Flowering cyclamen, along with poinsettias, are often presented as Christmas or New Year’s gifts. This plant is very beautiful and hardy: some cold-resistant varieties of cyclamen can withstand a thirty-degree cold snap.
However, sometimes you can hear: “Don’t give me cyclamen, they die quickly”. And it’s true that this happens quite often. It’s because alpine violets need to be cared for, and if you learn this simple wisdom, the beautiful cyclamen will become a long-lived plant on your windowsill.
We will tell you about all the details of caring for the cyclamen so that you can have a nice bouquet on your windowsill by Christmas.
Planting and caring for cyclamen
- Flowering: early spring, fall, sometimes all year round.
- Lighting: bright diffused light, light shade.
- Temperature: 6-12 ˚C.
- Watering: during active growth regular, moderate, by way of lower watering.
- Humidity: above usual.
- Fertilizing: Once every two weeks with a diluted solution of mineral fertilizer for flowering house plants.
- Resting period 2-2.5 months after flowering.
- Repotting: once every two years at the end of the dormancy period.
- Propagation: by seeds and by dividing the tuber, if it has more than one growth point.
- Pests: spider mites, aphids, thrips, cyclamen mites.
- Diseases: gray rot, rhizoctoniosis, phytophthora, fusarium wilt.
Cyclamen plant (lat. Cyclamen) belongs to the genus of herbaceous perennials of the Mirsinaceae family, although some scientists count it to the primrose family. The name of the plant comes from the Latin root meaning “round” as a form of cyclamen tubers. The genus has about 20 species. In nature, the cyclamen flower is common in the Mediterranean, Iran and Northeast Africa, but most of all in Turkey. Some species of cyclamen are successfully grown as indoor plants. Cyclamen juice in diluted form is used to treat maxillary sinusitis, but care must be taken as it can burn the mucosa.
Features of cultivation
The cyclamen root is a flattened round corm up to 15 cm in diameter with a single point of growth. Damage it – destroy the bulb. Cyclamen leaves are basal, leathery, heart-shaped, growing on petioles up to 30 cm long, dark green in color with a grayish-silver pattern. The original shape of the flowers is like a strange butterfly – the petals are bent and pointed, sometimes have a fringed shape, and the color palette is incredibly wide – boiling white, pink, all shades of red, maroon and purple. The cyclamen blooms for longer than three months.
There is an opinion that the indoor cyclamen is a capricious plant. Don’t believe it! Cyclamen is unpretentious, just in its agrotechnics, as in the agrotechnics of any other plant, there are certain requirements, the mandatory implementation of which will allow you to easily cope with its cultivation. So:
- Under no circumstances, do not store the tubers of a flowered cyclamen in the refrigerator – after such storage, the bulb will not wake up;
- The cyclamen flower cannot stand the heat and the stuffiness, but it lives very well in a cool room at an uncomfortable temperature for humans of only 6-12 ºC;
- Direct sunlight can cause burns to appear on the cyclamen’s lovely leaves;
- Do not bury the cyclamen tuber in the ground: at least a third of the bulb must remain on the surface;
- Cyclamen do not tolerate an excess of mineral salts in the soil, so be careful with fertilizers;
- Cyclamen pot should be small, so that a layer of soil from the bulb to the wall of the pot is not thicker than 2-3 cm.
Also, often look for cyclamen instead of cyclamen. That’s okay. We will tell you how to grow both flowers.
Growing cyclamen from seed
How to sow seeds
A species like the Persian cyclamen is propagated by seeds. Sow cyclamen seeds in February or March, although cyclamen growing at home can be propagated at any time of the year. The day before planting, soak the seeds for 12 hours in a pale pink solution of manganese or in preparations Epin or Zircon, prepared according to the instructions. Then plant the seeds in a soil mixture for cyclamen consisting of two parts pre-steamed earth, one part tulip or terra vita soil mixture and half a part river sand to loosen the soil.
It’s best if you make a 1 cm deep furrow in the soil, soak it well with water and put the seeds in it 2-3 cm apart. Sprinkle a layer of potting soil on top of the seeds and cover the pot with glass or plastic.
At a temperature of 18-20 ºC it takes 30-60 days for the seeds to germinate, although there are some hardy varieties which can take five months or more!
