By: Jackie Carroll
Cyclamen make lovely houseplants during their bloom season. Once the blossoms fade the plant enters a period of dormancy, and they can look as though they are dead. Let’s find out about cyclamen dormancy care and what to expect when your plant begins to fade.
During the cyclamen dormant period, the plant may seem to be dead. First, the blossoms shrivel and drop off, and then the leaves yellow and fall. This is a normal part of a cyclamen’s life cycle, and you shouldn’t be alarmed. There are two things you can check to make sure your plant is still alive.
First, look at the calendar. When it’s time for the plant to go dormant, nothing can stop the decline. If you still have doubts, you can push some of the soil aside and check the corm. It should be plump and firm. Soft, shriveled or slimy corms indicate trouble.
Cyclamen are Mediterranean plants, and they follow a typical life cycle for plants from that region. Winters are mild and summers are dry. Plants learn to survive by blooming in winter or early spring and going dormant in the summer when moisture is scarce.
With proper care, dormant cyclamen plants will reemerge in the fall. While they rest, cyclamens need dry soil and dim light. Cool temperatures encourage abundant blossoms during the next cycle.
Stop watering the plant when it enters its decline. If you are using a peat-based potting mixture, you should drizzle a small amount of water onto the soil now and then to keep it from drying completely. Moisture can cause the corm to rot, so use water sparingly, moistening only the surface of the soil.
Move the plant to a brighter location when it shows signs of life in the fall. Water the pot thoroughly, adding a complete liquid fertilizer for flowering plants according to the package instructions. Keep it cool to encourage flowering, with daytime temperatures no higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C.) and night temperatures around 50 degrees F. (10 C.).
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Read more about Cyclamen Plants
Cyclamens are a must for your home and garden and Shirley Bovshow is here to teach us everything we need to know to grow!
C yclamen is a pretty perennial that can last up to 30 years when you know how to look after them properly. Our resident green thumb, Shirley Bovshow will show us how to grow and care for Cyclamen
The great news is they are not a difficult plant to grow. Much like Orchids, Cyclamen flourish when they are given some special attention and nurturing.
One of the common problems in cyclamen plant care is overwatering. The plants need moisture when they are actively growing but shouldn't be kept soggy. Water the plants thoroughly and let the soil or mix partially dry out before again watering thoroughly. For potted plants, water should run out the drainage holes. During summer dormancy, don't water cyclamen. If potted plants are in a peat-based mix, give just enough water to keep the mix from completely drying out and becoming hard. To rehydrate peat mixes, try adding a few drops of liquid dish-washing detergent meant for hand-washing dishes to the water to help it penetrate better. Resume watering when plants break dormancy in the fall. Leaves appear first on florist's cyclamen, with flower production as early as December. In hardy cyclamen, the flowers emerge before or along with the new leaves in September to October. In late spring, withhold water when leaves become yellow in advance of dormancy.
Varieties and Forms:
By Matt Gibson & Erin Marissa Russell
Cyclamen is a small, tender, tuberous perennial plant native to the eastern Mediterranean region. The plant has small, fragrant blooms that sit atop raised stems that rise above its heart-shaped foliage. During the summer months, it dies back to its tuberous root system, then bounces back to life each fall. Its half-inch to three-quarter-inch blooms come in different shades of white, pink, red, and purple. The medium-green leaves are often decorated with silver marbling. Commonly grown indoors as a houseplant, especially as a holiday decoration, mature cyclamen plants can grow six to nine inches tall with a similar width. Cyclamen seeds can be planted in the winter for blooms in the following summer.
Also known as Persian cyclamen, Persian violet, and florist’s cyclamen, the well-loved holiday decorative flower blooms from fall to spring in partial shade and well-draining, moist, nutrient-rich soils. Commonly grown as a houseplant, cyclamen is also a perennial typically hardy to USDA zones nine through eleven, though there are similar Cyclamen species with different hardiness ranges, so there is a cyclamen suited for most US growing zones. Creating a growing environment to suit the needs of the cyclamen plant and providing proper care are important to keeping your cyclamen plants alive and blooming year after year.
There are many different types of cyclamen plants to choose between. Due to their long blooming period, if you shop for cyclamen at your local nursery or gardening center, you’ll be able to see exactly what type of flowers you are going to get before you buy them. Of the most popular species in the cyclamen family, Cyclamen persicum, here are some of the most popular cultivars:
Albidum – The cyclamen albidum variety is a standout with its pure white flowers.
Puniceum – The puniceum variety displays red to carmine-colored blooms.
Roseum – This variety features small rose-pink flowers and medium-green, heart-shaped foliage with marbled silver variegation.
Scentsation (series) – Available in various shades of red and pink, the scentsation varietals are known for their pungent fragrance.
