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Cyclamens Christmas houseplant | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Caring for Cyclamens

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How to Keep Cyclamens Happy Through the Holidays

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Cyclamens are attractive holiday plants that will bloom continuously throughout the winter months if cared for properly. Here’s how to keep these houseplants happy and keep them blooming for months!

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

Cyclamen flowers and foliage.

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

With proper care, 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, good air circulation, moderate humidity, and moist soil (without keeping the tuber so wet that it rots).

  • Lighting: Place cyclamens in an east-facing window or in a southern exposure that offers bright, indirect light. 
  • Temperature: Daytime temperatures of 60° to 65°F (15° to 18°C) and nights at 50° to 55°F (10° to 13°C) are ideal. Do not let temperatures get above 70°F (21°C) or the plant will think it’s time to go dormant, which will cause it to stop blooming and drop its leaves.
  • Watering: 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 the soil remains too wet. A safer watering method is to place each pot in a saucer of water for about five minutes, or until the soil is uniformly moist. 
  • Feeding: 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 the plant is in bloom.
  • Flowers: 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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What to Do After Cyclamens Stop Blooming

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

  • In early spring, cyclamens naturally 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, begin watering again. When the corms begin to develop young leaves, replant in a larger pot.
  • Bring the plant back inside in early fall. They will usually start producing new leaves and flower buds soon, and you will have recycled your cyclamen!

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