, and spring, when the weather is the coolest and a bit damp. Contrarily to other, more common plants, the Cyclamen goes dormant during the hottest months of the year, from mid-June until early September. That’s when their foliage becomes yellow and slowly dies, as the plant starts storing energy for the next blooming season in a few months.
Up until this line, I have been writing about Cyclamen as an indoors type of plants, but it can also be planted outdoors, and will definitely make your garden more cheerful, with its vibrant colors and mesmerizing smell (some say it has no scent, but take a walk in a garden full of Cyclamen flowers and you might understand what I’m writing about here).
So, if you’re planning on planting your Cyclamen outdoors, follow these simple instructions.
First of all, choose a spot that’s not too sunny or dry. As said before, the Cyclamen thrives in a cool, damp environment (a bit like The Penguin, the infamous Batman villain). The soil should have good drainage, be fertile (if not, you can help it using natural fertilizer), and most importantly, be able to get rid of summer moisture on its own, since too much moisture will make your Cyclamen’s roots rot and die. The spot should also be in part shade, since Cyclamen doesn’t thrive much in full sun.
When you have found the perfect spot, dig a large hole, preferably deeper than 6 centimeters, and then, plant your Cyclamen tubers 3 to 5 centimeters deep into the whole. They can also be planted separately, so if you want to do that, you can. Do not plant your Cyclamen deeper than 5 centimeters, since they might never flower if you do that, and that would be a shame.
If you want your Cyclamen to establish itself quickly and start flowering in the next blooming season, plant your tubers when they are in root growth. This is also a good way to know which side is the top and which is the bottom of your tubers.
Since growing Cyclamen in a pot from seed can take quite a long time (and maybe one or two failed trials), it would be better to buy the plant already potter and grown. That, though, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to prepare the perfect environment for your plant. As said before, Cyclamen needs a specific environment to thrive. If the temperature of your house (or of the room where you’re putting your Cyclamen plant) goes over 20°C during the day and 10°C at night, forget about it, your Cyclamen will slowly shrivel and die (sad, but true). High temperatures make the Cyclamen’s foliage yellow and the flowers’ colors fade quickly, which doesn’t make it worth it.
So, prepare a good environment for the Cyclamen, and bring your baby home, it might flower sooner than you expect!
So now, you have your Cyclamen planted or potted, it has flowered, and it’s beautiful to see. Why not propagating it, then? Follow these instructions to learn more about how to propagate Cyclamen!
Propagating through seeds
One of the different ways that work for propagating Cyclamen is using the plant’s seeds. When it comes to this method, everything is about timing.
First start by soaking the seeds for a maximum of 24 hours, then plant them. Easy, right? Well, there’s a catch here! If you want to plant the seeds outside directly, you’d have to do so during the spring, when the soil’s temperature is between 7°C and 12°C. This way, your Cyclamen will bloom the following spring.
But, if you don’t want to wait a year to see your Cyclamen flowers in full bloom, you can start by planting the seeds in pots indoors, which will result in them blooming in the first year. Then, you can unpot them and replant them outside, in a garden or a greenhouse.
Propagating through Cyclamen plant division
First of all, you have to know that Cyclamen propagates through tubers, contrarily to other plants that propagate through stems or leaves.
The easy way to propagate Cyclamen through plant division is by slightly lifting the tuber from the soil during autumn, and dividing it. Replant the cut pieces from your Cyclamen’s tuber under about 4 to 5 centimeters of soil, this way they can start growing roots before winter time. If it’s cold, even for autumn, protect your tubers divisions by adding a layer of mulch on the soil.
Every decent gardener will tell you that a Cyclamen needs to be repotted every couple of years, especially if your Cyclamen is already in a pot. Depending on how big it is and how fast it grows, you might have to repot sooner, when it starts overflowing from its initial pot. If you want to report your Cyclamen, it is better to wait until your plant is dormant, which means you’d have to do it during the summer. Of course, it is possible to repot a non-dormant Cyclamen, but I would not advise it.
How to repot a Cyclamen in a few steps
First of all, make sure to pick a container that’s at least 2 centimeters wider in diameter than the old one. Fill a part of your new container with potting medium. Then, slowly lift your tuber from the old pot and try to clean it off as much as possible, without using water. Put the tuber in your new container and cover it halfway with more potting medium.