Sierra (series) – The Sierra series is known for its large flowers, which span two to three inches in diameter. Flowers come in purple, lilac, pink, red, white, and salmon.
Victoria – The eye-catching Victoria variety features white flowers decorated with ruffled edges and red markings on the petals.
Other popularly cultivated cyclamen species include:
Cyclamen coum – Hardy to USDA zones 6 and up, cyclamen coum features rounded or heart-shaped pattern foliage and small, brightly-colored flowers that blossom in mid-winter.
Popular varieties include: Album, Blush, Maurice Dryden, Rubrum, Silver Leaf, and Something Magic.
Cyclamen graecum – Though this species is very hard to cultivate as it is not as vigorous as other cyclamen species, it makes up for it in sheer beauty. The tiny, fragrant flowers boast vivid coloration and intricate patterns, and pair well with the plant’s dark-green, velvety-textured foliage. Hardy to zones seven through nine.
Popular varieties include: Glyfada and Rhodopou.
Cyclamen heredifolium – Commonly called ivy leaved cyclamen, this variety is hardy to USDA zones five through seven. Ivy-leaved cyclamen produce blooms in white or white with pink accents in the fall. This species is somewhat cold hardy, and is easy to grow in the home garden.
Popular varieties include: Bowle’s Apollo, Nettleton Silver, Pewter White, Silver Arrow, and White Cloud.
Cyclamen mirabile – Known for its round, silver-dollar-like green and silver leaves and lovely, small blooms, this variety is well suited to partial shade flower beds in zones six through eight.
Popular varieties include: Tilebarn Ann, Tilebarn Jan, and Tilebarn Nicholas.
Persian cyclamen need bright indirect light during the winter time, which is the plant’s active growth period. During the summer dormancy, it is recommended to keep cyclamen plants in mostly dry soil, in a dark, cool location with above average air circulation.
Plant cyclamen in well-draining soils that are rich in organic content such as well-rotted compost, and a slightly acidic pH range. If you are growing cyclamen in pots or containers, mix a bit of sphagnum peat into a standard commercial potting mix in order to raise the acidity levels.
Protect your cyclamen plants from exposure to extreme heat, heavy winds, or dry air conditions. For ideal growing results, attempt to mimic their native growing environment by providing temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the evening hours and between 60 and 70 degrees F during the daytime.
Providing a high-humidity environment, especially during the winter growing period, is very important to successful cyclamen cultivation. To raise humidity, place your plants on trays filled with water and small pebbles, keeping the pot from touching the water by resting it on top of the pebbles and keeping the water level low.
If you bring your cyclamen plants outdoors for a mild summer, take it back inside before the temperatures get cold. An easy way to tell when it is time to bring them indoors is when temperatures are still comfortable enough for you to freshen the air or cool off a stuffy home by opening up your windows.
Cyclamen plants are usually kept indoors in containers. The plants will go dormant during the summer, but can easily be revived to regrow and rebloom in autumn with the proper care. When your cyclamen plants decide to go into dormancy is dependent on the growing conditions provided.
Warm weather exposure will cause the plant to swiftly go dormant. Some gardeners choose to move it outside for the summer to experience a full dormancy each year. However, other gardeners keep it inside their homes in rather cool temperatures, where cyclamen may not completely enter dormancy as it normally would. In cool homes, cyclamen may just lose a few leaves during the summer, look a little leggy, or not bloom for a few months instead of entering full dormancy.
To get your cyclamen plants reblooming, deadhead spent flower stalks by cutting them off at their base. As blooming starts to slow in late spring, let your cyclamen plants dry out for about two or three months time. A little bit of water won’t hurt the plants during dormancy. But be sure to keep the soil from staying wet for too long during the summer months.
When the plant’s leaves are alive and well, the plant has re-entered its growing period. During growth, water the soil whenever it is dry an inch below the soil’s surface. Keep water off of the leaves and crown of the plant to avoid rot issues. When the plant enters dormancy, reduce watering frequency to next to nothing, only occasionally providing water to keep the soil from drying out completely.
Fertilize your cyclamen plant with a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer every two weeks while the plant is showing foliage. Dilute the fertilizer and add it to waterings. There is no need to feed cyclamen plants during their dormant summer period.
Repot your cyclamen plants every two years while it is dormant in the summer, switching to a slightly larger container and adding fresh new potting mix to reinvigorate its soil base. Fill new containers about halfway up with new potting soil. Lift the tubers out of their original container, lightly brushing away the old soil around the tubers. Place the tubers into their new home so that their tops are two inches from the rim and fill in the potting soil around and slightly over the tubers. Keep the planter in a dry, shaded location for the remainder of the summer and begin watering and caring for the plants again around September, as new growth begins developing.
