Cyclamen - Primulaceae - How to care for and grow Cyclamen plants

Cyclamen - Primulaceae - How to care for and grow Cyclamen plants



The cyclamen, although not easy to cultivate, is one of the most widespread houseplants especially thanks to the fact that it gives us its splendid flowers during the winter, thus cheering up the cold periods.






: Angiosperms


: Eudicotyledons


: Asteris











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The cyclamen (genus Cyclamen) belonging to the family of Primulaceae, includes several species native to the eastern Mediterranean area, some of which also belong to the Italian spontaneous flora, have been introduced in cultivation (Cyclamen europaeum, Cyclamen neapolitanumis Cyclamen repandumThese are tuberous perennials that grow both in alpine wooded areas and on beaches and in the Mediterranean scrub.

The leaves they are mostly rounded or heart-shaped, often with light or dark designs on both the upper and lower pages. In the species that bloom in autumn, the leaves last all winter and into spring. THE flowers they are reclined, sometimes perfumed, formed by five curved petals with colors ranging from white, to purple, to red, to pink, often with darker throats. The flowering periods are variable depending on the species (to which reference is made).

They are rustic but at the same time delicate plants all require a period of absolute rest in summer.


There are about twenty species of cyclamen among which we remember


TheCyclamenpersicum it is the most widespread species and with its numerous varieties, it represents one of the most known and appreciated ornamental plants. It has a black and flat tuber from which the foliar petioles and flower peduncles originate. The leaves are heart-shaped, of an intense green color, sometimes streaked with silver, and the underside is usually red. The flowers are made up of five petals of various colors from white to pink, apricot to purple oscreziati. It is native to Asia Minor, Syria and Lebanon and not from Persia as one might think.

The name is derived from the Prunus persica, peach, to remember the color of the flower.


TheCyclamen graecum with its flowers with a color ranging from light pink to salmon, it is a very present species on the market


The Cyclamen balearicum it has small, white flowers with a red throat and a delicate scent.


TheCyclamen libanoticum it has flowers with a pink-violet color, often mottled and dark green leaves mottled with white on the upper side and red on the underside. It produces pretty pink flowers that sprout starting in February.

Note 1

Among the spontaneous cyclamen we remember:


: it is light pink, very perfumed and blooms in September. It grows spontaneously in the woods at an altitude of 1000 m.


: produces pink flower and blooms in September. It is present in the woods of southern Italy.


: produces a lovely pink flower and blooms in spring. It is present in the woods of central and southern Italy.


Breeding a cyclamen is not very easy, but above all it is difficult to make it bloom again; in fact this plant can live and bloom for 4-5 years in a row and with each passing year it will produce more and more abundant flowers.

The most important secret of its success lies in the ambient temperature where it is placed. Mainly during the growth phase of the leaves and flowers, this should not exceed 15 ° C; then place it away from the radiators, in full light but not directly affected by the sun's rays (this rule is valid for almost all apartment plants, to which the direct sun could cause burns even in winter, especially if "concentrated" by the windows that therefore they must be screened with curtains). It would therefore be good practice to ventilate the room frequently and turn off the heating from time to time. In areas where the winter climate is not too rigid, the cyclamen can be moved outdoors, sheltered from frost and wind, during the night.

Another important precaution is to eliminate quickly and completely the withered leaves and flowers, without leaving "butts" that could rot, infecting other parts of the plant, detaching them right at the point of insertion into the tuber.

If for any reason lesions are caused on the leaves or on the petioles, it is good to remove them and immediately dab the wounds with the appropriate mastic (found at a good nurseryman) or with candle wax, to close the wound which represents a preferential path to mold attacks. .


The cyclamen, during throughout the autumn-winter period (the first buds usually appear towards the end of September - early October) it is watered in such a way that the soil remains constantly humid (not soaked). Generally, the water is poured into the saucer, allowing the plant to absorb it for 20-30 minutes and then allowing any excess water to drain. Also in this case you must be careful that there is not too much humidity that could cause the rot of the tuber.

In spring the plant terminates flowering and slows down the vegetative activity which ceases entirely in summer, when all the leaves are dry, they are completely renewed and the plant is kept in a cool and shady place, watering from time to time only near the bulb.

It is important not to wet the plant and especially the central part as the presence of water for at least 12 hours on the plant's organs favors the development of mold.


The repotting of the cyclamen is carried out only if the roots have completely occupied the pot and appear on the surface or from the drain hole of the pot. It is done in spring, after flowering, using a soil of leaves, sand and peat in equal parts in a vase with a slightly larger diameter than the previous one, placing pieces of earthenware on the bottom to facilitate the drainage of the water.


Fertilize cyclamen every two to three weeks with liquid fertilizer to add to the watering water.

