Apartment plants

Cyclamen - Cyclamen persicum


Genus that counts about twenty species of perennial herbaceous plants, which develop large roundish tubers, originating from the Mediterranean area; they are widespread in most parts of the globe as apartment and garden plants, ideal for shaded flower beds. The tubers are buried at a depth equal to their radius. The leaves are roundish, slightly fleshy, carried by a long petiole; they are dark green, often marked by a showy silvery-green zoning. The flowers appear in groups, at the center of the leaves, from which they rise a few centimeters; they are of various colors, in shades of pink and red, with varieties also in two colors. They have petals turned upwards, which give the cyclamen flowers a particular and unmistakable shape. Cyclamen flowering lasts a few weeks, from September to spring.

The cyclamen

The cyclamen is a plant native to Europe and Asia (but there are also species originating from Africa) and belongs to the family of Primulaceae and includes about 15 species. In Italy c. Spontaneously grow in the woods neapolitanum, the repandum and the europaeum. The flower was already known in antiquity by the Romans and the Greeks who cultivated it in their gardens, but gave them other names. The current name derives from the Greek "kuklos" which means "circular" and perhaps refers to the shape of the bulb. The cyclamen that we normally find on the market, instead, usually comes from the cyclamen persicum, of oriental origin. It was introduced in Europe in the 1600s and is today one of the most common pot plants. They began to cultivate it and select it in England, but then they also became fond of it in France and Germany to the point that already at the beginning of the 1900s cultivars with a double flower or with fringed petals had been produced. They then went in search of dwarf and fragrant cultivars, even if, in the latter case, with little success.
Some nurserymen have also researched the leaves to obtain particular colors and shapes.

Family and species
Primulaceae, comprising about 15 species
Exposure Half shade, shadow
Resistance to cold The persicum no, many others yes
Ground Forest, acid or basic depending on the species
Flowering Some at the end of winter, others in autumn
colors White, pink, red, purple, salmon
Height from 10 to 35 cm
Type of plant bulbous
Irrigation Normal, fears stagnation
Cultivation From easy to medium difficult

Outdoor cyclamen

Rustic cyclamens grow well outdoors in a shady or partially shaded position. They generally have smaller leaves than apartment ones. The tubers are planted in late spring or late summer, at a depth of 3 or 4 centimeters in soils rich in organic substance, to which must be added leaves of beech and sand, capable of retaining humidity, but at the same time permeable to excess water. We periodically water the soil, but only when it is dry. After flowering, with the arrival of spring, the foliage withers and the plants enter in vegetative rest; avoid watering them at this time of year. If we wish it when the tubers are dormant we can dig them up to move them.

How to cure cyclamens

In this paragraph we will talk in particular of the cyclamen persicum that is the one sold in shops from the autumn to the beginning of spring and how to cure it. It is certainly the most common. The root is a black oval bulb from the leaves and stems almost branch off. The leaves are heart-shaped and are medium green with white veins at times. The flower is formed by five petals that rise upwards. When flowering comes to an end the plant produces fruits in the shape of a round capsule. Inside are the seeds, numerous and very small. Being a plant alive and important, you can find many colors and variegations. Furthermore, there are smooth, fringed and even wavy petals.

Indoor cyclamens

Semirustic cyclamens, on the other hand, in cold climate areas must be cultivated during the winter period in the apartment.
In summer the watering must be abundant. During the winter the optimum temperature is 18-20 ° C and must not fall below 15 ° C. We water regularly, but only when the soil is dry, and avoiding leaving water in the saucer or excessively wetting the foliage.
Indoor cyclamens suffer a lot from heat sources and too dry air, for this reason it is good to place them away from stoves, radiators, or other heat sources, and regularly spray the leaves. During flowering it is preferable to avoid vaporisations, since water tends to stain its petals; to increase the environmental humidity we can also place the containers in saucers or bowls filled with expanded clay, immersed in water: in this way the evaporating water will increase the environmental humidity, without coming into contact with the plant roots.

