SUNDAY GARDENING – Caring For A Cyclamen (VIDEO)

Contributed By Martha Plousos

An impressive and compact blooming plant, the cyclamen boasts flowers that range in shades of white, pink, lavender and red. In addition to the regular-sized, widely-recognized cyclamen, there are now charming miniatures available in greenhouses that share the same overall splendor as their larger counterparts but with smaller and more delicate leaves and flowers. Both small and large versions are in their prime when they arrive at your local greenhouse. If you choose wisely, this plant can stay in bloom for several weeks. To select a healthy specimen, check for sturdy stems, vibrant flowers, several unopened buds and leaves that are shiny and firm. Stay away from plants with yellowing leaves and fading blooms. Make sure to conduct the general inspection that you do with all new plants: presence of insects, water damage, signs of disease.

In your home, provide your plant with bright light but not direct midday rays. Cyclamen typically grow in woodlands where they are partially shaded from intense sun so they are able to adapt to bright but filtered light. Direct exposure to midday sun can damage their delicate leaves. A north or east-facing window is ideal. Both will provide adequate light and keep your plant healthy. A cyclamen, like most houseplants, will also not object to the subtle and brief morning sun of an eastern windowsill.

The cyclamen is native to southern Europe and countries around the Mediterranean. But despite its origins, it prefers cool conditions. Unlike many other flowering plants that want to stay warm, this one prefers cool, wet winters and long, dry summers and will bloom happily with limited daylight. Indoors, under your care, your cyclamen prefers a cool spot (no warmer than 20°C (68°F) during the day and a cooling down to 12°C (55°F) or even 10°C (50°F) at night. Temperatures like these are difficult to provide because they’re not very people-friendly. But if you are able to provide this element, it’ll boost flower longevity and the overall well-being of your plant. An environment that is too warm can cause yellowing of leaves, flower bud loss and premature fading of blooms.

Growing from tubers that are half buried in the soil, cyclamen do not appreciate when their potting mixture is flooded but do prefer to be kept sufficiently moist; this plant should never be allowed to dry out completely while growing actively. Soil that is kept too wet, too often can cause yellowing of leaves, premature bud loss and the fatal result of plant death due to rot. You can water the soil from above but with great vigilance; make sure you never pour water directly on the plant’s tuber, leaves or flowers. 

Try to water from the edge of the pot to avoid problems. Typically, since cyclamen are rather fussy plants, it’s recommended to water only from below. Immerse the pot in a shallow container with tepid water and let the plant stay in there until the soil is glistening with moisture. Lift the plant out and allow it to drain well. You can also water by filling up the saucer under your plant’s pot and allowing your cyclamen to draw up moisture. After half an hour, dump the excess; roots should never be allowed to stand in water or they will rot.

Humidity is very much appreciated by this beauty so keeping the levels healthy will be very beneficial to your plant; it is especially crucial while the plant is flowering. Setting the pot on top of a pebble tray filled with water or investing in a humidifier are just a couple of ways to help maintain higher levels of humidity. While your plant is in bloom, feed it every 2 – 3 weeks with a mild liquid fertilizer.


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