Cyclamen are wonderful plants that are popular around the holidays. But indoor cyclamen plant care is different than it is for other houseplants. Don’t worry, this detailed growing guide will give you everything you need to know about how to care for cyclamens.
Since cyclamens are winter flowering plants, they make very popular gifts around the holidays. The flowers last for a long time, and they are gorgeous!
Unfortunately, most people throw them away once they’re done blooming. That’s when the plant will go into its normal dormancy state, and people think that it’s dying, or that they killed it.
But, with the right cyclamen care, you can keep your plant for years, and get it to bloom over and over again!
Here’s what you’ll find in this detailed cyclamen plant care guide…
Information About Cyclamen Plants
There are tons of beautiful cyclamen varieties to choose from. Some of them have ruffled flowers, and others are rounded.
Whatever variety you choose, you can’t go wrong. All of them have large, bright flowers which appear to float above the gorgeous heart shaped foliage.
A common question I get asked is: “is a cyclamen plant poisonous?”. The short answer is yes. Cyclamen plants can be toxic to cats, dogs, and humans.
So, if you have any fur babies or kiddos running around, it’s best to keep this one out of reach.
Cyclamen Plants Growing Season
Cyclamens have an opposite growing season than most indoor plants. Since they bloom during the winter, it means that they thrive during the cooler months of the year, and go dormant during the heat of the summer.
That’s why they’re such popular gift plants around the holidays, and throughout the winter. It’s also why they made my list of the top flowering houseplants!
This is perfect for those of us who live in a cold climate, because cyclamen plants bloom just when we need them the most – during the dark dreary winter months!
Caring for cyclamen indoors isn’t difficult. But since their growing season is opposite, it’s very different than other houseplants.
Indoor Cyclamen Plant Care Instructions
The biggest mistake people make with cyclamen care is trying to force them to grow year round. Most people don’t realize that cyclamens need a period of rest, or dormancy, in order to survive.
When the plant begins to go dormant, the leaves will start to turn yellow and die, and this is completely normal.
But most people think they’re doing something wrong, so they try to save the plant by giving it more water or light or heat… only to end up killing it for realsies (not that I would know anything about that… grumble, grumble)!
Once you understand how cyclamen plants grow, caring for them will be so much easier!
Cyclamen Temperature Tolerance & Location
Cyclamens are very fussy about the temperature. If they get too hot, it will force an early dormancy. They like to be kept cool, but they’re not frost hardy.
It’s best to keep indoor cyclamen growing in a room where the temperature is between 50-70 degrees F. The cooler they’re kept, the longer the flowers will last too.
They’re also very sensitive to drafts, so avoid areas where hot or cold air blows (like near heat vents or cold drafty windows).
Providing the ideal cyclamen growing conditions is pretty easy during the winter, simply put them in the coolest room of your house.
Watering Cyclamen Plants
Cyclamen watering is another thing that is a bit different than most houseplants. Like African violets, cyclamen plants don’t like getting their leaves and stems wet. So it’s best to water them from the bottom, rather than over the top.
To bottom water, fill the plant tray or cache pot, and allow the soil to soak it up through the holes in the bottom of the container.
Once the soil is wet, dump out any water that’s left in the tray, and allow the excess to drain completely from the pot. Never allow the plant to sit in water for an extended period of time.
Cyclamens like to have their soil kept evenly moist during their active growing period. Be careful though, consistent overwatering will kill them!
Allow it to dry slightly between waterings, but don’t let it to dry out completely. Check the soil each time, and only add water if it feels dry to the touch.
If you’re not sure how to keep them properly watered, I recommend getting a soil moisture gauge to help you out.
Using an African violet pot is perfect for growing cyclamen plants, and would be a great help to protect against overwatering.
Cyclamen Humidity Requirements
Another important piece of successful cyclamen plant care is humidity. They like a lot of humidity, and this is especially important during the winter months.
Heating our homes sucks the humidity out of the air. That’s not just bad for our skin, it can be pretty tough on houseplants too.
To help increase the humidity level around your cyclamen, you can run a humidifier near the plant. You could also try putting it on a pebble tray filled with water (don’t let it to sit in the water though).
To help you maintain the proper level, you can keep an indoor humidity monitor near them to make sure the air doesn’t get too dry.
How Much Light Do Cyclamen Plants Need?
Cyclamen plants like bright light, but they don’t like it hot, so keep them out of the sun. Direct sunlight is too intense for them anyway.