How to make the cyclamen flourish again

If after weeks of beautiful flowers you begin to see the flowers of your cyclamen deteriorate, do not be afraid and above all do not panic. After a long and abundant flowering, the cyclamen also stops flowering and begins a slow passage towards a state of dormancy.
First you notice the leaves turn yellow, then dry and fall. In this phase DO NOT RUN THE CICLAMINO PLANT, but follow the advice we give you, because in spite of appearances the plant is not dead.
Once the flowering is finished, generally around February-March, the cyclamens must be brought into an unheated environment or, for those lucky enough to have one, into a cold greenhouse. Watering must be greatly reduced and when the plant no longer produces leaves (usually around June) completely interrupted. In August the pots are emptied and the tubers are taken. The old roots are removed and the tubers are planted in a soil rich in organic substance with beech leaves and sand. Watering must be very abundant.


Cyclamens can only be reproduced from seed. The tubers in fact do not reproduce and cannot be divided. Seeds should be harvested in the summer. Recall that indoor cyclamens must be pollinated to produce seeds. To do this with a small brush the pollen is taken from the anthers and is deposited on the stigmas. The seeds must therefore be sown in September

Cyclamen pests and diseases

Cyclamen is a plant that is not frequently attacked by parasites. Sometimes attacks of aphids or mites can occur. The use of a specific pesticide is recommended. However, it fears root rot and botrytis, fungal diseases that develop in case of excessive watering, poorly draining substrate and lack of ventilation. The most common problems for cyclamens are usually the rots of the bulb or leaves.
In the first case, unfortunately, no damage has been done. This is why prevention is very important by adopting good strategies for irrigation and systematic cleaning. It is also good to be very careful when buying. In fact, especially in non-specialized stores such as supermarkets, plants are watered in a reckless manner and it happens to buy already infected ones. It is therefore important to carefully check the substrate making sure it is not too wet. The leaves can instead be attacked by Botrytis, especially if the environmental humidity is very high. In that case it is necessary to carefully remove the affected leaves and ventilate the area more. Another problem may be an attack by the red spider (mites). You will notice a yellowing of the leaves and a loss of vitality of the plant. It is caused by an excessively dry environment. It is therefore necessary to vaporize the plant often with water and distribute an acaricide.

Cyclamen-cilicium" title="Cyclamen variety of Cyclamen cilicium -">Cyclamen varietyCyclamen cilicium

Provenance: Asia Minor. Maximum height 10 cm. Semirustica, with variegated leaves, produces pale pink flowers that bloom in October.

Cyclamen coum

Origin: Europe on eastern-minor Asia. Maximum height 10 cm. Rustica, with variegated leaves, produces fuchsia pink flowers that bloom from December to March. There is also a white variety (cyclamen Coum albissimum). It comes from two areas: the shores of the Black Sea and Turkey. It grows in forests of deciduous or evergreen plants. It is very resistant to cold and is therefore recommended for cultivation in open ground. The leaves, rounded and with silver zones, sprout in autumn while flowering occurs from January to March. They are very small plants, they do not reach 10 cm. The flowers can be deep pink or white.

Cyclamen libanoticum

Provenance: Lebanon. Maximum height 15 cm. Semirustica, with variegated leaves, produces pink flowers that bloom from February to March.

Cyclamen persicum

Origin: Eastern Mediterranean. Maximum height 20 cm. Semirustica, with variegated leaves, produces large flowers that bloom in winter. This is the cyclamen commonly found on the market.

Cyclamen neapolitanum

It is native to the forests of southern Europe. It can be planted in autumn or spring, even in open ground (usually only in the South, but there are also fairly resistant cultivars). It needs a well-drained forest soil ... It usually reaches 15 cm in height, can be scented and has flowers ranging from mauve to soft pink. The leaves are round or oval and appear after the flowers.

Cyclamen europaeum (purpurascens)

It is very small in size since it goes from 7 to 10 cm. It tends to bloom in autumn and lives in the northern regions, in the woods of birch, chestnut and locust trees or meadows on calcareous soil. It has round and serrated leaves, bright green with silver veins. The flowers are purple and fragrant.

Cyclamen repandum

Also known as ivy leaf cyclamen, it is endemic to all of Central and Southern Italy. It is quite rustic and blooms in spring. It reaches 8 cm in height. The flowers are single mauve and are carried high above the leaves, which emerge first. These are green rounds with many silver spots and veins that make them resemble those of ivy.

