The Q&A Archives: Potted Cyclamen Care

Question: I was given 2 beautiful cyclamen plants for Christmas. They are loaded with flowers and beautiful large green leaves. Some of the leaves are turning yellow. I thought this was a sign of overwatering, but they are not really too moist. Should I water them again? I have watered one and not the other, but they both have the yellowing leaves. Both have the same amount of sunlight.

Answer: Yellowing leaves is quite common and can be caused by a variety of things, including transplant shock, over- or under-watering, lack of nitrogen, or even normal leaf aging. It can also be a sign of shock from being moved from an ideal environment (the greenhouse that readied it for holiday sale) into our homes, which are usually not as humid and pleasant a growing environment. Since the soil moisture doesn't seem to be the factor, you might try fertilizing with an all-purpose fertilizer at half-strength. However, I think it's likely that it's shock of a new environment. Here are some general care tips:

Winter care: Place in an east-facing window with bright, indirect light. Cyclamen crowns and foliage are susceptible to fungal rot if too wet, so water only from the bottom (setting the pot in a bowl of water for a few minutes works well). For best flowering, keep humidity high and temperatures cool (60F).

Spring care: After flowers fade, gradually withhold water until foliage withers. Store pots in a cool, dry location or remove corms from soil, and store at 40 to 50F in a perforated plastic bag filled with dry peat moss.

Summer care: In July, repot the corms in soilless potting mix, leaving half of each corm above the soil surface. Place the pot outdoors in a shaded location; when new growth begins, fertilize the cyclamen with all-purpose houseplant food, and keep the soil evenly moist.

Fall care: Bring the pot indoors before first frost. To induce flowering by Christmas, place in an east-facing window with 55F temperatures.

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