Planting the cyclamen
When the seedlings have sprouted, take the cover off and put it in a brighter place, but away from direct sunlight! When two true leaves appear, seedlings are piked 2-3 seedlings in one pot, completely covering the tubers with soil. The soil should be loose, like tulip mix or the same mix in which you sowed the seeds. After 6-7 months you can transplant the overgrown cyclamen into pots 6-7 cm in diameter with the same soil mixture. Planting a cyclamen in this case requires deepening of the bulb no more than two-thirds of its size to the point of growth towering above the surface of the soil. If the cyclamen is cared for correctly at home, you will be able to see it bloom in a year and a half after sowing the seeds.
Taking care of a house cyclamen
The cyclamen is a flower which requires bright diffused light and a cool (6-12 ºC) temperature. In addition, you will need to ventilate the room often, but in any case do not arrange in it a draft – for the cyclamen this is unacceptable. Frequent sprinkling will make the humidity in the room more high, which the cyclamen likes, in addition, it can reduce the temperature in the summer heat by a couple of degrees. The plant also needs feeding with a complex fertilizer for flowering plants, but be careful with the consistency – this plant is better underfed than overfed.
How to water
During the active growth period, the cyclamen needs regular watering, but try to do without fanaticism in this matter: watering should be sufficient, but not excessive.
To be sure the plant has enough moisture, use the bottom watering method – put the pot with the cyclamen in a container with water and keep it in until the top layer of soil soaks through, then take the pot out of the water and let the excess flow away. This method, by the way, will not allow moisture to get to the top of the tuber, where the growth point is located, thus the risk of rotting the plant will be minimized.
Cyclamen are propagated by seed, which we described in detail in the previous section, and vegetatively by dividing the tuber. But only those corms with more than one point of growth can be divided, and this happens very rarely. In addition, the process of dividing and rooting a part of the tuber for the amateur often ends in failure, so you can consider that the seed method of reproduction of cyclamen is the only one possible.
Cyclamen after purchase
How to take care of a cyclamen immediately after purchase? Sometimes the day after you bring a cyclamen home, the cyclamen will drop its flowers and even its leaves. Don’t panic – this is quite natural behavior for a cyclamen. He needs to get used to your environment, and you try to create the conditions in which he will be comfortable. The cyclamen flower should occupy the brightest and coolest place at home.
Check the substrate, and if it is dry, let the plant drink, using bottom watering or watering in the tray – in these cases, the plant will receive exactly as much moisture as it needs. Make sure to sprinkle it. Do not feed the cyclamen for two to three months after purchase – plants on sale are well and permanently fertilized.
Cyclamen blooms either in summer or winter, and the time, that is, the duration of flowering of the plant, depends directly on how you follow the rules of care for the cyclamen. As a reminder, the best conditions for long and abundant flowering are plenty of light but not direct sunshine, and a flowering temperature of ºC 10 ºC and ºC 20 ºC. Water either lower or in a tray, so that moisture does not get on the growth point or on the leaves with flowers. Cut back any wilted flowers.
How to transplant
Transplant the cyclamen into a new substrate about once every two years if the pot has become too small for the bulb. This should be done at the end of the dormancy period before the beginning of active vegetation.
But remember that cyclamen do not need a spacious pot, it blooms well only in a close one when the layer of soil from the bulb to the wall of the pot is not thicker than 2-3 cm. For example, for a bulb of 1-1,5 years of age, a pot with a diameter of 7-8 cm, and for two to three-year bulbs – a diameter of 14-15 cm.
In a new pot, put clay pebbles for drainage, a layer of fresh substrate, then the bulb together with the root ball and add enough substrate to submerge the tuber by two-thirds. Tamp the soil well. A transplanted cyclamen will not need fertilizer until after a month.
Repotting after purchase
Repotting cyclamen after purchase is only done if it is in a dormant period, which in itself is strange – well, who buys a bulb buried in the soil? If you bought a flowering cyclamen, wait until it blooms and rests and then, at the very beginning of vegetation, if the bulb is cramped or you want to change the technical plastic pot to a beautiful one, transplant the cyclamen as described. Or if it feels good in its old pot, you’d better put the ugly cyclamen in a nice pot.
Pests and diseases
If you follow the rules of care for the cyclamen neither insects nor viral or bacterial diseases do not threaten your flower, but improper care for cyclamen at home can lead to rotting of the bulb with chronic overwatering of the soil or the appearance of spider mites with insufficient watering. Correct your mistakes as soon as possible and don’t make them again, and then you won’t have any problems with the cyclamen or you with it.
Cyclamen turning yellow.
If you follow the rules for watering the plant and the cyclamen still turns yellow, then it may just be hot. Spray it as often as possible and if possible find a cooler place for it, otherwise the cyclamen can start to dry out from the heat.