During the flowering period it is advisable to administer a fertilizer with a higher potassium titre to facilitate flowering while, during the growth phases of the plant, with a slightly higher nitrogen titre to favor the growth of the plant.


For the cyclamen, whatever the chosen species and variety it blooms in the winter uninterrupted until March-April and for this reason it is usually purchased in the pre-Christmas period, although it is rare to find it in flower-nursery centers throughout the year.

However, it is preferable to buy it before flowering, checking that there are abundant buds and that the leaves are well turgid and healthy.


Cyclamen Usually cyclamen is not pruned. The leaves that gradually dry up must simply be eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.

Make sure that the tool you use for cutting is clean and disinfected (preferably with a flame) to avoid infecting the tissues.


The plant multiplies either by seed or by division of the tuber.

In choosing the technique to be adopted, it must be borne in mind that multiplication by seed has the disadvantage that, taking over the genetic variability, you are not sure that you will have plants that are the same as the mother plants, in which case if you want to obtain a certain plant or not is sure of the quality of the seed being used, it is good to multiply the tuber by division.

Multiplication for me

The multiplication by seeds is done at any time between July and September by distributing the seeds as evenly as possible, giving them small sizes, in parallel rows on a soil for seeds. Since the seeds are small, to bury them slightly, push them under the soil using a piece of flat wood.

It would be a good idea, to prevent any attacks of fungi, to administer with the irrigation water also a broad spectrum fungicide, in the doses indicated in the package.

The tray containing the seeds should be kept in the shade, at a temperature of around 20 ° C and constantly humid (use a sprayer to completely moisten the soil) until the moment of germination.The tray should be covered with a transparent plastic sheet that will guarantee a good temperature and it will avoid a too rapid drying of the soil.Once the seeds have germinated (about a month), remove the plastic sheet, and as the seedlings grow, the amount of light is increased (never direct sun) , the temperature is reduced to around 18 ° C and good ventilation is ensured. Among all the plants born, there will certainly be those less vigorous than others. Identify and eliminate them in this way you will guarantee more space for the most robust plants.

When they are large enough to be handled, you will transplant them, in any case being very careful not to spoil any part of the plant (it would be preferable to use a fork for these operations that you will put under the ground to take the whole plant and put it in the new pot) in a soil as indicated for adult plants.

Multiplication by division of the tuber

The cyclamen is made up of a tuber, round or flattened, from which the leaves and flowers directly sprout in the high concave part and the roots in the lower convex part.

The tuber can be divided with a clean and disinfected sharp knife into several parts, each of which contains at least two buds, also divided in two segments.


The main diseases of the plant are generally physiopathies, that is diseases due to unfavorable environmental conditions and therefore to a wrong cultivation.

Sagging leaves and flowers

If the cyclamen shows these symptoms it means that the plant has been placed in a too hot and dry place.
Remedies: in this case it is sufficient to wet it well and expose it in a cooler and more humid environment.

Leaves yellowed

This symptom means that the plant has been placed in a too hot and too dark place
Remedies: move it to a cooler and more humid environment.

Leaves with yellow speckles spread from the point of intersection of the petiole leaf on the lamina

This pathology that subsequently extends towards the edge of the leaf until it dries up and remains attached to the bulb is typical of fusariosis, a disease caused by a fungus, the Fusarium sp.

Remedies: once the symptoms have manifested themselves on the leaves, as the disease starts from the tuber, there is nothing more to be done.

A recommendation: check the plant well before buying it because most of the time, it is already infected.

Macchienecrotic on the petals and rot in the central part of the plant

These symptoms, where the base of the petioles and flower peduncles appear soft because they rot, are the symptom of the presence of gray mold, a fungus, the Botrytis spp.

Remedies: immediately eliminate the infected parts and treat with a specific fungicide. The remedies against this fungus are first of all preventive, as this fungus is favored by excessive humidity in the air and excessive watering.

Leaves starting to turn yellow, appear mottled with yellow and brown

If the leaves begin to turn yellow and after these manifestations crumple, they take on an almost powdery appearance and fall off. Observing carefully you can also notice some thin cobwebs especially on the underside of the leaves. With this symptomatology we are very probably in the presence of an attack of red spider, a very annoying and harmful mite.

Remedies: increase the frequency of nebulizations to the foliage (the lack of humidity favors their proliferation) and possibly, only in the case of particularly serious infestations, use a specific insecticide. If the plant is not particularly large, you can also try cleaning the leaves to mechanically eliminate the parasite using a wet and soapy cotton ball. After that the plant must be rinsed very well to remove all the soap.


Cyclamen can be found in the dilecci woods of our southern regions. They bloom in March-April. You can observe them in all their beauty in their natural environment but do not touch them, they are a protected species therefore they should be left where they are.

