The Q&A Archives: Cyclaman

Question: I have tried over and over to grow this houseplant without luck. The two I just purchased two months ago have multiple blooms but foliage has yellowed and died. I know well lit, but not extensive sun, moderately moist. I have put them on dishes with pebbles for drainage. Help this is the 8th one I have lost!

Answer: How frustrating! When grown outdoors in their native environment, cyclamen go into dormancy at the onset of summer, and they come back to life as the damp, cool weather arrives in the fall. It is for this reason that cyclamen are best suited to cooler temperatures in the home.

If possible, keep your cyclamen in an unheated room that maintains a daytime temperature of no more than 70?F. Evening temperatures should range between 40?F and 50?F. Lower evening temperatures greatly revitalize this cool natured plant.

Although cyclamen require cooler temperatures in order to survive, they appreciate a lot of light, especially from late fall to early spring. Place your plant in an area that is well lit, but out of direct sun.

Cyclamen don't usually die prematurely through lack of care. Most people who kill their plants do so with kindness and an overabundance of water. Cyclamen grow from tubers, and these organs of storage that maintain life during periods of dormancy will rot when continuously saturated.

Water your cyclamen when the soil has dried, but don?t allow too much time to pass before watering again. Since cyclamen are best suited to cooler temperatures, they appreciate a cool drink rather than a warm one. Saturate the soil well, and allow the excess water to exit through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Proper drainage is necessary in order to keep the tubers healthy.

Most cyclamen are in bloom when purchased, and they are generally available from October through March. With appropriate care, they can be expected to bloom for weeks on end before entering their dormant period. In order to survive the dormant period and bloom again months later, they require proper storage.

After the blooms have died, the foliage will begin to turn yellow. This doesn't mean the plant has died. It?s simply entering the dormant period. Some people make the mistake of throwing away their plants instead of attempting to repot the tubers in the fall.

Stop watering the cyclamen when the leaves begin to turn yellow and wilt. Store the pot in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight. The leaves will continue to fade and wither away. Once all of the foliage is withered and dry, the tubers can be replanted.

Replant the tubers in a pot that's one size larger than before, in a mixture of sterile potting soil and peat moss. Make sure the tops of the tubers protrude from the soil to help prevent them from rotting.

Don't water the newly planted tubers. After the foliage begins to grow, water the tubers as before. If the foliage doesn't emerge by late fall, and the tubers appear to be firm and healthy, water them anyway. Wait for the new foliage to emerge before watering them again, and move the pot to a well-lit location.

Hope this information helps!

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