If the leaves start to turn yellow after the cyclamen has bloomed, then the cyclamen is just getting ready for its resting phase and your worry is unfounded.
Cyclamen not blooming
If a cyclamen does not get enough water when watering or if you do not take care of the right amount of humidity indoors, you are unlikely to see a cyclamen bloom. The cyclamen will also not bloom if the room is too warm, especially if it is not used to the temperature. Sometimes, over time, the plant gets used to the high temperature in the dwelling and if all the other conditions you respect, the cyclamen finally starts to bloom.
Cyclamen after blooming
When flowering is over, the cyclamen’s leaves gradually turn yellow, indicating that it is preparing for its resting period. It is better to remove the yellow leaves, but not to cut them off, but to twist them until they separate from the bulb. Watering is gradually reduced and water the resting tuber in the ground only rarely, moving the plant in a shady place until the cyclamen again do not appear signs of life.
In culture, mainly two species of cyclamen are grown – Persian and European, as well as their derivatives.
European cyclamen, or alpine violet
This is a tuberous plant with small leaves and fragrant pink-lilac flowers, but has varieties of white, carmine and other colors. In culture since 1607. The European cyclamen is much more tolerant of normal home temperatures than other species, but also prefers cool air to stuffy air. This species has no pronounced dormancy period, in addition, its tubers sometimes grow daughter bulbs, which can be used for propagation. European cyclamen blooms from late spring to almost winter, feels great in summer on a balcony or in the garden, but under the mandatory protection from sunlight and from penetration into the pot of slugs and earthworms, for which the pot is covered with an ordinary capron stocking.
Cyclamen Persian, or crappie.
More popular in culture than all other species because of the incredible beauty of its flowers, which, when unfurled, seem to turn inside out and grow petals downward until the plant drops them without any trace of wilting. The coloring of the flowers is pink, dark purple, lilac, white, and bright pink, with the flower’s phloem in a different shade in most cases. The leaves of the Persian cyclamen are larger and more beautiful than those of the European cyclamen, they are not inferior in decorativeness to the flowers. Recently, very popular dwarf varieties of Persian Cyclamen, which are much better tolerant of room temperature than instances of large varieties. The Persian cyclamen blooms from late fall to early spring and then goes into a 9-month resting period. In culture since 1731.
Next to the two most popular house plants there are the African cyclamen, the Horse cyclamen, the Cyclamen of Cyprus, the Greek cyclamen, the amazing cyclamen, the Cyclamen of small flowers, the Cyclamen of Cilicia and others, which are mainly found in the wild.
- Why do cyclamen leaves curl?
The reason may be a decrease in immunity due to improper nutrition: use complex mineral fertilizers for plant nutrition.
If the flower is in close proximity to heaters, especially during the flowering period, this can also cause the leaves to curl. The optimum temperature is 14 ⁰C, but make sure that the cyclamen is not exposed to draughts.
Leaves can react in a similar way to pests. Examine the plant carefully and if you find mites or insects, treat it with a suitable product.
It is also important to ensure correct watering – never allow the soil to become chronically wet. Cyclamen tolerate drought much better than over-watering.
Determine the cause, eliminate it and strictly adhere to the rules of care of the plant in the future.
- Cyclamen has shed its leaves – what are the causes?
“Cyclamen” from the Greek translates as “circle”, “wheel” or “ring”. Cyclamen tubers have a nearly perfect round shape. Apparently, this feature was the reason that the plant was named cyclamen. However, there is an opinion that the name “cyclamen” is related to the flowering cycle, although this justification seems a bit of a stretch to us.
The scientific name cyclamen came into our language from the French language. This plant also has other names: sagweed, pig’s bread, alpine violet, but “cyclamen” is the most common and familiar name.
- Why is the cyclamen so named?
“Cyclos” from the Greek translates as “circle,” “wheel,” or “ring.” Cyclamen tubers have a nearly perfect rounded shape. Apparently, this feature was the reason that the plant was named cyclamen. However, there is an opinion that the name “cyclamen” is related to the flowering cycle, although this justification seems a bit of a stretch to us.
The scientific name cyclamen came into our language from the French language. This plant also has other names: sagweed, pig’s bread, alpine violet, but “cyclamen” is the most common and familiar name.
- Cyclamen changes color – why?
This usually happens when two tubers of different varieties are planted in a pot: one plant forms, for example, crimson flowers, and the other – white. But sometimes it happens that the same tuber gives flowers of different colors. This is usually due to insufficient light.
