Caring for Cyclamen: Top Tips for Year-Round Beauty

HomeHow ToCare GuideCaring for Cyclamen: Top Tips for Year-Round Beauty

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Hey, plant enthusiasts! Are you seeking a stunning flowering plant that can light up your home or garden all year round? You might want to consider cyclamen. It’s a popular choice among gardeners and indoor plant enthusiasts due to its magnificent flowers and foliage. But to keep your cyclamen looking its best, you need to know how to care for it properly. In this blog post, I’ll share with you some top tips for caring for cyclamen, from selecting the right variety to watering techniques to winter care. Let’s get started!

What is Cyclamen?

Cyclamen, a genus belonging to the Primrose family, boasts a rich diversity of approximately 20 species with diverse flower colors, shapes, and sizes. Some of the most notable ones include Cyclamen persicum, which is widely grown due to its large, gorgeous flowers in shades of pink, red, white, and purple, originating from the Mediterranean region and preferred by cool temperatures.

Another species of Cyclamen, Cyclamen coum, is a hardy and resilient plant that can withstand cold and frost, and its small flowers range from white to deep pink. This species originates from Europe and Asia Minor and blooms in late winter or early spring.

Cyclamen hederifolium is another hardy species that can thrive in various climates and outdoor settings. It features pink or white flowers with a distinct eye at the base, originating from Europe and Asia Minor and blooming in autumn.

Attractive heart-shaped leaves with varied or patterned designs characterize Cyclamen. The leaves grow from a swollen underground stem, also known as a tuber, which stores nutrients and water. Long stems bear the flowers, with five petals twisted or reflexed to form a unique shape.

Cyclamen can be grown indoors as houseplants, in gardens, borders, containers, or hanging baskets, and add color and charm to any space. When cared for properly, they can last for several weeks or months.

Choosing the Right Cyclamen

When purchasing cyclamen, it is essential to choose healthy plants with ample buds and leaves. You should steer clear of plants that display wilted or yellowing foliage, moldy or rotten tubers, or indications of pests or diseases. Moreover, you should select species and colors that suit your preferences and requirements.

Species: Depending on your location and growing conditions, you should select a species that can thrive in your climate and environment.

Color: Cyclamen is available in an array of hues, from pure white to rosy pink to vivid red and violet.

Size: Cyclamen comes in varying sizes, ranging from tiny plants that only measure a few inches tall to giants that can grow up to a foot tall.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Once you have selected your cyclamen, it is essential to provide it with the ideal growing conditions to thrive and produce vibrant blooms. To begin, ensure that your cyclamen receives ample but indirect sunlight, as direct sunlight can scorch its leaves and reduce the luster of its flowers. Instead, position it near a window that receives morning or afternoon light or consider artificial lighting if necessary.

Cyclamen thrives in cooler temperatures between 50°F and 65°F, avoiding extreme heat or cold that can cause the plant to falter or stop blooming. It is best to keep the cyclamen away from sources of heat such as radiators, fireplaces, or ovens, as well as drafts from windows, doors, or air conditioners, as these can lead to stress on the plant.

To ensure proper growth and flowering, provide cyclamen with well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and slightly acidic. Commercial potting mixes designed for cyclamen or homemade mixes consisting of equal parts of peat, perlite, and compost can be used. However, it is essential to ensure that the soil remains moist but not waterlogged, as over-watering can cause root rot and tuber rot.

Planting and Transplanting

If you’ve purchased a cyclamen plant in a pot, it’s best to keep it in the same pot until it outgrows it or becomes root-bound. To check if your cyclamen needs repotting, gently lift it out of the pot and examine the roots. If they are circling the edge of the pot or protruding from the drainage holes, it’s time to repot. Here are the steps to follow:

Choose a new pot that is slightly larger than the old one and has drainage holes at the bottom. Fill it with fresh potting mix and make a hole in the center. Carefully remove your cyclamen from the old pot and shake off any excess soil. Inspect the tuber and roots and trim off any damaged or diseased parts.

Place your cyclamen in the new pot and spread the roots evenly. Cover the roots with soil, but leave the top of the tuber exposed. The tuber should be slightly above the soil level, as burying it can cause rotting.

Water your cyclamen well and place it in a bright spot.

If you wish to plant your cyclamen in the garden, it’s best to do so in late summer or early autumn, when the weather is cool and moist. Choose a spot that has partial shade and well-drained soil. Dig a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the tuber and add some compost or organic fertilizer. Place your cyclamen in the hole and cover it with soil, leaving the top of the tuber exposed. Water your cyclamen well and mulch around it to conserve moisture and prevent weeds.

Watering Techniques

Cyclamen requires diligent attention to watering, as it is a crucial aspect of plant maintenance. Regular watering, however, must be done with caution to ensure optimal plant health and flourishing.

One approach to watering is to check the top inch of soil for moisture level. Be vigilant, as the soil can quickly dry out under warm or arid conditions or retain moisture for extended periods under cool or humid conditions.

An alternate method is to place the pot in a tray of water and allow it to soak for about 15 minutes. This ensures that the leaves and tuber are not wet, as it can lead to fungal diseases. Drain any excess water, and discard the tray.

During dormancy or non-flowering periods, such as late spring or summer, cyclamen requires reduced watering. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings completely, but avoid allowing the tuber to shrivel. Re-introduce watering once new growth appears, usually in late summer or autumn.

Feeding and Fertilizing

Cyclamen is an ornamental plant that thrives in nutrient-rich soil and requires regular feeding to produce healthy foliage and flowers. For optimal growth and flowering, it is recommended to use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength or a slow-release granular fertilizer sprinkled on the soil surface.

Feed your cyclamen once every two weeks during its active growth period, from autumn to spring. Do not feed your cyclamen when it is dormant, as it does not need extra nutrients.

Apply fertilizer after watering, to avoid burning the roots. Follow the instructions on the label for dosage and frequency.

Maintain soil fertility by adding organic matter such as compost or leaf mold every year.

Pruning and Deadheading

Prune your cyclamen to remove any dead or yellowing leaves that can harbor pests or diseases. Use clean scissors or hand pruners to cut off the leaves at their base, close to the tuber.

Deadhead your cyclamen to remove spent flowers that can drain energy from the plant. Use your fingers or scissors to pinch off or cut off the flowers at their base, along with their stalks.

Do not cut off any healthy leaves or flowers, as they help the plant store energy for future growth.

Winter Care

Cyclamen are native to regions with cool and moist climates, and they require special attention during winter. To ensure optimal growth and longevity, here are some tips on how to care for cyclamen during the winter season:

Maintain a cool and bright environment: Cyclamen should be placed in a location with a moderate temperature range between 50°F and 65°F (10°C and 18°C), away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. If the temperature drops below 40°F (4°C), bring your cyclamen indoors or cover them with a frost cloth to prevent frost damage.

Water sparingly: Cyclamen should be watered only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Overwatering can cause root rot and lead to plant death. Consider misting your cyclamen occasionally to increase humidity and improve plant health.

Minimize fertilization: Cyclamen do not require a lot of nutrients during winter, so avoid fertilizing them too frequently. A balanced liquid fertilizer can be used once a month at half-strength.

Stop deadheading: Stop deadheading your cyclamen in late winter or early spring to prevent damage to the plant’s reproductive structures. As the flowers and leaves fade and die back, the plant is preparing for dormancy, and this is a normal and natural process.

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