Cyclamen (Persian violet) is a perennial flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, one of 23 genera. A majority of species produce their leaves in autumn, grow through the winter and die in spring; the plant then goes dormant during the dry summer. Leaf shape varies within and among species, as well as among different specimens within a species. In Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen repandum, the leaves are shaped like ivy, with angled and lobed edges; in Cyclamen coum, the leaves are round rather than nearly round, and in cyclamen persicum, the leaves are heart-shaped with a point. The leaf margins of Cyclamen coum subspecies are smooth. Cyclamen graecum, for example, has fine teeth.
There are several species of this plant, native to Europe and the Mediterranean Basin; others are found in the Caucasus and Iran. These plants grow from tubers and are valued for their flowers with angled petals and highly patterned leaves.
It is possible for flowering to occur at any time of the year, depending on the species. Summer and autumn bring the bloom of Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen purpurascens, while winter brings the flower of persicum and spring brings the bloom of repandum.
Scientific name Cyclamen
Common name Alpine Violet, Persian Violet, Sowbread.
Plant type Perennial plant
Sun Bright, indirect light
Soil Well-drained, loamy soil
Soil pH 6.0
Flower colors Pink, violet, red, and white
Blooming time Fall to spring
Growing and Care Cyclamen Plant
When cultivating plants, it is imperative to maintain them properly so they last from year to year.
Growing from seeds
Persian Violet seeds should be planted in 3 to 4-inch pots filled with well-draining compost and sand. Add about 20 seeds to each pot, and then cover them with a fine layer of compost or grit. Seeds germinate in the fall and winter, so they prefer to germinate in cold, dark weather.
You can also collect cyclamen seeds by pulling open the seed capsules before they fully mature and split open. In some cases, however, if you harvest them too soon, the seed won’t survive. As you gently squeeze cyclamen plant seeds between your fingers, the un-ripened, developing capsules feel hard and firm.
Growing from cuttings
Clippings from the stems or leaves of cyclamen plants should never be rooted. These plants are propagated from the swollen underground roots, called “tubers,” in underground pots. The tuber is the reproductive organ of plants. Propagation can be accomplished by dividing the tubers in the fall after they are lifted from the soil.
Most cyclamens are grown indoors in pots, where they will receive plenty of natural light. When the plant is actively growing in the winter, it needs bright, indirect light. Persian Violet should be kept in a cool, dark place with lots of air circulation during the summer when the plant is dormant.
If you are planting cyclamens, make sure they are planted in moist, well-drained soil made from chalk, clay, loam, or sand with an acidic, alkaline, or neutral pH balance. They prefer shade because their soil needs to stay cool and moist. If you are planting in containers, you can use a regular potting mix but add some sphagnum peat to the soil to raise the acidity.
Before watering cyclamen plants, check if the soil feels dry to the touch, then water only. Do not leave the plant in this dry condition for a long time without showing any signs of moisture. Hanging leaves and flowers are due to moisture. If you are watering the plant, don’t let the water touch the stems or leaves. Water the plant from below the leaves. Ideally, you should water the plant two or three times per week. A weekly or even fortnightly checkup is probably more appropriate in the winter.
Temperature and Humidity
A Cyclamen plant does not do well in extreme heat, drafts, or dry air. During the day, they prefer temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, while at night they prefer temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Humidity between 40 and 60 percent is perfect for cyclamens. Excessive moisture and inadequate ventilation lead to insect infestations and diseases. Winter indoor humidity is too low for houseplants. Place your Cyclamen on a pebble tray or use a humidifier to compensate for the needed humidity.
An all-purpose houseplant fertilizer like a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 is normally recommended for cyclamens. Water your cyclamen thoroughly before fertilizing. Adding iron to a complete houseplant fertilizer may benefit Cyclamen plants with yellowing leaves.
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