The Q&A Archives: Growing Cyclamen

Question: I recently received a red cyclamen and there were no instructions on how to care for it. Could you help me out. How often should I water, sunlight, repotting, etc.

Answer: Florists' cyclamens such as yours are lovely but can be very difficult to
keep over time, mainly because they need much cooler
temperatures (say ideally 45 degrees at night and 55 degrees in the
day) than most homes offer, along with far more humidity
than is commonly found. Ideally the blooms can last for
several months -- but they rarely do at home! In any case, try to give it a cool bright location with high humidity for the best results and keep it evenly moist but not sopping wet.

Normally the plants go dormant in the spring after blooming. At some point your plant will begin to yellow and go dormant. Just when they go dormant
will be determined to some extent by the conditions under
which they are growing. Too much heat in a sunny window,
for instance, will encourage early dormancy, while growing in
light, but cool conditions may see them continuing into
mid-May. When it begins to go dormant, stop watering and
allow it to dry, then remove any dried stems and foliage, and
set it somewhere cool but not freezing to rest (such as a cool
basement) until about September. Next, repot it into a very rich and humusy soil and start
watering it again. Use a dilute water soluble fertilizer and
take care to keep the crown dry. At home, an east window is
probably best. With any luck, starting it under "cool
greenhouse" conditions in October should give blooms around
Christmas. Good luck with your cyclamen!

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