Cyclamen Flower Growing Guide

Cyclamen Flower Growing Guide

Cyclamen flower growing is not easy, I will warn you from the start. If rooms are kept at a temperature of 21° C during the winter, no attempt should be made to grow them. A cyclamen received as a flowering plant from the florist will have been grown in a humid greenhouse where it enjoyed a night temperature maintained at around 10° C, rising to around l5°C during the day. If it can be given approximately these conditions in the home, all may be well.

It will not be possible to match them exactly, but a cool room with an east window in which the plant can stand, or a slightly heated enclosed porch with plenty of light, yet shaded from bright light except in the early morning, are very suitable.

The soil should never be allowed to become dry during the time the plant is in bloom; nor at any time should water touch the corm, which is set half-in and half-out of the soil in the pot.

cyclamen flower The cyclamen is one of the most popular winter-flowering pot plants in Europe, but not in the United States where the rooms are normally kept at too high a temperature, with too dry an atmosphere, for the cyclamen to survive. The peak period of demand for cyclamen is at Christmas, which is the most difficult time for trying to keep them in the house.

Success is more likely with the earlier flowering plants obtainable from July onwards, or the later flowering ones obtainable in March. It is quite possible to have success with them at Christmas but the leaves are more prone to go yellow and the very young buds sometimes fail to mature.

Cyclamen dislike temperatures that fluctuate widely. A room that is hot and dry in the afternoon and evening and cools down rapidly at night, is almost exactly the opposite of what they need, which is an even temperature not above 15°C, fresh air, and a slightly moist atmosphere. They dislike draughts, and a well-lit hall or bedroom will probably be a more congenial situation than a living room. The roots are not particularly active at this time, and too wet a soil can be disastrous, with leaves yellowing and unopened buds rotting off. The soil should never be more than moist, which in practice means fairly frequent watering but with very small quantities of water at a time.

The atmosphere around the plant can be improved by spraying the leaves daily with a very fine spray, but water should not be allowed to get on to the flowers. There are two ways of watering the plant depending on whether the corm is above the surface of the soil, or whether the corm is buried. If it is above the surface soil, it can be watered from the top avoiding the corm; if buried, it is better to hold the pot for a minute in water that does not come over the rim. During frosty weather the plants should be moved from a position near the window at night and placed in the centre of the room.

There is no need to feed a fully mature cyclamen but it is helpful to the plant to put the pot in a larger bowl filled with moist peat or moss. The top of the pot should project slightly above the level of the moss or peat, and the moist atmosphere that this provides will do more good than water at the roots.

The modern silver leaf strain not only has most ornamental leaves, but stands up better to home conditions than many other strains. The foliage is compact, on short stems and the flowers are on sturdy stems that do not flop.

C. persicum is the cyclamen from which most greenhouse and commercial cyclamen have been derived. Native to eastern Mediterranean countries, several strains have been bred and there are many named varieties such as Afterglowwhich is scarlet, Crimson Kingcrimson, Rosalielight salmon-rose, White Swanwhite, Salmon Kingsalmon pink, Rose von Aalsmeerrose pink and Grandiflorawhite with crimson base. A root will flower for several years, with more flowers but which tend to be smaller in size. When the plants have finished flowering, they should be moved to a greenhouse or frame, from which frost can be excluded. They must be given as much air and light as possible and not allowed to suffer from lack of moisture. The old idea of drying off the corm has been found to be a fallacy. During the summer, if possible, it is best to bury them in a shady part of a garden and leave them there. By late summer they will have lost all their foliage. The top 2 inches of soil must then be removed and replaced with an equal amount of potting compost. They should be well watered and stood in a shady frame. By autumn they will have good healthy leaves, and can be grown on as usual.

These tuberous plants came from Asia Minor. They have dainty flowers in white, pink, crimson, cerise, salmon or scarlet, carried on slender straight stems. Most are very vividly coloured, even on dull winter days. The heart-shaped leaves are attractively marbled. There are both miniature and larger forms, all capable of surviving several years with proper care. It is better to buy a plant in bud in order to enjoy the display longer.

Where to position: In good light, but not direct sunlight. Although this plant is fairly tolerant, draughts and temperature changes will make it unkempt and unhappy looking.

Watering requirements: Lukewarm water – cold water could be fatal. Always ensure that the soil is moist and springy to thumb pressure, but not soggy. Do not allow water to remain in the plant saucer. It likes humidity. Give an occasional mist-spray in hot weather and shade the plant from sunlight. Do not over-spray; the top of the corm must not be wetted.

General care: Feeding once or twice per season with very weak liquid fertilizer is ample; never feed when in bud or in flower. Always remove faded flowers to allow other buds to develop.

Rest: Rest when flowering ends. Reduce watering during this period but keep soil moist and do not allow foliage to die through dryness.

When it looks sick:

The leaf stems droop and lie down : The plant needs watering. Use lukewarm water in several doses to avoid wetting the corm. Recovery is usually swift. A poor specimen : This may be due to an old, corky tuber and cannot be corrected. Always remove faded flowers to allow the development of more buds.

Sickly plant : Check for parasites.


Growing season 15-22 °C (60-72 °F)

Minimum winter 10C (50 °F)

Soil: A soil-less compost.

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