Cyclamen are generally winter and spring flowering plants that are available in a wide range of colours. It is a perennial plant that is versatile, as it can be used as an indoor plant or can form part of flowerbeds in the garden or containers.
As part of a species with many varieties, the characteristics vary, with flowers tending to be white or a soft pink. Some varieties may also produce dark pink flowers. With flowers typically appearing between December and May, they enjoy potted positions with a good degree of light, but away from direct sunlight. They also benefit from adequate ventilation.
Natives of warm countries in the Mediterranean and parts of Asia and Africa, Cyclamen can be difficult to cultivate, but will reward efforts with their delicate flowers. Usually found in wooded and rocky habitats as well as some alpine meadows, they can be adaptable when potted but need a level of care and attention to flourish.
Cyclamens form flowers and roots from a tuber and, as a general rule, leaves appear in autumn followed by flowers which then die in late spring, remaining dormant in summer.
With 23 species of Cyclamen, the flowering and general look of the plant can vary somewhat depending on its environment. The shape and colour of the leaves can also show some differences. Although some species are hardier than others, the Cyclamen that are usually sold by garden centres and florists are C. persicum, which need gentle care and are not frost resistant.
A fragile plant when incorrectly cared for, Cyclamen need careful watering. Too much water can affect the flowering and also cause other problems. By waiting until the soil feels dry before adding water, the plant is able to thrive without becoming drenched. Drain leftover water and consider plant food every two weeks or so.
While this plant is content to grow on a windowsill, it does not react well to frost or extreme temperatures so should be brought further into the room on cold nights. The same can be said for hot days, as Cyclamen prefer cool temperatures.
Did You Know?
Cyclamen are part of the Primrose family and the plant was a favourite of artist Leonardo Da Vinci, who used them to decorate the margins of his manuscripts at the beginning of the 16th century.