Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)

Cyclamen are very popular gift plants for Mother’s Day in Australia, which falls in May when these plants are at peak blooming. Cyclamen plants flower through autumn and into winter and thrive in containers indoors. As well as producing a succession of attractive flowers in pastel tones of red, pink and white, cyclamen have attractive green leaves often marbled with silver or white. Some cyclamen flowers are also perfumed.

They can also be grown outdoors as garden plants for shaded spots and will naturalise in cool gardens. In ideal growing conditions, the flower can form a spiral-shaped seed that may germinate and eventually form a new flowering plant.

As flowering and growth winds down during winter, cyclamen begin to go dormant, although some plants may keep flowering well into spring. Cyclamen are often treated as annuals but, if the corm is healthy and you have space for a plant that’s not in leaf or flower, the corm can be kept in its pot (keep dry) then encouraged to grow and reflower in late summer (see general care details below).

Growing conditions

Aspect As indoor potted plants, cyclamen like a cool, brightly lit area with a couple of hours of sun, out of draughts from central heating and air conditioners. In gardens they do best in a cool, shaded spot, with dappled shade away from summer sun.

Soil Most cyclamens are sold in containers with potting mix. If your cyclamen is growing from a dormant corm it can be repotted into a slightly larger pot with a premium potting mix for indoor plants such as Seasol Indoor Potting Mix. In the garden, plant in well-drained soil enriched with organic compost and/or Seasol Super Compost.

Climate Cyclamen grow as indoor potted plants in all climates but do best outdoors in cool or Mediterranean climates (mild wet winters and warm to dry hot summers).

How to grow and look after Cyclamen for a beautiful flower display
How to grow and look after Cyclamen for a beautiful flower display

General care

Watering Water regularly but take care not to wet the corm as this may lead to rot. Either use a long-spouted watering can to water the potting mix, or water cyclamen by allowing them to absorb water from the base then letting them drain. Don’t allow plants to stand permanently in water. Reduce watering as the plant starts to wind down and head into dormancy and stop watering the corm completely while it is dormant.

In late summer, begin to water the corm and watch for signs of new leaves appearing. Begin to water regularly as the corm regrows. Repot if necessary and move into a bright spot. Not all cyclamen reflower – if your plant fails to regrow, buy a new one!

Feeding and mulching Feed when plants are growing and flowering with a controlled release fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release for Flowers, Fruit & Citrus. Plants also appreciate liquid feeding with PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers as they begin to regrow after their summer dormancy or throughout the growing season.

If grown outside in the garden, apply an organic mulch such as sugar cane mulch, lucerne or pea straw to keep plant’s roots warm and weeds away.

Pruning Pick off spent flowers and leaves by twisting them gently from the corm.

Watch out Indoor potted cyclamen are usually trouble free.

  • Wilting may indicate over watering so only water when the potting mix has begun to dry out and avoid wetting the corm.
  • Yellow leaves may also indicate over watering or exposure to hot conditions. Remove yellow leaves and adjust growing conditions. If leaves yellow in late winter, the plant is probably going dormant.