Cyclamens: A Christmas Houseplant

December 3, 2019
Cyclamens
Catherine Boeckmann

Cyclamens (Cyclamen persicum) are attractive, easy-care houseplants that will bloom continuously throughout the winter months. They are a unique alternative to the traditional holiday poinsettia.

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C. persicum have brightly colored flowers of white, red, or pink suspended above attractive, heart-shaped leaves on slender stems. Some people think they resemble butterflies in flight!

When selecting this winter-blooming houseplant, choose one with lots of buds that are just starting to open and sturdy, succulent leaves.

Cyclamens will bloom near the Christmas season and continue blossoming for two to three months.

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Cyclamen Plant Care

The most important things to know about cyclamen plant care is to give these houseplants bright, indirect light, fresh air, good humidity, and moist soil without keeping the tuber so wet that it rots.

  • Place plant in an east window or a southern exposure. Day temperatures of 60°F to 65°F and nights at 50° to 55°F are ideal. Do not let temperatures get about 70 degrees or the plant will think it’s time to go dormant.
  • To keep the plant moist, water cyclamen thoroughly when the soil looks and feels dry on the surface, however, avoid watering the leaves or tubers in the center, which may rot if it remains too wet. A safer method is to place each pot in a saucer of water for about five minutes, or until the soil is uniformly moist. 
  • Half strength fertilizer is best, or you will get mostly leaves with few flowers. Use a half-strength portion of liquid houseplant fertilizer every two weeks while plant is in bloom.
  • As each flower fades, remove the entire flower stalk from where it attaches to the tuber by giving it a sharp tug. New flowers will emerge from one of the many buds waiting just below the foliage.

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After Cyclamens Stop Blooming

Some folks just treat cyclamens as disposably holiday plants, similar to poinsettia. If you wish to keep your cyclamens growing, here are tips:

  • In early spring, cyclamens stop blooming; leaves will turn yellow as the plants go dormant. Gradually reduce water until June and pick off the dead leaves. Set the plants outside in partial shade, and water and feed regularly. Do not wet the center of the plant.
  • In early June, stop watering altogether and expose the corms to full sun.
  • At the end of July; then begin watering again. When the corms begin to develop young leaves, replant in a larger pot.
  • Bring them back inside in early fall. They will usually start producing new leaves and flower buds soon, and you will have recycled your cyclamens!

Related Articles

Amaryllis: Christmas Bulbs

Poinsettias, Christmas Flowers

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Tree Care

Holiday Plant Care: Poinsettia, Christmas Cactus, and Amaryllis

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Reader Comments

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My cyclamen plant

I found a very beautiful cyclamen plant...it was marked down to almost nothing--why-I really don't know! But-it is so very beautiful! But-I haven't ever had much luck with cyclamen! Any special "hints" that I might use? Thank you!

Aloe Vera

I have a offshot of am aloe Vera that I repotted in catus soil. The leaves are getting black spots on them. Please help.

I ordered some Hardy Cyclamen

I ordered some Hardy Cyclamen bulbs last Fall and they started sprouting before I could get them planted outside. (We had a very early, very harsh winter.) I planted them in a pot inside and they have survived, although they are very small, and are blooming. I would like to plant them outside. Should I just leave them, watering occasionally as I do now, and wait to plant them in the Fall?

You can plant them in a

The Editors's picture

You can plant them in a bigger container if you like and put the pot outside. Or, you can plant them in the ground and water when soil is dry.

Good Morning, My cyclamen

Good Morning,
My cyclamen finished flowering about a month ago..They are near the north window, about 15" away. Now, a few leaves are still standing out and green. What do I do now. I live in an apartment and have a terrace. it could go down to 20 or less out there. Since the cycle is the opposite of what you described, what should I do to get them to bloom next season. They were in bloom since September. Thanks

Let the plant go dormant.

The Editors's picture

Let the plant go dormant. Start watering regularly in early spring and move the plant closer to a sunny window. When tempetures allow it move the plant outside.