Cyclamen: a great flowering houseplant

It is so great to see that houseplants are enjoying a renewed popularity. Our local suppliers have some really wonderful species to choose from. While many houseplants are purchased for their green foliage and not their flowering capabilities that doesn’t mean all of your indoor plants have to be non-flowering. Tops on my list for a flowering houseplant is the Cyclamen.

Cyclamen have sweet scented small, (one to four centimeter) flowers that are produced on long stems, held upright above the foliage. You can find Cyclamen in shades of pink, red or white, often the stems are bright green or slightly red with attractive foliage which often has silver marbling on the top sides of the heart-shaped leaves. The entire plant, when in flower, reaches only about fifteen centimetres high.

Caring for a Cyclamen in your home is quite easy. I always stress the importance of a good quality potting soil and the Cyclamen does best planted in a soil-based potting mix, with the top of the tuber just slightly above the soil line so that it does not rot in the soil. Your Cyclamen needs bright light but should not be placed in the direct sun as that is too hot for it. Off to the side of a sunny window is best.

Most often Cyclamens die due to over-watering than from lack of watering so it is important to take great care when watering the Cyclamen as they are very susceptible to rot when over-watered.

Follow these steps accordingly, to ensure the best plant survival and growth.

  • When leaves are present on the plant, water when only when the soil is dry to the touch. Most importantly, avoid getting water on the crown of the plant (where the stems met at the tuber). It is best to water the plant from the bottom of the pot by placing the pot in a shallow bowl of water and then removing it completely from the bowl once the surface of the soil is moist to the touch. This avoids water contacting the crown when watering from above.
  • As the flowers begin to fade, gradually allow the plant to dry out for 2-3 months. Because this plant is a cyclic perennial in the wild it still needs a natural rest period even when it is being grown as a houseplant.
  • When new the growth appears, resume watering and feeding. You can place the plant in a partially shaded spot outdoors for the summer. Bring it back indoors before the cold weather.

Because the natural habitat of the Cyclamen is a moist tropical habitat, this plant requires higher humidity, especially during the winter and in the home setting so it is most beneficial to create extra humidity for the plant by adding mist from a spray bottle, filled with tap water, frequently.

The Cyclamen is a wonderful houseplant that will reward you with attractive leaves and stems as well as a delicate show of flowers. I hope this summary of care tips will encourage you to add a Cyclamen to your indoor garden and assist you in getting the most from your Cyclamen.