Cyclamens are a breath of fresh air in the winter months, with their vibrant upside-down looking blossoms and oversized heart-shaped leaves. When everything else in the world seemed grey, these plucky little plants got us through!
In the spring, however, you might feel like you’ve been catfished! No matter how much TLC you give your Mini Cyclamen, it won’t stop dying. But don’t feel bad! It’s part of the unique Cyclamen growth cycle; while your other plants are waking up, the Cyclamen is in dormancy! So, how can you take care of your withered friend to make sure he comes back in the fall?
About Cyclamen Dormancy
These plants originally come from rocky Mediterranean areas, where they bloom during the mild winter and go into hiding for the hot and dry summer. Indoor Cyclamens keep to the same routine, meaning they grow Mid Fall-Winter and start their dormancy in the Spring-Summer.
While you can’t change your plant’s overall growth cycle, some bad habits can contribute to early dormancy, which means you get a shorter flowering period. What does Cyclamen dormancy look like? And what practices should you avoid?
Yellowing Tips: The First Sign
Expect your Cyclamen’s tips to start turning yellow at some point during the early spring, after its flowers have fallen off. You must keep your eyes peeled so you can offer your plant the proper care at the right time!
As soon as you see the first sign of yellowing edges, stop watering your plant and place it in a cool, dark area. Shortly, the leaves will entirely die and fall off. If you have a few half-dead stragglers, feel free to cut them off with clean scissors. Congratulations, your Cyclamen is officially in dormancy!
Peek at Your Tuber
If you’re unfamiliar, your plant essentially grows out of a fancy potato called a “tuber.” This ball-like root should be firm and plump. If you take a peek (or a poke) and find the tuber shriveled or mushy, your plant is likely not going to make it. A Cyclamen’s tuber health is of the utmost importance during dormancy!
This quirky root-ball is very susceptible to root rot during the dormancy months. Under no circumstances should the tuber get wet once the leaves of your Cyclamen have fallen off.
Knock the top layer of soil out of your pot to reveal the crown of your tuber’s little head. Brush it off gently with your dry finger so that it’s relatively clean looking, allowing your Cyclamen to breathe during the summer months!
As sorry as your Cyclamen may look, this is the process! Leave your mini plant undisturbed in its cool, dark place until September-December, about 2-3 months. That’s right: Care for your Cyclamen during dormancy by essentially not caring for it.
It’s Time to Wake Up!
This is the exciting part! Now that your Mini Cyclamen has had a few months to rest wake him up by bringing him back to a cool, bright area. If you’ve started to see growth, bring your plant out of hiding. But, if your Cyclamen still looks like a sad potato, follow the below steps after 2-3 months.
Soak it. Drench your Cycalmen with room-temperature water until it’s pouring out of the bottom. Your soil is likely hydrophobic, meaning it’s so dry, it repels water instead of soaking it in. Solution? After drenching your plant, put it in a bowl for 20 minutes, leaving it to soak up excess water through the pot’s drainage hole.
You have successfully shaken your plant awake! Now what? More waiting. Leave it in its new, brighter location, and don’t water it again until you see the first sign of leaves!
If you were fortunate enough to have new leaves straight out of dormancy, start back to your Cyclamen’s old, regular care routine. To encourage your Cyclamen to bloom, give it fertilizer for flowering plants at half strength every 2-4 weeks.
The good news is after you notice the first signs of leaves, you won’t have to wait too long for those vibrant blooms you’re craving! Blossoms usually appear 2-3 weeks after the leaves.
Keep in mind that while Cyclamen does enjoy cooler temperatures than your average houseplant, cold drafts will stop your plant from flowering properly.
Growing Season Care Reminders
Helping your plant be the best, healthiest version of itself during the growing season contributes to its health during dormancy (and chances for its return). So, in case you’ve forgotten what proper Cyclamen care looks like, here are a few do’s and don’ts:
Do water the soil when it dries out almost completely. Don’t wait for your plant to show visible signs of thirst.
Do water the soil-only or bottom-water. Don’t over-head water; it encourages leaf and stem rot.
Do put your Cyclamen in a brightly lit location. Don’t place it in direct sun.
Do invest in a humidifier. Don’t mist your Cyclamen’s leaves. (Seriously, don’t do it.)
Do put your plant in a cool location. Don’t put your Cyclamen in a warm spot; it encourages them to re-enter dormancy.
Cyclamen Dormancy Care Review
While many people consider the Cyclamen to be a mere annual, a Florist’s plant that quickly fades, your plant can thrive for years if you give your Cyclamen the proper care during dormancy. Just remember:
At the first sign of yellow leaves in the spring, stop watering.
Store your dormant Cyclamen in a dark, cool place.
Uncover the top of your plant’s tuber.
Bring it out of seclusion when you see the signs of new leaves or within 2-3 months. (It should be September-December)
If there are no leaves, give it a good soaking, and wait to see signs of life.
Once new leaves appear, resume the growing-season care routine.
Fertilize every 2-4 weeks with half-strength flowering-plant fertilizer.
Oh, one last thing: enjoy your flowering Cyclamen with a cup of warm apple cider or hot cocoa. You deserve to celebrate!
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