Frilly Little Fillies- Caring for your Cyclamens

Cyclamen plants are an oldie but a goodie. Still to this day, customers regularly request them, they never last long in store, because they make a great houseplant and a simple gift idea! But sometimes, sadly, we are giving the poor plants a death sentence when the correct plant care is not understood.

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Cyclamens are classified as a tuber (similar to a potato) from which the flowers and roots grow, and they are valued for their frilly flowers and gorgeous variable leaves.  The tuber may produce roots from the top, sides, or bottom, depending on the species. Generally in most of their species, the leaves appear in Autumn, grow through the Winter, and die in Spring, remaining dormant through Summer.

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Flowering time can be any month of the year, depending on the species. Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen purpurascens bloom in summer and autumn, Cyclamen persicum and coum bloom in winter, and Cyclamen repandum blooms in spring.

The florist’s Cyclamens usually start appearing around or just before Mother’s Day when the temperatures begin to drop. Generally the species that florists sell is Cyclamen Persicum, which is frost tender. They should be kept below 20 °C with night time temperatures preferably between 6.5 °C to 15 °C.

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When cyclamen are not kept at the correct temperature, your plant will die slowly. Cyclamens grow in cool, humid environments in nature, so whilst they are readily available and flourish through the winter months, one of the biggest mistakes people make, is keeping their plant in their heated homes. Heaters keep the environment comfortable for us, but far too hot for your plants whilst also severely dehydrating them. If temperatures are too high, the plant will begin to yellow and the flowers will die, fast. When plants are not kept at the right temperature, you can also cause the plant to become dormant, which looks alot like it has died.

Just as important as correct temperature, is adequate (but not over) watering. Cyclamens can be sensitive to both over and under watering. The easiest way to ascertain whether your plant requires watering is to perform the ‘touch test’- simply placing your fingers onto the soil underneath the leaves and pushing downward to determine how much moisture is in the soil. If the plant soil feels dry, you should water it. It is important that the plant is not left in this dry state for so long that the leeaves and flowers begin to droop.

Cyclamens generally like to be watered from the bottom, to avoid getting the leaves and stems wet, which causes them to rot. Make sure that the plant is able to adequately drain after watering it.

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Once the cyclamen has finished flowering, it will go into a dormant state. In this state, is looks very much like it is dying, as the leaves turn yellow and then fall off. It is just sleeping. If you continue to care for your cyclamen throughout it’s dormant period, it will rebloom in a few months. Stop watering the plant once you notice that the leaves are beginning to die. The plant should be kept in a a cool, dark position, and you should remove any dead foliage. Let it sit for approximately two months. Once you see some leaf growth, you can start to water the plant again, resume normal cyclamen plant care, and bring it out into a brighter position. It should rebloom shortly.

Cyclamens are available in an array of amazing colours, and we have often have them in store, call us on 02 9871 1666 to see if they have come in from market today!

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