Your Guide to Cyclamen Care
Most people don’t really think much about cyclamen care. They figure that cyclamen is sort of a throw away plant, so what is the point of fussing over it. Taking good care of your cyclamen, however, can help extend the life of you plant and keep it healthy and beautiful through out its life. It is the very ephemeral nature of this plant and its associations with autumn, that give this plant its beauty.
So how can you help get the most out of your cyclamen?
Choosing a Good Cyclamen
The first step in cyclamen care and to extending the life and beauty of your plant is to choose a good specimen right from the start. The best time to get a cyclamen is right at the beginning of autumn. Just as the last days of summer are giving way the cool breath of winter breezes and the trembling leaves start to trickle down on the streets, the cyclamen buds are just beginning to hatch. There are a few weeks in September usually when cyclamens are just mature enough for you to judge their health, but not so mature that they have already started on the road to their demise. Start looking at the end of August and the first time that you see the buds starting to open and show those beautiful purples and whites is when you want to get your cyclamen.
Examine the specimen carefully to make sure there are no signs of disease such as discoloration or an unnatural droopiness. However, don’t get a plant that has already come into full bloom where all the petals are fully on display. Such early bloomers tend to live even shorter lives than most cyclamen. Your best bet is a slowly but steadily developing plant, the one whose beautiful colors are just beginning to emerge in early September.
The thing to remember when it comes to cyclamen care is that these are autumn plants. They like the cooling, cloudy weather of fall. Do not place your plant in the direct sunlight, or it will wither under the spotlight. The best light for a cyclamen is indirect light. If you are going to keep them in planters either have them by windows where they do not get a long sunbath, or keep them slightly off to the side. If you are having difficulty deciding what is enough sunlight, always choose the darker spot.
Also, try to keep your cyclamen cool. It is a Mediterranean autumn plant so it prefers the cooler temperatures to the summer heat.
Another aspect of cyclamen care that often shortens the life of a specimen is improper watering. The key to watering is to avoid getting the soil around the base too wet. Cyclamen are very vulnerable to root rot, so the best way to water them is to fill the tray at the bottom of the pot so that only the bottom layer of the soil is moistened. This will allow the roots to reach down and get the nutrition they need, but avoid weakening the central channel of the cyclamen.
You should also mist your plant at least once every other day, but only very lightly. In addition, you should not mist you plant more than once a day. Be careful not to overdo it on the misting and remember that most plants prefer a morning misting because it gives them the most time to use the moisture in photosynthesis.
Finally, another expert trick in cyclamen care is to cut away the blooms as they wilt. A plant only has so much energy to use in its system. The best way to make it focus its energies on it healthy blooms is to cut away the ones that start to wilt. This sort of “dead wooding,” as it is sometimes called, will actually extend the life and beauty of your remaining blooms.