Plants

Complete Guide to Cyclamen: How to Plant & Care for Cyclamen Plants

Read our complete guide to Cyclamen Flowers for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting and caring for Cyclamen plants.
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The cyclamen is a beautiful winter-blooming plant that’s a popular choice for indoor growing. Cyclamen make excellent pot plants to liven up a room and bring the living space some character. Growing cyclamen indoors requires you to understand how to care for these plants if you want them to produce the pretty flowers that are a delight to behold.

Since cyclamen flowers around the holidays, they’re a popular gift plant. The flowers last for ages, and they’re absolutely gorgeous. After the plants finish flowering, they enter a dormancy state during the early spring.

Many gardeners make the mistake of throwing their cyclamen away at this stage, assuming it died. However, by providing the plant with the right care, you can get your cyclamen to come back and flower year after year.

Varieties of Cyclamen

There are plenty of different varieties of cyclamen available for indoor growing. Some have rounded flowers, while others have feathered or rugged edges. There are also dwarf species available for a cute houseplant that suits studios and small apartments that need a touch of nature.

All varieties produce light, brightly-colored flowers that float atop the heart-shaped leaves. Cyclamen has a dark side to their pretty appearance. All types are toxic to humans and animals. Consuming the flowers can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress and the need to visit the emergency room.

Keep these plants out of reach of children and pets.

Cyclamen Seeds are Available from Amazon

Growing Season for Cyclamen Plants

Cyclamen come from countries in the southern hemisphere. Therefore, they have an inverse flowering season to plants that are native to the northern hemisphere. When growing them indoors in a controlled climate, these flowers bloom in the winter and then go into a dormant state during the spring and summer.

The plants are popular in the northern states, where the winters are icy. Most people keep their thermostats on in their home, simulating the natural environmental conditions these plants need to thrive and flower in their native southern hemisphere.

Since the cyclamen grows in an inverse relationship to its environment, you’ll need to know how to care for the unique needs of the plant. This guide will give you everything you need to know about caring for your cyclamen.

Bright pink flowers of the Cyclamen plant
Bright pink flowers of the Cyclamen plant

How Do I Care for Cyclamen Indoors?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when growing cyclamen indoors is assuming that the plant grows all-year-round.

Cyclamen require a resting, or dormancy, period, where they recover from the stress of the growing season. After rejuvenating itself, the plant returns to flower in the following growing season, which is during the wintertime in the United States.

Without the plant getting the rest it needs during the dormancy period, the plant will die. You’ll notice that the foliage starts to turn yellow after the flowering period, and that’s a sign of the cyclamen going into its dormancy period. This yellowing effect is entirely normal.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to water the plant or add fertilizer. This strategy affects the dormancy period, and you might end up killing your cyclamen. Let the plant rest, and it will return in the winter.

Potted Cyclamen plants
Potted Cyclamen plants

Temperature and Climate Conditions for Cyclamen

Cyclamen are fuzzy about the climate conditions in your home. If the temperature gets to warm, they could enter the dormancy period earlier. The plants enjoy a moderate temperature, but cool conditions for prolonged periods will damage the growth of the plant.

The ideal indoor temperatures for growing cyclamen are between 50 to 70F. It’s preferable to keep it toward the cooler side if you want to prolong the flowering period. Avoid leaving the plant near an air vent, as cold drafts may stop your cyclamen from flowering.

Place your cyclamen in the coolest room of your home, and avoid leaving it in rooms with fireplaces or heaters.

How Do I Water Cyclamen Plants?

Watering cyclamen requires a different strategy to most other houseplants. Similar to African violets, the cyclamen doesn’t like getting its leaves wet. When watering, make sure you only water around the base of the plant under the leaves. Don’t use a spray gun for watering as the wet leaves become vulnerable to disease.

Another watering strategy is to ensure you’re using a pot with plenty of holes in the bottom. Place the pot on a drip tray, and then fill the tray with water. The soil will draw the water up toward the roots, quenching the plant. A few hours later, throw out any remaining water in the tray to prevent root rot.

