What is Cyclamen?
Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.) are a tuberous perennial. It is part of the Primulaceae or primrose family and is native to Europe and the Mediterranean. There are around 20 different species of Cyclamens. In Australia the most commonly grown type is Cyclamen persicum which is called the Florist’s Cyclamen and is usually grown in pots as an annual. The miniature wild Italian Cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) is harder to come by but will thrive and multiply in a shady position in the garden. Cyclamen thrive in cooler temperatures and need it for their growing period. Over Summer they will be dormant to avoid the hot, dry weather. When the weather starts to cool in Autumn the tuber will start produce foliage. The foliage is usually dark green in colour with silvery markings on top while underneath is pale. The leaf is heart to oval shape. Come Winter, Cyclamen will start to shoot long thin stalks with elegant up turned flowers. Depending on the variety the colours can range from glorious clear reds through to purples, light pinks, whites, and all sorts of shades in between. Cyclamen persicum has the larger range in colour and taller/larger blooms. Cyclamen that are kept inside should be position in a bright position away from direct sunlight and heaters. If in a hot area each night place them outside to cool. If planting outside then they need a sheltered position that has dappled sun and the soil should be well draining.
Benefits of Growing Cyclamen
Cyclamen are a low maintenance plant that produces colour throughout the Winter months. They are ideal for garden beds, borders, containers and as an indoor plant. They look stunning when planted en masse or sitting as a table decoration. Cyclamen are frost tolerant plant once established.
How to Grow Cyclamen
Cool, temperate, arid, semi arid.
Cyclamen hederifolium Height: 10-15cm, Width: 15-30cm
Cyclamen persicum Height: 30cm, Width: 15-30cm
When To Plant Cyclamen
Plant in late Summer to early Autumn.
They prefer well-drained soil with additional organic matter. If planting in a pot use a good quality potting mix.
How To Plant Cyclamen
Plant in dapple sun to part shade outside or bright space inside that is not in direct sunlight. Most Cyclamen’s come as potted plants and should be planted at pot level, 30cm apart. If bare tuber then it should be planted 3-5cm below the surface.
Cyclamen Plant Care
Water to keep the soil moist. Reduce water if in the ground over Winter due to rainfall. If in a pot place you finger in to test the moisture level. Try to water the soil and not the foliage as this can cause fungus problems. As the temperature warms up in Spring cyclamen will start to yellow and die down. That’s your cue to decrease watering to prevent the tuber rotting.
Feed annually in early Winter with a controlled release fertiliser. You can liquid feed during leaf and flower development.
If growing in pots, every couple of years you will need to repot to refreshen the soil mix. Also you might need to increase the pot size as the cyclamen tubers multiply and expand. Repotting is best done in late Summer just before the cyclamen starts it’s growth cycle.
Remove flowers as they finish and trim off any yellowing leaves. At the end of the season, remove any remaining dead leaves.
Watch out for snails and slugs.
Cyclamen are also susceptible to botrytis or grey mould, which occurs mostly in cool, humid conditions. Spray the center of the plant with a fungicide or remove the dead leaves or flowers.