How to Grow and Care for Cyclamen in Containers

Cyclamen flower plant

Intro: Cyclamen, also called Persian violet or primrose, is a small container plant that grows best in cooler weather. Its sweet-smelling flowers grow to about 0.75 inches long, and the whole plant grows to 8 inches high (when flowering) and 6 inches in diameter. Cyclamen's attractive foliage is heart-shaped and often has silver variegations on the leaf tops. Cyclamen flowers bloom between December and may and come in many different colors, including pink, red, white, as well as striped or multiple colors.


Scientific Name: Cyclamen spp., mainly C. persicum

Plant Type: Tuberous flowering plant

Light: Indirect light

Water: Water when the potting soil feels dry. Don’t allow too much water in the cyclamen's crown area because it may cause the tuber to rot. Once the flowers begin to fade (meaning that the plant will soon go into dormancy), gradually reduce watering so that the cyclamen plant dries out within two to three months. Keep soil dry during dormancy because the tuber will rot if kept too wet at this time.

Fertilizer: If the cyclamen plant is given too much fertilizer, it will not flower and will be more susceptible to rots and molds (the occurrence of which can be diminished by good airflow).

Temperature: Cyclamen is picky when it comes to temperature: keep it between 40 and 68 degrees. In cyclamen’s natural habitat (Turkey, Syria and Jordan east to Iran), its leaves grow in autumn, and the plant grows throughout the winter. It dies in the spring and goes dormant during the summer.

Propagation: Plant a cyclamen tuber in a plant container with the top half above the soil’s surface. After several weeks of good watering, the cyclamen should begin to grow.

Pests and Diseases: If your cyclamen plant starts looking distorted or stop growing where buds and new growth is supposed to grow, you may have cyclamen mites (which are microscopic arachnids that attack many African violets). These are very difficult to control, and you will most likely need to throw your cyclamen plant away before it spreads to other container plants.

Misc. Info: This flower blooms for two months, and then its leaves turn yellow. It looks dead, but it isn’t. The cyclamen is now dormant, so allow it to dry out so you can either store the tuber in the plant container or dig up and store it in dry peat moss. Keep the cyclamen’s container in a tray of water with pebbles to keep the right humidity levels around the plant. This plant does well with good air circulation. On a table underneath a ceiling fan or outside in a cool, breezy spot is best.


Additional information