Avid overwatering your cyclamen. These plants don’t enjoy having their “feet wet” for prolonged periods. Let the soil dry out slightly between waterings to improve airflow around the roots and avoid the growth of pathogens like fungi and mildew. For best results, use the same pot you would use when planting an African violet.

Cyclamen ready for a window sill
Cyclamen ready for a window sill

How Much Humidity Do Cyclamen Need?

Cyclamen don’t enjoy growing in dry climates. These plants need some humidity in the air to thrive indoors. If your home has an HVAC system, then the chances are that it removes a lot of the humidity from the air circulating through your home. As a result, your cyclamen might fail to flower.

Increase the humidity in your home by running a humidifier near your cyclamen. Alternatively, you could place pebbles in the drip tray and leave the pot on top of the stones. Fill the tray, but ensure that the base of the pot doesn’t sit in the water.

The heat from your home will cause the water to evaporate, creating a humid micro-climate around the plant. You can also grow dwarf varieties in the bathroom. Leave them on a windowsill and let them absorb the steam from the air after your shower.

How Much Light Do I Give My Cyclamen?

Cyclamen plants enjoy indirect sunlight. Leave them in an area of your home that’s bright, but ensure that the sun’s rays don’t get on them during the day. Direct sunlight may cause yellowing of the foliage.

Leave your cyclamen in an east or west-facing room, so they enjoy the warmth of the morning and afternoon.

How do I Fertilize Cyclamen?

In most cases, cyclamen don’t require much in the way of fertilizer throughout the year. However, when the late fall arrives, you can spur growth and boost flowering by adding a liquid-based fertilizer at half strength every 2 to 4-weeks.

Stop fertilizing the plants after the flowers start to fade and lose their luster. Make sure you never add fertilizer during the dormancy period, or you could damage or kill your cyclamen. As a rule of thumb, feed your cyclamen while the leaves are still green.

Cyclamen prefer soils that drain well and contain the essential nutrients they need to thrive. The addition of peat and vermiculite enhances the drainage of the soil while keeping it moist.

Miracle-Gro Liquafeed is perfect for Cyclamen

When Do Cyclamen Enter Dormancy?

When the flowers start to fade, and the tips of the leaves start to turn yellow, the cyclamen is beginning to enter the dormancy period. If you care for your plant the right way during the dormancy, then it will return to flower the following winter.

Stop watering and feeding your plant as soon as you notice the foliage turning yellow. Remove all of the dead leaves from your cyclamen, and place the pot in a cool, dark room or cupboard for the next 2 to 3-months.

It’s important to dry out the plant in the dormancy period, and don’t water it until the following growing season.

In the early fall, bring your cyclamen back to life by giving it its first drink of water. Soak the soil and then allow the excess to drain. Wait until you see signs of new shoots before you water your cyclamen again.

After the plant starts to produce new leaves, start watering as per your ordinary seasonal guide above. After the leaves begin to appear, you can expect the flowers to bloom in the following 2 to 3-weeks.

Stunning colors of the Cyclamen
Stunning colors of the Cyclamen

How Do I Propagate Cyclamen?

After a few years, your cyclamen might start to get too big for its pot. You can dig up the plant and divide the tubers, planting them in separate containers to propagate the plant successfully.

Each tuber grows into a new plant, and most of the cyclamen you buy at nurseries are from propagated plants. Growing cyclamen from seed is only for experienced gardeners, and the growth rate is much slower than with propagated cyclamen.

What Are the Pests and Diseases Affecting Cyclamen?

Cyclamen are indoor plants, so they suffer less from infestation and disease than those grown outdoors. However, these plants are susceptible to some pests, such as spider mite. If your plants develop spider mite, you’ll notice tiny webs in the foliage.

If left unmanaged, the spider mites feed off of the leaves of the plant, producing yellow spots in the foliage. You can eliminate spider mite using an organic pesticide. The plant should recover in a week or two.

Fungus gnats may also become an issue if the soil remains too moist for prolonged periods. Let the soil dry out and then position some sticky tape around the plant and pot to catch and kill the gnats.

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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