The cyclamen is a popular houseplant – its vibrant flowers and interesting leaves make a striking addition to the home. However, cyclamen need special care and controlled conditions to keep them blooming and thriving year after year. Here’s a guide to taking care of cyclamen plants, both during and after their blooming period:
- Cyclamen like to grow in cool, humid environments. Temperatures that are too high will cause the plant to begin to yellow and the flowers will fade rapidly.
- Cyclamen sold as houseplants are tropical and cannot tolerate temperatures below 4°C. Hardy cyclamen, which are sold in garden nurseries for outside use, are typically more resistant. Check the plant’s label for the specific hardiness.
- Cyclamen need bright, indirect light in winter, so place them in well-lit areas.
- Keep out of bright light during summer when dormant.
- Cyclamen are sensitive to both under- and over-watering, so make sure the plant has excellent drainage with a potting medium that holds water well.
- Water the plant only when the soil is dry to the touch, but do not leave the plant in this dry state too long. Droopy leaves and flowers are signs of under-watering.
- Water below the leaves so that stems and leaves don’t get wet, as this can cause them to rot.
- Thoroughly soak the soil and let any excess water drain away.
- Fertilise once every 1-2 months with water-soluble fertiliser, mixed at half strength.
- Do not over-fertilise cyclamen as it can affect their ability to rebloom.
When a cyclamen is dormant, the leaves will turn yellow and fall off. It is not dead, just sleeping. With proper care, you can help it through its dormancy and it will rebloom in a few months time:
- Stop watering the plant once you see signs that the leaves are dying.
- Place the plant in a cool, somewhat dark place.
- Remove any dead foliage, if you like.
- Leave it undisturbed for two months.
Once a cyclamen has emerged from its dormant period, usually early autumn, you can start watering it again:
- Make sure that you completely soak the soil. You may want to place the pot in a tub of water for an hour or so, then make sure any excess water drains away.
- Check the cyclamen tuber (root) and make sure that the tuber has not outgrown the pot.
- If the tuber seems crowded, repot the cyclamen in a larger pot.
- Once the leaves start to grow, you can resume normal cyclamen care and it should rebloom shortly.
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