Garden Advice Cyclamen
Today’s Cyclamen are hybrids of the Cyclamen persicum native to Greece and Syria. They are considered a low growing herb of 12” and are members of the Primrose Family. Their colorful, long lasting flowers and heart shaped leaves attractively veined with silver to varying degrees have made them very popular as centerpiece and gift plants. Well cared for plants will bloom from fall through spring, with the more heat tolerant miniature hybrids even going into the summer. In Europe, Cyclamen blossoms are even used as cut flowers and sold in bunches or as bouquets.
Cyclamen flowers may be single, double, fringed, bicolor, or even candystriped. Colors range from exquisitely pure white through all shades of pink, lavender, purple and red to dark wine. Some of the miniature strains are even delightfully scented. In addition, today’s hybrids can be maintained over a wide temperature range from just above freezing to a normal home temperature of 75 degrees with good performance.
Method Of Propagation
Commercially, Cyclamen are grown from seed which is sown in August through December for the following Christmas season sales, so it’s no overnight crop! The hypocotyls, or basal protion of the seedling, forms a hard, round tuber-like structure known as the corm. From the top of this, the leaves grow in a rosette manner. As the Cyclamen plants are transplanted to larger pots several times during their cropping cycle, the top of the corm is always left about 50% exposed. This planting technique coupled with either sub-irrigation and/or not watering over the crown of the plant help to prevent a disease known as “crown rot”.
Individual flowers as well as the blooming season will be extended if the plants can be kept cooler (50s and 60s) rather than warmer. Try to avoid “hot” places altogether. Provide part sun through full sun or the equivalent in artificial light to keep plants compact. Plants grown in insufficient light typically will stretch and become weak and the lower leaves will fade and yellow.
Cyclamen should be watered thoroughly when the soil looks and feels dry on the surface. Do not water over the crown or allow the plants to stand in water after the irrigation is complete. Plants that are either allowed to wilt for lack of water or kept moist and not allowed to get dry will also get a lot of yellow leaves. Pluck spent blooms from the plant.
Fertilize Cyclamens regularly with a houseplant food for blooming plants such as Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster.
As we go into spring, the south facing windows become too sunny and hot. Be sure to move the plant to an area that gets just 1/2 day sun.
Year-round, it is important to maintain good air movement around your Cyclamen plant. Stagnant, humid air promotes a soft stem rot disease known as botrytis. If this should happen, provide better air movement, lower humidity, and remove the diseased tissues. Spray the plant with a fungicide such as Bonide Funginil.
If your plant becomes overgrown and difficult to keep watered, you may repot it in a sterile, well-drained potting soil like Espoma Organic Potting Soil. Remember to leave the upper half of the corm exposed.
Cyclamen are usually relatively free of pests, but occasionally they can be attacked by aphids, spider mites, cyclamen mits, black vine weevil gurbs, or thrips. If this should occur use Bonide Mite-X.