Now that you have repotted your Cyclamen, all you have to do is put it somewhere dry with shade for the rest of the hot months. Once autumn arrives, you can start watering it, which will help new growth to emerge.
Caring for your Cyclamen
So now, you have your Cyclamen in a pot inside or in your garden, and you’re wondering how you can take care of it so it blooms beautifully and doesn’t wither too quickly. Follow this easy guide, and you might have a bursting cloud of colors in your garden during the grey winter months!
Though the Cyclamen plant doesn’t need much care, you still have to make sure that it’s properly watered. It shouldn’t be underwatered nor overwatered, as both can be deadly to your Cyclamen. Make sure your pot has good drainage but can still hold water well. Before watering your plant, check the soil, if it’s dry to the touch, then it means it’s time for watering your plant.
When watering your Cyclamen, do it from below the leaves, this way, the water won’t touch the stems or leaves, since that can cause them to rot away. Soak your plant’s soil, and let the excess drain away.
Fertilizing Cyclamen is also an easy task, since this beautiful plant doesn’t need much care. Only feed your Cyclamen every one or two months, always using a low-nitrogen fertilizer when it’s in full leaf. Don’t use too much fertilizer, since this can do more harm than good.
If you want to the blooming period of your Cyclamen, your best solution would be to prune it. Deadheading Cyclamen can prove quite tricky, which is why you have to follow the instructions bellow carefully:
- First, check your Cyclamen weekly, so you can see if there are any browning petals on it. Once you see that, you can start pruning your plant.
- When deadheading Cyclamen, grasp the yellowing flower stalk from under the petal, and follow the stem all the way, until you arrive to the soil.
- After doing that, tug that stem upward, but not hard, since it can break a piece from your tuber. Do not cut the stem, so if it doesn’t come off, try again the next day, and the day after, until it works.
- Finally, when your Cyclamen goes into its dormant phase, get rid of the yellowed leaves and what’s left of the flowers. Make sure to remove the debris from the soil as well, since this can make it easier for fungus to attack the roots.
Varieties of Cyclamen
Like every other plant we wrote about on our website, the Cyclamen has a lot of varieties. The most famous ones are the following:
This variety of Cyclamen is probably the most famous one. With its strong, sweet smell, and its white or pale pink flowers, it certainly is a sight to behold.
Sometimes also called Naples’ Cyclamen, this one is originally from the north of the Mediterranean, going all the way up to France and Turkey. The flowers of this variety usually have no smell, and can be a very strong pink, almost red.
Found in mountains as well as in coastal cities, the Cyclamen Coum is originally from Bulgaria, but can be found as far as in Israel. The flowers are beautiful, coming in diverse colors, from white to magenta.
Cyclamen problems and their solutions
Like every other living thing, the Cyclamen can get sick, whither, and die. Which is why we’re giving you a list of problems that can happen, and their solutions!
So, you’re planted your Cyclamen, you’ve given it all the care in the world, and yet, it’s not blooming (and of course it’s making you furious and you vow never to garden again). If that is what’s happening to your plant, then you probably have a mite problem. Mites attack a variety of plants, but Cyclamens are the most vulnerable to them. Cyclamen mites are not easily seen, but you can see them if you use a hand lens. They’re mostly pink or orange, and have eight legs instead of six. If you have mites, know that insecticides won’t help, and sadly, you’ll just have to get rid of the infected plant.
One day, you might see that your Cyclamen leaves are drooping, and you wouldn’t know why. The most probable reason is the environment. So, make sure your plant is somewhere that feels Mediterranean, which means moderate temperature, neither too cold, not too hot.
If your leaves are yellowing and it’s not time yet for your Cyclamen to go dormant, then there are two possibilities. It’s either an environment problem (too much watering or not enough, high or very cold temperature), which you can solve easily, or your Cyclamen has an insect problem. From spider mites to mealybugs, these insects are probably the reason why your plant’s leaves are yellowing. Apart from Cyclamen mites, all other insects can be taken care of using insecticidal soap spray.
And, that’s it…
Now, you know all you need to have a beautiful, proud Cyclamen blooming in your house or in your garden. And, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the blog!