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David Beaulieu

Care for Cyclamen Plants

By January 12, 2007

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Perhaps you received a cyclamen plant as a holiday gift, and now you're wondering about the proper care for cyclamen plants. Luckily, you won't need a green thumb, as the care for cyclamen plants isn't all that demanding. Need information on the proper potting soil, water, humidity, fertilizer, light and temperature? No problem. Marie Iannotti, About's Gardening Guide, tells you about all that and more in this article on the care for cyclamen plants.

Comments

July 9, 2008 at 2:15 pm
(1) Celane says:

My Cyclamen has a small ball at the end of the stems I thought they would be a flower, One had dried almost completely and I opened it and little seeds were inside. I guess it is in the dormat stage and I did repot it but am curious about what these things are.

July 9, 2008 at 2:25 pm
(2) landscaping says:

Celane,

I think you already guessed what these balls are on your cyclamen plants: seed pods.

August 22, 2008 at 8:46 am
(3) Janet says:

I have two Cyclamen plants at work and neither ever goes into a dormant state! The pink one has continually bloomed for at least 6 years and is full of leaves. The red one has bloomed as well but without many leaves. The “cones” that the leaves and blooms come from are now about 2 inches high. I’m concenred that they are getting to large and I should be doing something for them but haven’t found any information to help. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Janet

November 8, 2008 at 7:43 pm
(4) chickadee says:

I have just been given a cyclamen to try to save… it has only a few leaves yet and those are on gangly stems. The bulb looks like it could have some fungus or something on it. I’d like to save its life… any thoughts?

November 10, 2008 at 8:03 pm
(5) David Beaulieu says:

Chickadee,

Sorry, I don’t have much expertise with the house plant, cyclamen. Look at the list of trouble-shooting problems on this site.

May 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm
(6) Pat says:

I have three cyclamen plants that are doing OK. I have read that they should be watered from the bottom. Does anyone know if they would do well if I planted them in violet pots? These are the double pots with the water in the bottom half.

April 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm
(7) Carole Whelpley says:

My cyclamen is 2 yrs old. It has the most beautiful pink flowers and lots of leaves. I never ever watered it from the bottom. I just water the soil on top and I also put the Miracle Gro little sticks in once a month.. 3 … during growing season and use African Violet Miracle Gro soil. I have kept it in a clay pot with the clay dish underneath because I believe they breathable for plants and much better than man made plastic . It’s been happy as a house plant. I just transplanted it into a bigger clay pot from the nursery. My problem is mostly with my kitty, Beanie Baby ! I keep it high on books and things.. but.. she still tries to get it and I can’t find something high enough to protect it. :) I kept it on my patio all last summer . Good luck

June 7, 2009 at 9:17 pm
(8) Shirley says:

What can you do with the seed pod? Start a new plant?

June 20, 2009 at 8:47 am
(9) landscaping says:

Shirley,

The following is a distillation of the remarks on propagating cyclamen from seed on Cyclamen.org:

1.Sow cyclamen seed as soon as it is ripe (it will turn light brown in its pod when ripe).

2.Soak the cyclamen seed in warm water for about 1 day before sowing.

3.The container in which you’re attempting to germinate the cyclamen seeds should be located in a shady place.

4.Keep soil in container moist

5.Best temperature for cyclamen seeds to germinate: 55-60F.

June 28, 2009 at 11:25 am
(10) Pip says:

It seems my plant is going dormant. Do I need to prune off any of the wilting stems?

June 29, 2009 at 3:18 pm
(11) landscaping says:

Pip,

Here’s what cylcamen.org has to say (in response to a reader’s question) about care for cyclamen plants that have gone dormant in summer:

“Yours are probably florists cultivars of Cyclamen persicum, which is a spring flower-er, but the cultivars will flower all through the growing season. Putting it simply, your plant is going dormant for the summer, and you should stop watering until September/Early October.”

August 27, 2009 at 5:08 pm
(12) Hannah says:

I think I may have overwatered my cyclamen as the leaves are starting to yellow and look strange. Have I rotted the tuber? Is there anything I can do to save it?

August 28, 2009 at 8:52 am
(13) landscaping says:

Hannah,

If you’ve truly rotted the cyclamen tuber, there’s nothing you can do. If you’re not sure whether the tuber is rotted, re-pot your cyclamen in fresh potting soil, go easy on the watering for a while, and see how it responds.

