Even though they look at their best for only eight weeks or so a year, cyclamen care indoors takes very little effort, and the results are very reliable and very worthwhile.
Part of the Primulaceae family and great for the not-so-green-thumbs out there, this tuberous perennial will die down to the thick roots during the summer when dormant, and regrow fast every autumn.
The seeds are planted in late summer for blooms in the upcoming winter of that year (some 18 months later). When fully mature, expect them to grow between six and nine inches in width and height.
They prefer to be kept cool, in areas without long hours of direct sun exposure and removed from heat ventilators or radiators.
Petite and flowering, you’ll love the sweet scent and small blooms that grow upwards on long stems stretching up above the leaves.
I cherish the delight the stunning flowers bring because they come in multiple colors, including red, purple, white, and pink. Plus, the foliage is heart-shaped and green with lovely silver marbling which adds to its charm.
Cyclamen plants won’t just beautify your indoor space during the winter holiday season when actively blooming, but they will also help you breathe cleaner air indoors; as this plant has air purifying properties and it absorbs sulfur dioxide from the air.
Despite its beauty, cyclamen plants are toxic to humans and animals if ingested, so make sure to keep them out of reach for kids, cats and dogs.
How to Care for Cyclamen Indoors
When it comes to cyclamen care indoors, cyclamens love it when you provide them with a lot of natural sunlight. They will thrive in a light, cool, but draft-free area of your home.
For a best-case scenario, keep the plant where it will receive an hour of two of natural morning sun, but avoid exposing it to long hours of direct sun.
From my experience with cyclamen care indoors, I’ve noticed that a higher temperature can cause them to enter dormancy earlier.
This is why they prefer a cooler temperature, but not too cold.
Ideally, place it in a room where the temperature ranges between 50 and 70 degrees F. The cooler the temperature, the longer will its flowers last!
Water & Humidity
I noticed my cyclamens thrive when I water them only when the soil is dry to the touch. Do it right after noticing this because leaving it in a dry state for longer may result in droopy foliage and flowers.
Water cyclamens below the foliage so that water doesn’t go near the stems and leaves. The ideal humidity level for this plant is between 40 and 60 percent.
I recommend keeping them away from higher humidity and improper ventilation because this increases their risk of disease and pests.
When caring for cyclamen indoors, the levels of humidity are usually too low for the plants, especially in winter months. So to make up for it, place the cyclamen over a tray with pebbles or use a humidifier.
I always use well-draining and organically-rich soil for my cyclamens, but I also make sure it’s on the slightly acidic side.
Fertilizing your cyclamens isn’t complicated and a complete fertilizer for houseplants can be used, whether it’s 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. You should feed it every three to four weeks, until dormant.
If you notice that the leaves are yellowing, it’s maybe a good idea to use a complete fertilizer for houseplants with added iron.
As a rule of thumb, cyclamens need repotting every two years or so. It also depends on the plant and the current pot.
You’ll be able to see for yourself, whether the plant looks like it’s too big for its container and needs repotting. Roots growing through the holes at the base of the pot is usually a good sign that repotting is required.
Always repot during the plant’s dormancy.
Did you know that there are at least 20 types of cyclamens?
All of them originate from the Mediterranean and the methods for propagation may work well for some of the species and may not be the best option for others.
The two most common types are the hardy and florist cyclamens. The former is propagated best through seed or division whereas the latter tends to be a bit more intricate and demands more patience and skill.
- Seed propagation
I often propagate my cyclamens in this manner. I soak the seeds in water for up to 24 hours and then plant them in the soil. For indoor cyclamens, start them during the winter and you may see blooms the first year.
Outside cyclamens are planted in spring when the soil is warm between 45 to 55 degrees F. These ones will bloom the next spring.
This method is slower and you shouldn’t expect mature and full-sized plants before they reach 15 months or so.
- Propagation by division
Propagation by division is done with the tuber, an underground root, because it’s how cyclamens reproduce. Lift the tuber from the soil during autumn and divide it.
Replant the divided pieces under 2 inches of soil so that they root prior to winter’s arrival. I often add a mulch layer that will keep the tubers safe from cold temperatures.
Best Types of Cyclamen
- White Cyclamen- this lovely white cyclamen is my personal favorite and it boasts pretty white flowers which offer a stunning contrast with the marbled leaves!
- Violette (cyclamen persicum)- the stunning bright magenta flowers will leave you speechless every time you look at them. They’re a real showstopper!
- Verano Red Cyclamen- If you’re a fan of red flowers, the crimson red ones of this variety will make you fall in love with this plant over and over again. And, make sure you place it where it’s visible and your family and guests can also enjoy its beauty.
Other Cyclamen Care Indoor Tips
- To reflower a cyclamen, stop the watering in spring when the plant’s leaves will become yellow and the flowering will decline.Place the plant in a cooler area and keep it dry during the summer. The soil should barely be kept moist. Regrowth occurs around September.This is when you can bring it inside and repot it if needed. I usually resume watering once I spot new growth.
- Florist’s cyclamen is delicate and suitable for indoors. The hardy one is ideal for the outdoors in cooler areas.
Trouble Shooting- Common Issues
Problem: Yellow foliage in autumn or winter
Cause: High temperature or under-watered or overwatered; excessive sunlight exposure too
Solution: Place the plant where it will receive brightness, but not long hours of direct sun. Keep it in a cooler room and water it only when you notice the top soil is dry. Use well-draining soil only.
Problem: Cyclamen is collapsing
Cause: Overwatering, crown rot
Solution: Change the soil and use new, well-draining one.
Decrease the watering if you notice the soil is soggy and if there’s mushiness in the center, the crown may be rotten.
Rinse the tubers to eliminate any soft spots.
Once they strengthen, replant them in new soil and keep them in a cool room with plenty of natural sunlight and only two to three hours of morning sun.
Problem: Low flowering.
Cause: High temperatures.
Solution: High temperatures can send the cyclamen into early dormancy. Keep it in a cooler area to prevent this. In spring though, it will cease flowering naturally.