Cyclamen is a poisonous plant for humans. In fact, its tuber contains a toxic substance, cyclamine which, conversely, is harmless for many animals such as pigs, porcupines, etc.


See «Cyclamen - The language of flowers and plants».

1. Image licensed under license GNU Free Documentation License, courtesy of Mark Griffiths.

How to grow cyclamen, in pots or in the garden, at the right temperature to admire its spectacular flowering

Belonging to the genus Cyclamen, which includes more than twenty different species, the cyclamen it's a perennial plant native to Asia Minor, North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea basin.

Specifically, in Italy, the spontaneous species of cyclamen are the Cyclamen purpurescens Also known as europaeum, the Cyclamen repandum and the Cyclamen hederifolium, all capable of producing flowers with various shades, ranging from white to lilac.

It is precisely this swirl of colors that makes cyclamen very popular and appreciated, as they are ideal for decorating both gardens and balconies of the house, considering that the flowering of this plant can carry from autumn until the following spring, resisting even the coldest temperatures of winter.

What makes cyclamen fascinating is also its double meaning: the poison contained in its roots has led in the past (we even speak of the Middle Ages!) to associate the plant with distrust, but this point of view was overturned for the ancient Romans, from whom the toxicity of cyclamen was considered a barrier against further negative energy, effectively making these flowers of lucky charms. In ancient Greece, however, the shape of the petals that would recall a uterus made this plant also a symbol of fertility.

Cyclamen can cultivate in the open ground or in vase. Cyclamen plants can also be grown in flat in the winter season, but in this case they may be affected by the dryness of the air due to the heating systems: try spraying the leaves from time to time with distilled water to ensure some humidity.

Cyclamen: characteristics and cultivation

Credit photo
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Characteristics of cyclamen

The cyclamen (Cyclamen L.) is a genus of small perennial herbaceous plants comprising approx 23 varieties, equipped with a bulb from which leaves and flowers are born every season.

Leaves of cyclamen they are basal and long petiolate, generally heart-shaped and of a beautiful dark green color, flecked with white.

In the wetter areas the leaves persist in the warmer months, while in the areas characterized by drought, the leaves fall during the summer and then grow back in the autumn.

At the center of the leaves a thin stem develops that carries the flower.
The inflorescence develops starting in autumn and is made up of single flowers with little or no scent, with a corolla that can take on different colors from white to lilac, from pink to red.

Flowering can last until spring and then the fruit develops from the flower, a capsule, which contains small round seeds from which a new plant can develop.

Cyclamen grow spontaneously in different areas of the world, including the areas of the Mediterranean basin, various regions of Europe, Asia and Africa.

Generally cyclamen grow in the woods, in calcareous soils with basic pH and medium humidity. According to the species, it is possible to find wild cyclamen in beech woods, but also in oak and chestnut woods.

It's possible growing cyclamen in pots or in the garden outside or in the cool rooms of the house.

How to grow cyclamen

Cyclamen can be grown very easily both in pots and in the garden, placing the seedlings in the shade and in areas with no air currents.

To start growing cyclamen it is possible to start from the seeds, which must be buried in wooden boxes or small pots between July and September, using a soil rich in humus and mixed with sand.

The seeds should be kept in the dark, in a cool, draft-free place
of air and, after two or three weeks they will germinate. When the first leaves have developed, the small plants will be planted
in the ground or in a larger pot.

Alternatively it is possible to buy plants already developed and place them in pots or in the garden, taking into account the needs of cyclamen.

As for the position in which to place cyclamen in the garden, these they grow best in shady areas, sheltered by large trees.

Cyclamen do not like the sun and heat, while they resist cold and frosts well, the ideal temperature for their development is between 6 and 18 ° C.

The ideal soil for the growth of cyclamen it is acidic, moderately humid and rich in organic substances. The watering they must be done every two or three days from September to March, when the cyclamen is in bloom, while during the vegetative rest they must be thinned out.

In any case, cyclamen should only be watered when the earth appears dry.
In early spring, the cyclamen will wither and dry parts of the plant can be eliminated which will grow back from the underground bulb starting in autumn.

Growing cyclamen in pots requires the same care as growing in the ground: the plants should be placed in cool places, inside or outside the home, in very bright areas but away from direct sunlight and drafts.

When grown in pots, the water for watering must be poured into the saucer and not directly into the earth.

How to cure cyclamen

Cyclamen do not require special care and, if grown in the conditions suitable for the plant, they can flourish again for four or five years in a row without too many tricks.

As well as placing the plant in cool, shady places it is important to regulate watering which, if too abundant, could cause roots and leaves to rot.

The cyclamen is not particularly prone to diseases and parasites but if the soil is too wet, fungi can develop that kill the plant.

To prevent the attack of parasites and leaf rot it is good to remove dried leaves and flowers immediately.