November 16, 2009 at 11:58 am
(14) Jan Richardson says:

My cyclaman is about 6 years old and now it looks like it is trying to split; it has two “heads”. Do I try to split it or just leave it alone. It is a very special plant to me as if came from my Mother’s funeral and I want to keep it alive. Help!

November 19, 2009 at 10:39 am
(15) landscaping says:

Jan,

If your cyclamen plant is too big for its pot, you can either repot it or divide it. To divide, carefully slice through the crown with a sharp knife. In dividing cyclamen plants, the objective is to come away with separate tubers, each of which has shoots attached to it.

January 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm
(16) angelriver says:

Those little balls that don’t bloom need to be removed: simply twist (do not cut) the stem until it breaks off. Do not pull or you will damage the plants system — just twist it off.

February 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm
(17) Peggee says:

My cyclamen I just received a few weeks ago is looking very bad…all of the leaves and buds are drooping over the side of the pot and are all very soft. I am not sure if I over watered it or what…I was doing like I saw and after repotting watered it from the bottom but then a couple days later it started drooping. Have I killed it, please help!

February 18, 2010 at 9:06 am
(18) landscaping says:

Peggee,

You mentioned that you repotted your cyclamen plant, so perhaps it is suffering from transplant shock. If that’s the case, your only option is to be patient with it. You’re smart to be watering it from the bottom and should continue to do so.

February 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm
(19) Aunt York says:

I see that several people think it best or smart to water from the bottom with this plant. I was just given one and I’m wondering if placing it in a self-watering pot would be best? And can you recommend a good liquid fertilizer?

February 23, 2010 at 11:48 am
(20) landscaping says:

Aunt York,

I don’t happen to use self-watering pots, but I’ll comment on the fertilizer. Any low-nitrogen fertilizer should be fine. On any of the popular brands, look for an NPK of 5-10-5 or 5-10-10.

May 30, 2010 at 9:33 am
(21) sybil says:

I received a cyclamen for Christmas. Now the older leaves are going yellow and drying; the new leaves go crinkly (like Savoy cabbage) , with a white band as soon as they come out. What should I do?

October 25, 2010 at 4:52 am
(22) Liz says:

I received a cyclamen as a gift, I’m not familiar with it, and I read the recommended instructions. But I can’t plant it outside because it’s not my property and incidentally, I live in Hawaii, so the climate is not apt to change, barring an apocalypse. So any advice on how to keep this thing alive?

October 25, 2010 at 8:52 am
(23) landscaping says:

Try your best to mimic the conditions described in the article (linked to above) as being optimal for cyclamen care. Also, even if you can’t plant it outside, you can still “give it some fresh air” by bringing the pot outside.

December 13, 2010 at 10:35 am
(24) Carol says:

I bought three beautiful cyclamen plants the last week in November. I left them in the same pots they were planted in. I watered them when the soil felt dry. A week and a half later the leaves on one of the plants began to yellow and now all three plants have yellow leaves and are drying up. What can I do?

December 13, 2010 at 1:41 pm
(25) landscaping says:

Carol,

Yellow leaves can be due to over-watering, but your post would seem to indicate that you have been watering properly. So let’s consider another possibility. According to The Cyclamen Society, cyclamen plants can be tricked into entering a period of dormancy if their wintertime home is too hot, so maybe try placing them in a cooler place.

August 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm
(26) DENISE says:

I received a cyclamen this summer, and planted it in my garden, it is so beautiful. Will it survive a zone 3 winter or should I bring it in.

August 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm
(27) David Beaulieu says:

Denise,

That would depend on the type of cyclamen. Is there a tag on your plant with the botanical name? Lacking that, though, the best guess here is that your cyclamen probably wouldn’t survive in zone 3.

September 7, 2011 at 10:23 am
(28) Cely says:

I bought a cyclamen plant a couple of days ago and on the day i got it it had a lot of green leaves and flowers.As soon as I got home i watered it and I sprayed water on its leaves and I kept it on my desk near a window. After a couple of days I noticed that quite a lot of the leaves are yellow and most of them were being eaten by something.I was thinking that maybe it was because I sprayed the leaves with water.It was a shock for me because the day before it had nothing and today quite a lot of the leaves were dieing.I cut off the leaves hoping that it would go away and I noticed that under the leaves were red spots and on the leaves white dots.Also, when I came close to the plant it smelled quite weird. Can someone please tell me what do to because I want to save this plant !