In the house they will do just fine in a bright room where they get indirect sunlight, or near an east or west facing window.
Repotting Cyclamen Plants
If your potted cyclamen has outgrown its container, you can repot it into a larger one. The best time for repotting is while they’re dormant.
Make sure to plant your cyclamen in the new pot at the same depth it was growing in the old one. Don’t bury the tubers too deep, they should be kept slightly above the soil line.
What Fertilizer To Use For Cyclamen Care
You can fertilize your cyclamen using a weak half dose of liquid plant food every 2-4 weeks while it’s actively growing and blooming. Stop once the flowers begin to fade, and never feed it when it’s dormant.
When you bring it out of dormancy, you can begin feeding again when the plant starts to put on new growth. A good rule of thumb is to only feed cyclamen plants while the leaves are growing.
Controlling Houseplant Pests On Cyclamen
Spider mites thrive in dry conditions, and won’t survive if it’s too humid. So get rid of them by raising the humidity level around the plant.
You can gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth the help control them, but don’t spray anything on your cyclamen plant, or you could damage the leaves.
Fungus gnats, on the other hand, live and bread in wet soil. They are just a nuisance and rarely do damage to a plant.
If you see gnats flying around your plant, allow the soil to dry out a bit more between waterings. You can use a yellow sticky trap to control them.
Cyclamen Flowering Season & Dormancy
In nature, cyclamens bloom during the winter, and go completely dormant during the summer. Indoors they follow a similar pattern, and will go dormant shortly after they bloom.
After the flowers fade, the leaves will start to turn yellow and fall off. Eventually the plant will die all the way back to the soil, and officially begin its dormancy.
When this happens, most people think that they killed it, so they’ll throw it out. But just like an amaryllis, cyclamen need this dormant period in order to bloom again.
So don’t toss it out! With the proper cyclamen plant care during dormancy, you will be able to get yours to bloom again year after year!
What To Do With Cyclamen After Flowering
Once the leaves begin turning yellow, and the flowers start to fade, it’s time to prepare your plant for dormancy. Follow these cyclamen growing tips to help your plant though dormancy, and get it to rebloom again next year.
- Once the leaves start to turn yellow, stop watering the plant and allow all of the foliage to die back.
- Remove the dead leaves and place the pot in a cool, dark location for 2-3 months.
- Allow the soil to dry out completely, and don’t water it at all during dormancy.
- After 2-3 months, bring it out of storage, and give it a good drink of water. Make sure to soak the soil and allow all the excess water to drain away.
Wait until you see new growth before you water again. Once you start to see new leaves growing out of the soil, you can begin watering and fertilizing it regularly.
Shortly after the leaves grow, the plant will start to bloom. Woohoo! I sure do love those gorgeous flowers.
You can store your dormant cyclamen outside during the summer in a shady spot where they will stay dry if you prefer. But make sure to move them back inside before it gets below 50 degrees F.
Cyclamen Propagation Tips
Cyclamen plants can easily be propagated by dividing the tubers and potting each one into its own container. Each individual tuber will grow into a new plant.
They can also be grown from seed, but it can take a year or so before the seedlings will start to bloom. So this method of propagation is definitely much slower.
Troubleshooting Common Cyclamen Plant Care Problems
- Cyclamen yellow leaves – This can be a sign that it’s getting too hot. Move the plant to a cooler location, and keep it out of the direct sunlight. If it has just finished blooming, then the plant is probably going dormant, which is totally normal behavior!
- Cyclamen flowers drooping – Droopy leaves and flowers are usually caused by improper watering. Check the soil level to make sure it’s not too wet or dry.
- Cyclamen leaves look dirty and deformed – If the leaves or flowers look like they’re dirty, faded, or deformed, then it’s probably caused by bugs. Gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth soaked in water or neem oil, but never spray anything on them.
Where To Buy Cyclamen Plants
Since they are winter blooming plants, you probably won’t be able to find cyclamen for sale during the summer.
But it’s usually easy to find them at your local garden center during the colder months, especially around the holidays.
With proper cyclamen plant care, these beauties will bloom year after year around Christmas time. Now that you know how to care for cyclamen indoors, you’ll be able to enjoy the flowers for many years to come.
If you struggle with indoor plant care and keeping your houseplants thriving through the cold winter months, then my Winter Houseplant Care eBook is perfect for you! It will show you exactly how to care for your houseplants through the long winter months. Buy your copy today!
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Share you cyclamen care tips in the comments below.