Midi cyclamens

One of the most sold varieties in nurseries that are worth knowing, are certainly the midi cyclamens. More than a variety it is a cultivar, in fact these cyclamens are normal cyclamens but of medium size. In nurseries we find mainly 3 cyclamen cultivars: the mini, the midi and the maxi. The three different types of cyclamen correspond to three different price ranges that increase from the mini to the maxi variety. Midi cyclamens have the same characteristics as normal cyclamens and also have the same cultivation needs. They are particularly suitable for baskets and compositions because being medium small they can be easily combined with many types of plants and flowers.

Where to find cyclamens

The ideal habitat of the Cyclamens are the woody environments of oaks, characteristic of the southern regions. They bloom in March and April and, although they can be admired in all their beauty, being a protected species it is not allowed to catch them and remove them from their natural environment. This fascinating plant, outside, prefers to stay in semi-shade and in well protected and sheltered positions; while in interior spaces it is always better to locate it in luminous rooms and in any case always sheltered from strong sources of heat, direct exposure to the sun and preferring coolness and well ventilated and ventilated environments. The Cyclamen plant is also a poisonous plant for humans: in fact, its tuber contains toxic substances which however are harmless for many animals such as pigs.


Usually these cyclamens are grown in pots. They need an acid substrate, composed of woodland, peat and sand in equal parts. Since it is a plant that suffers particularly from stagnation, special care must be taken to create a thick draining layer on the bottom with shards, gravel or expanded clay beads. Repotting is usually necessary only after many years when we see that the roots come out of the container, that is from the drain holes or the soil. In that case it is good to proceed in late spring or in summer when the plant stops flowering and goes into vegetative rest.


This is a very important point to keep our cyclamens well. Absolutely avoid any type of water stagnation. The soil must remain fairly wet, but not soaked. During the growing season it is good to proceed every day or at least every two by filling the saucer with water and waiting for about half an hour. At this time the plant will absorb as much as it needs. Afterwards we will have to throw away the remaining water. Once the flowering period is over, we can gradually reduce the irrigation so that the plant can go to rest. It will then be necessary to water lightly every 15-20 days in the area of ​​the bulb.


To obtain abundant and colorful blooms it is good to administer a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants during irrigation every 10 days. However, it would be a good idea at the beginning of the growing season to give a product with a higher nitrogen content, so that the production of leaves is stimulated. Later you can intervene with another in which potassium is predominant.

Exposure and temperatures

This type of cyclamen fears the cold. In fact it does not tolerate temperatures below zero and can live outside only in the extreme south of Italy. In the central regions, especially those close to the sea, it can be kept outside only if placed next to a well-protected wall. Elsewhere it should be considered a houseplant. The ideal temperature for it to be able to live and flourish well is around 15 ° C during the day and 8 at night. It must be kept in a bright area, but not in direct sunlight, especially in southern regions. In the North it can also tolerate it, especially the winter one.

Plant cleaning

Another fundamental point to keep our cyclamens avoiding rottenness is to always intervene with a precise cleaning. We must constantly remove the leaves and faded flowers directly at the base, without leaving any stumps. This is because rotting could be carriers of bacteria to the underground part of the plant, ie the bulb. We must also always try to use clean shears and maybe disinfect them periodically with bleach.


Cyclamens can be multiplied mainly by seed or division of the bulb. For both methods it takes a lot of patience because, in the first case, you will have to wait at least three years before seeing the flower, in the second you will have to wait for the parts to become invigorated and resume their flowering.
Multiplication by seed: proceed from spring to early autumn. In a box, light soil suitable for sowing must be placed on which the seeds must be sprinkled (mixed with fine sand, since they are very small) in horizontal rows. They should then be covered with very little earth to spread with a sieve. It then irrigates using a vaporizer and covers everything with plastic, airing from time to time. To avoid rotting, a specific product can be added to the water.
Within a few weeks we will see the seedlings tick: the cloth will be removed and the box will be exposed to light, not direct. You can also thin out the plants by keeping only the most vigorous ones. When they are bigger we can gently extract them and put them in a jar with their final substrate.
Multiplication by division of the bulb: we can divide the bulb into several parts with a clean and disinfected flame knife or by bleach washing. Each section must have at least two eyes.

Cyclamen: Toxicity

Remember that the cyclamen is a poisonous plant in all its parts and especially the bulb. Care should therefore be taken in the presence of children.Watch the video

January February MarchFlowering, irrigation, fertilization, cleaning
AprilStart rest
May, June, July, August, SeptemberRest, repotting, division, sowing
OctoberVegetative recovery
November DecemberEarly flowering in early species