Q. How do I care for my cyclamen plant?
Cyclamen persicum, sometimes called florist's cyclamen, is a popular tuberous-rooted flowering plant. This member of the primula family normally appears in early fall until around Christmastime in array of colors--white, deep red, pink shades, salmon, mauve and purple. Some flowers have white edging on the colored petals; some have ruffled petal edges; and some appear similar to the wild species in that they are small, delicate and perfumed--but most cultivated hybrids are not. Plants can last for 2-3 months.
The care of cyclamen includes the following:
- Cyclamens appreciate bright light without direct sunlight, except for a few hours early in the day, for optimal growth.
- Keep cyclamens cool at all times--a temperature of 55-65°F is best. (Do not place over a heat source, which will shorten the life of the plant.)
- Humidity is also helpful since home and office humidity levels can be too low for plants suited to outdoor conditions. You can increase humidity by placing plant and saucer over a bed of wet pebbles (a pebble tray) or by placing pots in a bowl of moist peat moss.
- Watering is very important because cyclamen tubers sit only half-buried in the potting mixture. Watering from above directly onto the tubers can cause them to rot, so it is best to water from below. Do this by setting potted plants in a shallow, water-filled bowl. The plant will then take up as much water as it needs. After about 10 minutes take the plant out of the bowl and let it drain.
- To keep the plant tidy, remove any spent flowers by twisting the stem and pulling sharply. Remove any yellowing or damaged foliage as well.
See NYBG's Libguides for information on caring for many plants, including holiday gift plants.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service