Cyclamen is typically propagated by seed, which should be planted in complete darkness as soon as seeds are ripe. Soaking seeds in lukewarm water for 10 hours prior to planting is recommended. When transplanting, sow very shallow in the soil, so that the top of the tuber remains above the soil to avoid issues with rotting.
There are several diseases and pests that gardeners of cyclamen should be aware of. Keep watch on your plants for the symptoms of the problems listed below so you can roll out prevention or treatment measures as necessary.
Cyclamen plants, while rather needy, are a wonderfully ornamental addition to an indoor container garden, or front borders and beds of any flower garden in the right growing zones. The small, fragrant, decorative plants are dainty, but elegant, and well worth the extra effort. It’s no wonder why they have become such a popular holiday home decoration in the western world. Add cyclamen plants to your indoor living decor, you won’t regret it.
Cyclamen plants are poisonous to household pets if any parts of the plant are ingested. If you are growing cyclamen indoors as a houseplant, place your cyclamen plants in locations that are well out of the reach of your household pets. If you are growing cyclamen outdoors, keep it out of areas that see a lot of pet traffic or areas where your pets have been known to regularly explore. Symptoms of cyclamen poisoning include drooling, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, abnormal heart rate, and occasionally, death.
Hi, I was given a cyclamen for my birthday last November. It has been a beauty all winter long, always covered with blooms. I am hot natured and keep the temps in the 60's during the winter. It is in a bright window. I top watered, but that seemed to be okay. I am only now reading up on this plant, because I thought it was dying. I accidently did ok by it during the winter. Now I am reading all the posts I can find here on cyclamen and realize that it's poor performance now is due to it going dormant. Where should I house it now? I can put it on a shelf of my potting bench outside where it will be shaded and dry. Other choices would be inside in the laundry room or in a closet. What are its requirements when it is dormant? Will all the leaves fall off?
Its been years since I brought a Cyclamen home and I usually donÂt bother writing in about it. But the care it needs is still in my memory so IÂll add my comments for whatever itÂs worth. I wish someone had told me about this plant in my early days. My first cyclamen was a gift in the month of April by my cousin visiting from out of town. I'd never seen it before and fell in love with it. Two weeks later, much to my dismany, the plant's leaves started turning yellow and no matter what I tried, it died (or so I thought). Needless to say that the poor thing ended up in the trash when all it wanted was to take a summer nap :)
Although I miss these plants dearly, I no longer buy Cyclamen because there is absolutely no cool place in my home for me to place it. ItÂs one of those plants that IÂll have to do without for now.
Cyclamen are Mediterranean plants and usually follow three basic rules:
- Start growing in early fall
- Grow through winter and spring
- Go dormant in the summer (while there is no rain and too much sun)
For those of you who have been to Mediterranean countries, you understand about the lack of rain and loads of sun. Once that season hits, it is perfectly natural for cyclamens to revert to their natural habitat ways and want to take a nap for the summer. Even the people in the MediterraneanÂ once summer hits Â will have their afternoon siestas during the summer.
In late April or early May most cyclamens show signs of being tired and will normally go dormant for the summer.
Just when they go dormant is determined to some extent by their growing conditions. Too much heat and sun will encourage early dormancy. But the same cyclamen, if kept in cool conditions, may continue right into mid-May and beyond. But itÂs really the temperature that determines most of it. Too much heat is interpreted by them as summer and summer means snooze time.
For the most part you can expect that by the end of April, most of these plants want to go dormant. My suggestion is to let your plant lead as much as possible and it will let you know exactly when itÂs ready for its nap.
A nice summer siesta outdoors in full shade in your garden is a great place for it. The shelf of your potting bench outside - where it will be shaded and dry - sounds like a terrific place. As long as rainfall and the sun do not hit the plant directly, itÂs fine. All the leaves will go yellow and dry. This process sometimes takes as long as a couple of months. Remove all dead leaves and flowers Â gently. A nice cool place is essential as well as letting the soil become dry.
Most people withhold water and let it rest until September. Some Â more sensitive souls Â feel like theyÂre killing the plant with no water and add just a tiny bit each week I donÂt know :)
Anyhow, donÂt be afraid of this resting period. ItÂs not only necessary for most cyclamen, itÂs welcomed by them. A good resting period is almost always needed by the tuber it helps with the next blooming season.
In early fall, remove the tuber from its pot and shake off any old potting mix. Repot in fresh potting mix, place it in a bright but cool location and water minimally until you see new growth. Once new growth appears, itÂs a sure sign that your cyclamen is awake and ready to grow and (hopefully) rebloom.
Anyhow, thatÂs all she wrote. I hope it helps a little!