The exquisite blooms of Cyclamens bring so much cheer and colour into the home during the colder winter months. There are numerous colour varieties to choose from, including dwarf, bi-coloured and fragrant varieties. The green and silver-marbled, heart-shaped leaves also add extra detail to these sumptuous plants.
Cyclamens are perennial tuberous plants native to the severe environments of the Middle East, including Palestine, Syria, Israel, Turkey, Tunisia and even Mediterranean islands.
The plants emerge during the cool, moist autumn months and retreat again into dormancy in late spring and summer when the days get longer and warmer. There are an estimated 20 species of Cyclamen, the one that is most well-known is Cyclamen persicum, the parent of most indoor varieties in South Africa.
With the proper care, Cyclamens will continue to reward your home and garden with their lavish blooms year after year. In this article, we share all the tips and advice you will need to take care of your Cyclamens, indoors and outdoors.
General Cyclamen Care
Position (light and temperature)
Cyclamens enjoy cool, moist conditions during the flowering period so refrain from putting your plant in direct sunlight, close to a heater or fireplace, or any area with warm, dry conditions. Keep it in a brightly lit area and keep the temperature range between 4 °C and 25 °C. If your potted plants are outdoors, ensure they are not exposed to frost as they are not frost-tolerant.
The most important thing you can know about watering your Cyclamen is that it should be done from the bottom. Watering from below ensures that the crown of the plant does not get wet, which could lead to rotting or the development of Botrytis. You can tell when the tuber is rotting if the soil is moist and all the leaves have wilted. The best way to water your Cyclamen is by placing the pot in a bowl of water and allowing it to soak up water from below until the topsoil is moist. Allow the plant to dry out between waterings.
Cyclamens can tolerate a variety of soils but prefer rich, fertile, well-draining soil.
Feed your Cyclamens with a liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
Keep your plant neat and tidy by removing spent blooms and withered leaves by gently twisting or cutting the stems near the base of the plant. Removing spend flowers also encourages new flowers.
Tip | When purchasing your Cyclamen, select a plant that has plenty of new flower buds.
As we enter the warmer months, you will see the flowers will start to fade and the leaves discolour and wilt. Do not despair, you have not killed your plant, it is just following its natural cycle as it prepares for dormancy. When you see these signs, reduce watering and allow your plants to dry out. Place your potted plant in a dry, cool and shady position and clearly mark the pot with the date and name of your Cyclamen.
When autumn comes around again, gradually start watering and feeding your plant as the new growth appears. In this way, you’ll be able to enjoy your Cyclamens for many more seasons to come!
Cyclamen entering into dormancy.
Growing Cyclamens Outdoors
Not many know this, but Cyclamens actually perform wonderfully outdoors. Planted out in cool, shady areas that receive a bit of morning sun, these beautiful plants look incredible, especially when planted in groups.
Although frost tender, if they are planted in the correct position or given some frost protection, they will flourish even in the Highveld. Similar to potted Cyclamens indoors, feed at least once a month with liquid fertiliser during the active growing season and slowly reduce watering as summer approaches.
Cyclamen tubers can be left in the ground or lifted and stored in a cool, dark place during summer, and planted out again in autumn.
Share you Cyclamens by using the hashtag #Cyclamen in your post!
For more information on Cyclamens or to explore a few varieties, tap the profiles below.