The Q&A Archives: Cyclamen

Question: I recently bought a cyclamen plant from a local nursery. The plant was pretty bushy and had a few flower buds. It has done well at home. My only nagging doubt is that when I asked if I needed to repot the plant some time soon, the guy said no, it will just flower.

Will I never need to repot??

Answer: Cyclamen is a tuberous-rooted perennial that is often grown as winter-flowering indoor plant. Florist's type cyclamen are short-lived and generally not kept once they have finished blooming. That may be why the nursery person you talked to didn't expect you'd have to repot it. Hardy cyclamen are grown outdoors in warm-winter regions, where they are planted in full sun to part shade, in moist, rich, well draining soil. These cyclamen are usually allowed to naturalize, because the roots resent being disturbed. Hardy cyclamen tubers should be planted 6-10 inches apart and covered with 1/2 inch of soil. Florist's cyclamen tubers are planted so that the upper half of the tuber protrudes above the soil level. Inspect your plant as best you can without removing it from the pot. (The roots really don't like to be disturbed!) If the tuber is above the soil line, it's the short-lived Florist's cyclamen and you'll probably want to toss it when it stops blooming. If the tuber is buried completely, its probably a hardy cyclamen and will live for several years. It won't need to be repotted for 2-3 years. Repot when the plant goes into dormancy (June-August). Cyclamen grows readily from seed, so you might want to start a few new plants while yours is still going strong. Hope the above information clears up the mystery!

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