How to Plant and Care for Cyclamen

Overview

Cyclamen are a tuberous flowering plant, so for planting, you must use bulbs or roots. You'll often find them at florist shops as potted plants for their large and beautifully colored flowers. They are an unusual plant that flourishes only in moderate temperatures; they become dormant in both cold and hot extremes of the year. Despite this, they are hardy throughout many climates, surviving drought and frost.

Step 1

Choose a good site to plant cyclamen. They prefer slightly alkaline soil, though they will tolerate other soils well. The location should be well-drained, however, as the tuberous roots of cyclamen can begin to rot if they frequently soak in water. Turn the bed over with a fork or spade, and mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost with the soil.

Step 2

Plant cyclamen tubers with the top of the tuber just at the soil surface. Cover it with a 1- to 2-inch layer of grit or loose gravel, not packed down. Plant in the spring after frost danger has passed. Water immediately after planting.

Step 3

Let cyclamen dry out before watering again. They have large root systems that keep them from needing constant watering, and waterlogging them results in no growth. You can, however, fertilize monthly through the growing season.

Step 4

Mulch according to the variety of cyclamen you have. Woodland varieties often do well with leaf litter mulch or mulched bark, while those that come from scrub or mountainous origins might prefer a pine needle layer of mulch. Spread a layer not more than 2 inches thick around the base of the plants, keeping it away from the stems for 1 to 2 inches.

Step 5

Allow the plant to go dormant after it stops blooming, which is usually when temperatures get regularly above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It will wither and dry out through the heat of the summer. Leave it alone, and be ready for it to grow again in the cooler days of fall. When it does, resume watering and re-fertilize.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork or spade
  • Compost
  • Cyclamen tubers
  • Liquid fertilizer
  • Mulch

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Cyclamen Care
  • Cyclamen.org: Cultivation
Keywords: cyclamen care, planting bulbs, cyclic plants

About this Author

Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.