September 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm
(29) David Beaulieu says:

Cely,

Your reporting of the “red spots” on your cyclamen plant throws up a red flag for me: it could be spider mites. If it is spider mites, you will have to kill them by spraying, etc.

May 1, 2012 at 11:40 am
(30) Kathy says:

My Cyclamen plant has white cottony spots on some of the leaves. Is this normal?

May 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm
(31) landscaping says:

Kathy,

I never like to hear the words “white cottony spots” in connection with plants, as that sounds a lot like mealy bug.

July 15, 2012 at 1:39 am
(32) kerry says:

I was just recently given a beautiful white cyclamen from a friend, i was going away and put some water in the tray underneath, I came back 3 days latter and the leaves and flowers were drooping and there was mould over the stems, Is their any way to save the plant ?

July 23, 2012 at 7:43 am
(33) landscaping says:

I’m sorry to say, Kerry, that if it’s gotten to the point that your cyclamen has developed mold on its stems, the prognosis probably isn’t that good. But it couldn’t hurt to try applying a little rubbing alcohol on a swap and cleaning the mold off with that. Then place the plant somewhere where the humidity is low and see if it bounces back.

November 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm
(34) jessica says:

My cyclamen plant looks to be dying. The soil is dry and it’s drooping now. I add water but I don’t know what else to do. I just bought it a week ago. I don’t know how much sun light it needs, either.

November 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm
(35) landscaping says:

Jessica,

Water cyclamen plants when the soil is dry through and through; at that point, give them a good drink of water. As far sunlight requirements go, Marie Iannotti recommends “bright, indirect light” during the winter. Then, in summer, she advises that you “keep it out of bright light.” In terms of your plant’s current condition (and what caused it), I’m afraid you don’t provide sufficient information for me to make a guess.

October 9, 2013 at 9:48 am
(36) Chris C says:

Hi all, I have been able to get the seeds to sprout and they are now around 7cm tall with a tiny baby leaf at the end. But lately some of them started dying. Can anyone tell me why ? I keep the compost moist and in bright light, sometimes outside under a tree. Here the temperature never goes below 10Degrees Celcius so i was wondering what is going wrong !

October 9, 2013 at 11:01 am
(37) landscaping says:

Chris,

The only thing that comes to mind immediately regarding your young cyclamen plants dying is damping-off. This disease is one of the most common enemies of seedlings. It’s caused by various kinds of fungi (which always calls into question whether moisture levels are too high in the soil in question).

December 7, 2013 at 2:05 am
(38) Azteck says:

I got three cyclamen plants about a month ago, they were doing great and blooming nicely. But recently one of the plants leaves have started turning yellow and the flowers are all very droopy. Almost like it wants to be a horizontal plant instead of vertical. I gave it some water (as it was looking a tiny bit dry) when I first noticed the problem, but it keeps getting worse. It’s location in my house is cool and gets lots of bright indirect light. I thought it was just this plant, but now the other two have started doing this. Did I over water them? If so, how do I fix them?
Thank you
Azteck.

December 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm
(39) landscaping says:

Azteck,

The drooping could very well be the result of overwatering. What can happen in cases of overwatering is that the soil becomes over-saturated to the point that the roots rot, and then they can’t take up any more water (somewhat counterintuitively). I’d repot your cyclamen plants, giving them a fresh start with new soil.

December 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm
(40) cheri says:

I got a cyclamen plant as a memorial for my husband’s funeral. Very full and beautiful. 14 days later it is half drooping over the pot and has a few yellowing leaves. It has been watered and in a cool window. I also sprayed the mist on as I’m in MN. and we have dry,hot air for heat. I really don’t want to loose the plant-can it be helped?

December 23, 2013 at 9:48 am
(41) landscaping says:

Cheri,

It sounds like you’re doing a lot right in caring for this cyclamen. Are you making sure not to overwater? While they like humidity in the air, they don’t like to have wet feet at all. Water only when the soil has dried out. The best way to determine this is by weight: weigh the pot when it’s dry, then weigh it again after you’ve saturated the soil with water. That way, you’ll know when it needs watering again simply by weighing it — if it’s at the “dry” weight, water it.

April 2, 2014 at 5:48 pm
(42) Donna says:

I do not understand some of the terminology used here. What do you mean when you say to divide the plant one should “slice through the crown with a sharp knife”? Does that mean to slice right down through the middle of the plant through its roots to the bottom of the plant?

Thanks.

April 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm
(43) landscaping says:

Precisely, Donna.

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