Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum), a popular potted flowering plant, is a Mediterranean native. Cyclamen thrive when the weather is cool and go dormant when it gets warm in the summer. Cyclamen bloom in pretty white, pink or red flowers that add a touch of spring to the home in winter. Although cyclamen is a perennial plant, because it is so readily available and inexpensive, many people discard the plant at the end of the blooming season.
Place the cyclamen in an area that remains between 40 and 50 degrees F at night and no warmer than 68 during the day. Don’t crowd it with other plants; the cyclamen requires good air flow through and around it. It also needs plenty of light, especially from late fall to early spring, Direct sun during this period is fine.
Place the cyclamen in a plastic dishpan or other similar container. Fill the pan with enough water to reach halfway up the side of the cyclamen’s pot. Allow the plant to sit in the water until the surface of the soil is wet. Remove the pot and allow it to drain completely before placing it back in its permanent location. Wait until the top 2 inches of soil is dry before watering again.
Fertilize the cylamen every four weeks with an all-purpose houseplant food, diluted to half the strength recommended on the fertilizer label.
Pull off dead foliage and flowers by tugging on them. If they don’t yield, wait another day and try again, suggests Jean Galligan, horticulture technician for the University of Minnesota Extension.
Decrease watering when the leaves turn yellow. This is a sign that the plant is going dormant. Keep it out of direct sunlight and allow the soil to go completely dry. When all the foliage is dead, remove the cyclamen tuber and repot it in the next size larger pot in dry potting soil. Bury only half the tuber, with the top half above the soil. Do not water until you see new growth in the fall, then bottom-water as you did during the previous growing season.
Place the cyclamen back in the sun when it develops new leaves.