Another important aspect is the presence of nutrients: to make the plant grow in health and enjoy abundant blooms, the soil must be rich in humus.

From autumn to spring it is recommended give the cyclamen a fertilizer every 15-20 days, especially if the plant is grown in pots.

In June, the dried leaves and flowers must be removed immediately to prevent them from rotting the whole plant and favoring the attack of parasites.

If the cyclamen is grown in pots, irepotting should be done only when the roots have completely occupied the container, until you see them pop out of the earth.

In this case it is possible to transfer the cyclamen in a slightly larger pot than the previous one. Repotting the cyclamen should be done after flowering, using a soil with equal parts peat, sand and leaves.

With these simple guidelines it is possible to have beautiful cyclamen in the garden, on the terrace or on the windowsill to give color to the coldest and grayest days of the year.

Cyclamen in the balcony and garden

Ideal both alone and in mixed compositions, outdoor cyclamen are in some cases also suitable for very low temperatures, below zero for short periods.
The duration is longer if they are protected from frost and rain, and if there is no water stagnation in the pot.
Some types are also suitable for creating borders and flower beds in the garden and in the tubs on the terrace.
Don't neglect to enhance the foliage: some varieties have particularly ornamental leaves.

Small cyclamen have the priceless advantage of not growing in width: they are ideal for small spaces.
Enhance your cyclamen by placing them on a small table on the balcony, in colorful and curious vases.
Choose a position that allows you to admire them through the windows even when you are at home.

Ideal for autumn: the best performance of duration in flower is given by exposure in indirect sunlight, watering in the saucer and never directly in the earth: after a quarter of an hour the remaining water must be removed, irrigating again only when the substrate is now dry . If the temperature does not exceed 15 degrees, the cyclamen will remain beautiful for a long time.
If they are in a sheltered spot, they survive the winter.

Reproduction of the cyclamen

A new cyclamen plant arises from the seed. The tuber, in fact, cannot be divided and give life to new plants, as happens for example for tulips, narcissus, turmeric is ginger.
The seeds are taken in summer, when the capsules that contain them are fully ripe. Sowing takes place between the end of August and September.
The seed is buried at a shallow depth, using small pots (4-5 cm in diameter) or phytocells.
The soil used is a 50% peat mix (which found here), 40% garden soil (which you can order here) and 10% sand. The mix must be light and well draining, for this reason sand is added.
To facilitate germination, shortening the times, it is advisable to soak the seeds in water for about 24 hours.

The first year of life

Cyclamen born from seeds planted at the end of summer have a long vegetative period before flowering. This usually takes place in December of the following year, after 14-15 months. In the first months it is necessary to avoid sudden changes in temperature, this must remain around 20 ° C during the day and not drop below 8 ° C during the night.
If the problem does not arise in September, the young shoots must be protected from October onwards.
Cyclamen can also be sown in January, in this case, however, more attention to temperatures. The environment for twinning must be protected and temperatures must not drop below 8 ° C.
Plants sown in January will still flower in December, but will be smaller in size.
A balcony greenhouse can be used to protect the seedlings in the cold months from the first year of life like this

Years after the first

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We have said that to obtain a new cyclamen plant you must start from the seed, but also by storing the tuber correctly you can have a repeated flowering for several years.
After the first flowering, which usually ends in February, the plant loses its vegetative system and will not emit new shoots.

In this period the tuber must be preserved, keeping it in the soil, in a cool place and with very limited watering, totally absent from June onwards.
The cultivation of cyclamen, starting from the tuber, starts again in August. The tuber is explanted from the soil in which it vegetated in the previous year and replaced in a larger pot. The pot should be filled with a new soil substrate, rich in organic substances. The tuber must not be buried deeply, but planted just below the surface.
At this point watering resumes and flower stems will sprout from the ground, starting from October.

A cyclamen plant can produce for several years by repeating these operations. Obviously, the removal of the tuber is not necessary if the cyclamen has grown in the ground.
It is very important to know this information, as cyclamen is usually sold in pots already in bloom, during the Christmas period, therefore already with a year of life. Potted plants are sold almost everywhere, you can also order them online for convenience (the found here).

Flowering of cyclamen, when does it happen?

The only thing that remains to be understood in detail is when the cyclamen blooms. As repeated several times, this is a developing flower mainly in winter. In fact, flowering usually occurs during the coldest period of the year that passes from September until March. The rest period instead occurs during the summer months, when temperatures rise. In particular, during the June, cyclamen may wither and show residues of their flowering. At that point, to preserve the flower it is good to act in a concrete and timely manner, perhaps by repotting the bulbs.

It is also recalled that i cyclamen can bloom again several times, it is only necessary to have the right care and to carry out the repotting in an adequate way. In addition, greater longevity of such a flower can be guaranteed if you keep it outside and in the shade, away from the powerful rays of the sun.

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