Cyclamen

LIGHT TOLERANCE:

The heart-shaped, marbled leaves of the cyclamen plant are a lovely complement to the petals that twist and twirl like the wings of a butterfly. In the autumn and winter, when few other plants are in bloom, cyclamens add a splash of colour. They may be grown both indoors and out, and continue to be a favourite flowering houseplant. When summers are hot and dry, cyclamen go into a state of dormancy, losing their leaves and appearing lifeless. They store energy for the next flowering season in their round tubers.

LIGHT: Cyclamen require a cool, bright spot in which to flourish, but keep them out of direct sunlight.  While your plant is dormant during the summer, keep it out of bright light.

WATER: Being bulbous plants, cyclamens are susceptible to rot if watered directly from above. Cyclamen prefer to be  watered from below.  To do this, place it in a saucer or shallow bowl of water for an hour or so, until the soil is damp but not drenched. You should only water again if the soil feels dry to the touch.

SOIL: Cyclamen prefer slightly acidic soil that is rich with organic matter. For container plants, regular potting mix with some sphagnum peat mixed into the soil to raise the acidity is perfect.

FERTILISING: Feed your cyclamens at least once a month with a liquid fertilizer like Nitrosol or Multisol while they are in full leaf.  No feeding is necessary while the plant is dormant.

REPOTTING: Every two years you should repot your cyclamen. You can re-pot while the plant is dormant, in the summer, with fresh soil and a slightly larger pot.  Fill the new container part way with prepared potting soil.  Remove the tuber from the original pot and brush off the old soil, but don’t rinse it. Place the tuber in the new pot, about 3cm from the rim. Cover it halfway with potting soil.

Place the pot in a shady, dry spot for the rest of the summer. Only start watering it again in the autumn.