Cyclamen:Everything YouNeed To Know
Cyclamen, renowned for their signature magenta petals, are gorgeous tuberous perennials that blossom in late winter. Their vibrant colour and unique leaves mean cyclamen offer a refreshing sprinkle of natural beauty during the colder months when not many other flowers tend to bloom.
A cyclamen plant is an excellent indoor plant, allowing you to add a touch of colour to your space during winter. In this helpful guide, we’ll highlight everything you need to know about the cyclamen flower, from its symbolism, the different types of cyclamen, and some top tips for cyclamen care.
Cyclamen Facts and Meaning
Part of the primrose family, the cyclamen plant is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean. The cyclamen genus contains more than 20 species, with cyclamen persicum being a common one that’s often used as an indoor plant. Also known as ‘sow bread’, the flower got its nickname due to its resemblance to small loaves and its popularity with wild pigs.
Greek philosopher Plato referenced the cyclamen plant all the way back in the 4th century BC, so it’s been around for a long time! The flower’s name is derived from the Greek word ‘kuklos’ which means ‘circle’ in English – a reference to its flattened tubers.
If you’re familiar with cyclamen, you’ve probably seen it in its popular magenta colour, but it can also be found in white, rose and pink. Cyclamen plants are described as having heart-shaped foliage which can be found in a glossy dark green colour, sometimes patterned with silver.
Their delicate petals have evolved to blossom ‘upside down’ in order to protect their stamen and pistil from rain damage. They can also have a sweet, light fragrance depending on the species of the plant. These can be found in a range of different sizes, so you can find an indoor cyclamen plant that perfectly suits your space.
In terms of cyclamen symbolism, this flower is associated with love, sincerity and empathy. They’re commonly seen in churchyards, as well as near Christian and Islamic monasteries (ribats), particularly in the Mediterranean. In Japan, the cyclamen flower is seen as the holy flower of love, so it’s frequently used as a gift for Valentine’s Day. Cyclamen are often gifted to show love and adoration for their recipient.
Cyclamen are hardy, meaning they can withstand colder temperatures. Despite being a delightful indoor plant, cyclamen tend to grow outdoors under trees or on banks and borders. You can also find them alongside other types of early-flowering woodland plants like snowdrops, primroses and winter aconites.
When Do Cyclamen Flower?
Cyclamen naturally tend to blossom during autumn, winter and spring when outside conditions are cool and damp. During warmer seasons, the plant becomes dormant as it stores energy for its next flowering season.
Different Types of Cyclamen
There are three main types of cyclamen, these include:
This species is known for its pink or magenta flowers, which typically sprout between January and March. You can spot this species by its kidney-shaped, dark-green leaves which mostly feature silver and white marks.
This cyclamen flower features marble-like foliage which resembles ivy. With its large pink flowers, this plant self-seeds and offers a pleasant touch to garden spaces through winter and spring.
This species consists of gorgeous fragrant pink flowers along with heart-shaped and shiny, mottled leaves that are dark green and silvery. These plants blossom throughout mid to late summer.
There are several different cyclamen colours, and these come with associated meanings. If you’re thinking about gifting a loved one a beautiful bunch of cyclamen, here’s a guide to which colour is best for the occasion.
In order to keep your colourful collection of cyclamen in tip-top condition, you’ll need to learn how to take care of them. Here are some tips to keep your cyclamen looking their best.
Finding the right spot
The first step to taking care of cyclamen is to ensure that you find a suitable spot for them. Your best bet is to place your cyclamen plant in a cool, bright area of your home, away from direct sunlight.
Setting the right temperature is key to cyclamen care. The plant needs humid conditions – generally around 10-15°C – so a conservatory, porch, or east/north-facing windowsill is typically suitable. If temperatures become too warm in the home, your cyclamen flower’s leaves will begin to fade and turn yellow.
Watering your indoor cyclamen
Ensuring that your indoor cyclamen plant gets the nutrients it needs is key. However, you should also be careful not to overwater it (a common mistake). Remember to keep the soil moist – cyclamen flowers are just as sensitive to underwatering as they are to overwatering. Aim to water the plant from below the leaves. It’s important to prevent liquid from getting on the stems and leaves, as this can cause them to rot.
We also recommend placing your plant in a pot that provides the flower with suitable drainage. Remember, if you want your cyclamen to blossom during the following autumn, you’ll need to reduce watering over the summer period so that it goes dormant.
Fertilising your indoor cyclamen
Fertilising your indoor cyclamen plant will help to provide it with the nutrients it needs to live a long, healthy life. It’s recommended that you fertilise cyclamen every one to two months using a water-soluble fertiliser which is mixed at half strength. Be careful not to over-fertilise the cyclamen flower, as this can cause difficulties when it’s time for it to rebloom.
Cyclamen Care after blooming
If you’ve followed these steps but walk into a room one day to find your cyclamen with yellow drooping leaves, don’t panic! Chances are that you haven’t done anything wrong. After they’ve bloomed, cyclamen plants go into a dormant state. Don’t worry, the plant is just sleeping. It’s now your job to help the plant through its dormancy. To do this, stop watering the plant and allow the leaves to die. Relocate it to a cool, slightly dark location and let it sit for around two months, checking on it every now and then.
Getting your cyclamen plant to rebloom
Once your cyclamen plant’s dormancy has come to an end, it’s time to get it to rebloom. You can do this by taking it out of its darker storage location and putting it back in a place with bright, indirect lighting. You should also begin to water it again – completely soak the soil and maybe even try putting the pot into a tub of water for around an hour. Be sure to drain off any excess water.
Finally, check that the cyclamen’s tuber hasn’t outgrown the pot. If it has, you should place the cyclamen flower into a bigger pot. Once the leaves on your cyclamen begin to grow again, revert back to your regular cyclamen care and the plant should rebloom in no time.
So, now you know everything there is to know about cyclamen, why not add a stunning cyclamen selection to your home? This wonderful wintertime flower can add some character and charisma during the colder months – it’s also the perfect Christmas gift.