If you bought a crimson cyclamen and suddenly found that the new buds and flowers are noticeably pale and almost white, move the flower to the lightest window sill. Even daily sunbathing in the morning or after 4 pm will not harm this plant.
Sometimes this effect occurs due to a lack of fertilizer or is the result of a mutation.
- What soil is suitable for cyclamen?
The hydrogen index of the soil for cyclamen should be between 5.5-6.5 units. If you do not want to bother with the preparation of the soil mixture, you can buy soil “Tulip” in the store or soil mixture for begonias, but you will need to add sand to them, pour Phytosporin-M, and then make wood ash.
You can also mix the soil yourself, taking 4 parts of sod soil, 2 parts of sand and greenhouse soil each, and add 1 part of sand. There is another recipe, for which you will need equal parts of leaf soil, peat and loosener – sand or agroperlite. Thoroughly mix the ingredients and pour the resulting mixture Phytosporin-M or boiling pale pink solution of manganese.
- What is the difference between the Persian cyclamen and the European cyclamen?
European cyclamen (alpine violet) does not have a pronounced dormancy period and can bloom for up to 9 months in a row. He easily adapts to the temperature of the room, not particularly suffering even in the summer heat. However, it still prefers cool air. This plant has small flowers and leaves, and is inferior in decorativeness to the Persian cyclamen species
Cyclamen Persian (crappie) is distinguished by large, incredibly beautiful flowers and no less attractive large leaves covered with a light intricate pattern. But many lovers of houseplants complain about the capriciousness of this species: the Persian cyclamen requires a certain temperature and lighting. Often there are also difficulties with watering the Dryakva. However, recently there have appeared dwarf hybrids, which are much easier to tolerate the warm air of our apartments and are not so demanding to other conditions of maintenance.
- Do I need to trim my cyclamen?
The so-called pruning of the cyclamen is carried out after the end of flowering: remove yellowing leaves and flower stalks. And the flower arrows should not be cut off, but twisted at the base until they separate. If the flower stalks are cut off, the stumps left by them may cause the tuber to rot. At the same time, you should strongly reduce watering and completely refuse to fertilize, to give the plant the opportunity to recover.
- How to propagate cyclamen vegetatively?
European cyclamen reproduce in two vegetative ways: by dividing the tuber and rosettes. Plants at least four years old with a developed root system are suitable for this. Use a sterile knife to cut the tuber in half so that each parting has a shoot and a root.The cuts are covered with carbon powder and dried for a day. Then the halves are planted in pots filled with drainage and suitable soil
If your cyclamen forms horns (rosettes) separate the offshoot at the very base, plant it immediately in moist substrate and cover it with a glass jar. Rooting usually occurs in two to three weeks, and then the young cyclamen begins to form a tuber.
Cyclamen Persian can also be propagated both by division and by rosettes, but the offshoots of this species root very poorly: out of ten horns, only one takes root. As for the division of the tuber, in beginners this process rarely ends with success.
- How to save a withered cyclamen
Often mistakes in the care of the cyclamen lead to the death of the plant. To understand whether it can be saved, you need to determine the cause of the problem and how bad the damage is. But in any case, you will need fresh sterile substrate, drainage material and a new disinfected container with drainage holes.
If the flower is withered, remove any damaged terrestrial organs and sprinkle carbon powder over the cuts. Then remove the tuber, treat it with a pale pink solution of manganese, keep it at room temperature for 24 hours and plant it in a new pot with sterile substrate. Keep the pot in the shade for two days, and then you can put it in familiar conditions. Water the transplanted tuber sparingly, but to maintain the necessary humidity of the air should be placed near the cyclamen container with water or moistened sphagnum.
- Cyclamen tuber rotting – what to do?
If the tuber of the cyclamen is affected by rotting, then it happened because of improper watering: water should be poured into the tray, so that the plant absorbed moisture by the roots. After a while, the water remaining in the tray is poured out. When watering the soil from above, the water gets on top of the tuber and the leaves, which causes rotting processes.
Cut diseased leaves of the cyclamen, remove the rotting tuber from the ground, examine it, cut out the affected areas to healthy tissue with sterile tools, treat the wounds with a solution of fungicide, sprinkle crushed charcoal and dry the tuber at room temperature for 24 hours. Then plant the tuber in sterile substrate, immersing it in half or two-thirds of the height: the point of growth should be above the surface level.
- Read about the subject on Wikipedia
- Features and other plants of the primrose family
- All Species List at The Plant List
- More information at World Flora Online