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Cyclamen- Plant Bio: Podcast Ep#93

This winter blooming houseplant has the opposite timing on care compared to most houseplants and its heart shaped unique leaves and beautiful flowers give you more winter interest you hadn't considered before!


Botanical Name: Cyclamen persicum or more than likely Cyclamen persicum hyrbids


Foliage & Flower Details:

  • As you can see from the images above, the foliage spans bright green to frost blue with white, silver or blue marbling. They can differ even more with some hybrids having more silver in their leaves or even purple undersides to their leaves

  • The flowers are described as a "shooting stars" because the petals are reflexed backwards pointed down. They actually remind me of a badminton birdie! They bloom early-winter and can continue to bloom for a few months. The flowers have petals that are reflexed backwards with bright colors mostly shades of red, pink, white, and purple.

  • Similar to Kalanchoe, many people will buy or receive Cyclamen already blooming but I would recommend finding a plant that has more buds than full blooms so it lasts the longest in your home.

Sun Requirements:

While blooming, Cyclamen do its best in bright or bright indirect light. In the Repeat Flowers & Growth section below, you will learn more about the nuances of it's different seasons but when it isn't blooming, it is best to move it into less light.


If you need any guidance to understanding light, or are in need of a grow light to help increase your light, check out the links!


Water Requirement

While blooming, Cyclamen need higher moisture and do best with bottom watering. There can be a higher risk of rotting watering the center of the plant. In between watering, allow the soil to mostly dry out.

do its best in bright or bright indirect light. In the Repeat Flowers & Growth section below, you will learn more about the nuances of it's different seasons but when it isn't blooming, it is best to move it into less light.


Fertilizer

For Cyclamen, specifically, I would recommend fertilizing only in its active growing and blooming period.

If you are still struggling with the plant, they like to have higher acidity so you can try to supplement with an acidic fertilizer like a sulfur fertilizer.


As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. I currently use Fox Farm's Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer or  Fox Farm's Big Bloom Liquid Fertilizer or flowering plants. I fertilize about every 2 weeks when I water my plants, starting around the end of February through October. I only fertilize once or twice in winter because the plant isn't as active!


There are MANY ways to fertilize and it is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under-fertilize, rather than over-fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to houseplants.


Repeat Flowers & Growth

Many people buy Cyclamen and expect to give up on them after they bloom. There is nothing wrong with that but if you want to try to get it to rebloom, you may need to give it a little extra care.

Before we go into instructions, keep in mind, in its natural habitat the plant would bloom in cooler temperatures than go into hibernation during the hot, humid seasons.


  • If you purchased this plant in late fall, winter or early spring, this would be its natural bloom time.

  • Once it finishes blooming late spring, allow the plant to die back slowly.

  • While it is dying back, you would need to cut back on water and completely stop watering once all the foliage is gone.

  • At this point, place your plant in less light and a cooler environment.

  • It should be placed in its new environment during the summer season for anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.

  • In fall, you can put the plant back out in bright light with increased humidity.

  • When you see new signs of life, start gradually increasing watering and add fertilizer.

This may not work for you the first time and that's okay! These plants are use to having controlled environments in greenhouses so your home is an adjustment. Some people are able to produce blooms without doing anything different than they normally would during the main growing season!

Other Facts

  • All part of the Primulaceae family AKA the Primrose Family.

  • Native to the Mediterranean area- southern Europe, west Asia, northern Africa

  • Cyclamen can be propagated by seed or can be divided.

  • Well draining potting mix or soil is usually good enough! But they do like a higher acidity so if you wanted to try adding this, you can supplement this with a fertilizer or add peat to your mix.

  • These only stay around 6-12" tall depending on the hybrid you may have.

  • They are toxic to pets. If you are interested in learning about more pet friendly plants, check out Podcast Ep#31 for more info or the corresponding blog post!


Instagram Q&A

I always ask followers if they had any specific questions, opinions or hot-takes I can address in this podcast and blog. Here are what people told me and and my answers for this topic:


"I have read that cyclamen can be an outdoor plant. What zone and is it a specific type?"

  • I mostly reviewed the houseplant version of Cyclamen which has a hardiness zone around 9-11. There are are varieties commonly called Alpine Violet or Woodland Cyclamen that have a hardiness zone at about 4-8. Their botanical names could be Cyclamen hederifolium, Cyclamen cilicium, and Cyclamen coun. These like to stay in temperate climates with cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Some of the native species are not considered to be endangered because of commercial trade.


 

WANT TO LISTEN?

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Always written with extreme plant passion!

Love, Holly (Owner & Creator of Houseplant Homebody LLC)

 

I am ALWAYS on team "Shop Local" but if you plant shops don't have Kalanchoe, check out Mountain Crest Gardens! Just type in Kalanchoe in their search bar to see what they have!

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