Cyclamen, with their vibrant flowers and interesting leaves, are popular houseplants that can bring a touch of beauty to any indoor space. If you want to keep your cyclamen plant thriving year after year, proper care is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about how to grow cyclamen successfully.
Cyclamen plants belong to the genus Cyclamen, which consists of about 20 tuberous perennials. These plants are native to the Mediterranean region, including countries like France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. They are known for their beautiful pink and white flowers and are often grown for their ornamental value.
Different Varieties of Cyclamen
There are several varieties of cyclamen to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular varieties include:
- Cyclamen persicum: Also known as florist’s cyclamen or Persian cyclamen, this variety is commonly grown in pots indoors. It goes dormant in the summer and regrows in the fall, producing vibrant flowers.
- Cyclamen hederifolium: This variety slowly naturalizes and forms sheets of flowers in autumn. It has attractive marbled leaves, making it a popular choice for indoor decoration.
- Cyclamen coum: With round leaves and small flowers in white, pink, or magenta, Cyclamen coum blooms in the depths of winter. It pairs beautifully with snowdrops, adding cheer to any space.
Ideal Growing Conditions
To successfully grow cyclamen, it’s important to provide them with the right growing conditions. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Temperature: Cyclamen thrive in cool temperatures, ideally between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (10-18 degrees Celsius) during the day. Avoid exposing them to temperatures above 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), as this can cause the plant to deteriorate.
- Light: Cyclamen prefer bright indirect light. Place them near a window that receives ample sunlight, but avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.
- Soil: Cyclamen prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Use a potting mix that is slightly acidic and has good water-holding capacity.
- Watering: Proper watering is crucial for cyclamen care. Water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch, but avoid overwatering. Ensure that the pot has proper drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.
- Humidity: Cyclamen plants appreciate a humid environment. You can increase humidity by placing a tray of water and pebbles beneath the pot or using a humidifier.
Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Cyclamen
Now that you understand the basics of cyclamen care, let’s dive into a step-by-step guide on how to grow cyclamen successfully:
Step 1: Choosing a Healthy Cyclamen Plant
When selecting a cyclamen plant, look for one with healthy green foliage and butterfly-shaped buds that are just opening. Avoid plants with yellowing leaves or faded flowers. Each variety of cyclamen may have specific care instructions, so refer to the plant tag for guidance.
Step 2: Providing the Right Environment
Create an ideal growing environment for your cyclamen by considering the following factors:
- Temperature: Maintain a temperature range of 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit (10-18 degrees Celsius) during the day and slightly cooler at night.
- Light: Place the cyclamen plant near a window that receives bright indirect light. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight.
- Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix that is slightly acidic and rich in organic matter.
- Watering: Water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch. Ensure proper drainage to avoid waterlogging.
Step 3: Maintaining Proper Watering
Proper watering is crucial for the health of your cyclamen plant. Follow these guidelines:
- Water the plant from the bottom to prevent water from touching the leaves and stems, which can cause rot.
- Water only when the soil feels dry, but don’t wait until the plant shows visible signs of wilting.
- Ensure thorough watering, allowing any excess water to drain away. Avoid leaving the plant in standing water.
Step 4: Fertilizing Cyclamen
Fertilize your cyclamen plant every few weeks while it is blooming. Choose a water-soluble fertilizer formulated for houseplants and dilute it to half-strength. Over-fertilizing can negatively impact the plant’s ability to rebloom.
Step 5: Pruning and Deadheading
To promote continuous blooming, remove faded flowers and seed heads by cutting the stems near the base of the plant. Also, eliminate any yellow or withered leaves. This will redirect the plant’s energy towards new growth and blooming.
Step 6: Dormancy Period
After the cyclamen plant finishes blooming, it enters a dormant state. The leaves will turn yellow and fall off, resembling a dying plant. However, it is important to understand that the plant is not dead but resting. During this period, adjust your care routine as follows:
- Reduce watering gradually as the leaves die back.
- Place the plant in a cool, somewhat dark location.
- Allow the plant to rest for about two months.
Step 7: Rejuvenating the Plant
Once the dormancy period is over, it’s time to bring the cyclamen back to life. Follow these steps:
- Resume watering, ensuring the soil is thoroughly soaked.
- Check the tuber to see if it has outgrown the pot. If necessary, repot it into a larger container.
- As new leaves start to grow, return the plant to its previous growing conditions.
- Regularly water and fertilize the plant, following the care instructions specific to your cyclamen variety.
Step 8: Enjoying the Blooms Again
With proper care, your cyclamen plant will reward you with another round of beautiful blooms. Continue to monitor its watering, lighting, and temperature requirements, and enjoy the vibrant colors and delicate flowers it brings to your indoor space.
Additional Tips and Precautions
- Keep cyclamen plants away from drafts, as they are sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
- Avoid placing cyclamen near heating vents or radiators, as this can cause the air to become too dry.
- Remember that cyclamen plants are toxic to both humans and pets when ingested. Keep them out of reach of children and animals.
By following these guidelines and providing the right care, you can successfully grow cyclamen as a beautiful houseplant. Enjoy the vibrant blooms and the joy they bring to your home!