My Cyclamen Won’t Flower – Reasons For Cyclamen Plants Not Blooming

My Cyclamen Won’t Flower – Reasons For Cyclamen Plants Not Blooming

By: Jackie Carroll

Do you throw away your cyclamen plants at the end of their bloom cycle? Dropped flowers and yellowing foliage make them look as though they are dying, but they are really just entering a dormant period. Find out how to get cyclamen to bloom again in this article.

My Cyclamen Won’t Flower

Cyclamen is a Mediterranean plant. Summers in Mediterranean regions are difficult for some plants to bear because of the intense sunlight and little or no rain. Some Mediterranean plants, such as cyclamen, enter a dormant period during summer. They drop their leaves and flowers, and rest until late summer or early autumn. You can help them through their resting phase by providing ideal conditions for their summer nap.

How to Get Cyclamen to Bloom Again

Getting blooms on cyclamen plants isn’t difficult, but you have to give the plant a summer rest followed by the proper conditions to bloom again. Follow these instructions for beautiful results every year.

In late spring, the leaves on a cyclamen plant begin to turn yellow. This is a signal that it is ready to rest. Stop fertilizing the plant, and gradually give it less and less water. Once all of the leaves are yellow, you can quit watering altogether. The tuber absorbs energy from the yellowing leaves, so leave them alone until they are completely dry.

Place the pot in the coolest room in your home for a summer rest. During this time, the plant won’t need much sunlight, so choose the resting site by temperature rather than light conditions. You won’t need to water it regularly, but check the tuber now and then to make sure it isn’t beginning to shrivel. Give it just enough water to keep it firm and smooth.

In late August or early September, your cyclamen will begin putting on fresh foliage. Water the plant thoroughly, pouring out any water that collects in the saucer. Water again every time the upper inch (2.5 cm.) of the soil becomes dry.

Add a liquid houseplant fertilizer for flowering plants monthly, mixing it according to the package instructions. Set the plant in a south-, east- or west-facing window, and you’ll soon have a new flush of cyclamen flowers.

Now that your cyclamens are blooming again, you’ll want to keep them in bloom as long as possible. Two essential ingredients are cool night temperatures and frequent deadheading. Cyclamens thrive in cool temperatures, and they like night temperatures as cool as 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 C.).

Despite the best care, cyclamen flowers eventually fade. As soon as they are no longer perky and attractive, cut them off near the base of the plant. This keeps faded flowers from becoming a drain on the plant’s energy.

Next time you find that your cyclamen plants are not blooming, it might be that all they need is a nap.

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Read more about Cyclamen Plants


How to Deadhead Cyclamen

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Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.), a Mediterranean plant, grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. The fancy leaves and showy flowers provide a fall and winter color plant for the landscape. Florist cyclamen are forced for winter flowers in containers. The large butterfly-like flowers hang from 2- to 4-inch-tall stalks. Deadheading cyclamen flowers extends the blooming period for this perennial plant.

Examine the cyclamen every few days for browning petals. Removing flowers before seeds form redirects the plant’s energy into making more blossoms. Once seeds form, the blooming stage of the cyclamen is over.

Grasp the fading flower stalk just under the petals and follow the stem all the way down to the soil. Tug the stem upward firmly, but not so hard that a piece of tuber breaks off. If the stem does not come off easily, then wait one day before trying to remove it again. Do not cut the stems since this acts as a pathway for plant disease to reach the tuber.

Pull off the yellowed leaves and remaining flowers when the cyclamen goes dormant. Remove the debris from the top of the plant to keep fungus and plant disease from attacking the roots.


Cyclamen Care

Cyclamen is usually grown in pots indoors. It goes dormant for the summer, but with proper care it will regrow and rebloom in the fall. Exactly when cyclamen goes fully dormant depends on its growing conditions. Warm temperatures propel it to dormancy, but if you keep your home cool your plant might not appear to go fully dormant. Instead it might just lose some leaves and not look its best or bloom for a couple of months.

To encourage reblooming during its growth period, snip dead flower stalks off at the base. Then, as blooming slows, gradually allow the plant to dry out for two to three months. It is going into its dormant stage, and too much water will cause the tuber to rot. A little water is recommended, but you don't want the soil to remain wet.

Light

Give cyclamen bright, indirect light in the winter when the plant is actively growing. In the summer, when the plant is dormant, it's best to keep cyclamen in a cool, dark spot with good air circulation.

Cyclamen prefers to grow in organically rich, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic soil pH. For container plants, you can use regular potting mix but then mix some sphagnum peat into the soil to raise the acidity.

Water

When leaves are present, the plant is actively growing. During this period, water whenever the soil feels dry about an inch below its surface. Avoid getting water on the leaves or crown of the plant (part where the stem meets the roots), which can cause it to rot. While the plant is dormant (losing most or all of its leaves), water infrequently only to prevent the soil from entirely drying out.

Temperature and Humidity

Cyclamen plants don't like extreme heat, drafts, or dry air. They do best in a climate that replicates their native environment, preferring temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night and between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. High humidity, especially during the winter, is crucial. To raise humidity, keep your plant on a tray filled with water and pebbles, making sure the pot isn't touching the water (as this can cause root rot).

If you moved your plant outdoors for the summer, bring it back indoors before the weather turns cold. A good rule of thumb is to bring it inside while the temperature is still comfortable for you to open windows.

Fertilizer

Feed your cyclamen plant with a diluted liquid low-nitrogen fertilizer every couple of weeks while in full leaf. You don't need to fertilize cyclamen while it's dormant.


Q. Why Are the Leaves on My Cyclamen Turning Red Underneath?

Why are the leaves on my cyclamen turning red underneath? Why does it sprout new flowers but then die and never make it to bloom?

I believe it may be having nutrient issues. While I am not 100% sure on cyclamen, I know on other plants a phosphorous deficiency will cause a reddish-purple cast to the leaves and will cause flowering to fail. Add some bone meal to the soil to increase phosphorous and this should help.

It may also be an issue with temperature (which can interfere with phosphorous uptake) so if you can move it somewhere a bit warmer, that may help as well.


Reblooming cyclamen a tough, but tangible task

1 of 3 Photos are by Pam Peirce.Images are of scented semi-dwarf Cyclamen persicum hybrids growing in pots. Pam Peirce/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Photos are by Pam Peirce. Images are of scented semi-dwarf Cyclamen persicum hybrids growing in pots. Pam Peirce Show More Show Less

Q: I have purchased several cyclamens in 4-inch pots for my front stairway this winter. (I didn't realize that they have such a sweet scent!) I'd like to grow them all year and have them bloom again for my stairway next Christmas. Can I do this?

A: Florist's cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum), a popular holiday flower, is considered a bit tricky to rebloom, but I have kept some going in containers for several years, so I know it can be done. It is easier in places with cool summers because the plants don't like heat.

While your cyclamen is blooming, pinch off the stems of spent flowers, reaching down into the plant carefully and getting the whole stem. This prevents seed formation, so your plants can use more energy to produce a strong tuber. Water often enough to keep the potting mix moist, but don't keep it soggy.

In spring, the leaves will begin to die back. Remove them as they die and let the plant go dormant. Keep the plants on the dry side over summer watering monthly is probably OK. Keep them in part shade or open (bright) shade if your summer is cool, in full shade if it is warmer.

When the plants are fully dormant, repot each one. Use a pot only a bit wider than the one it is in. Use fresh potting mix with a high organic matter content. Be careful not to disturb the fibrous roots, only loosening them very slightly and gently at the surface of the root-balls. Plant so that half of the tuber is above ground (which is probably just the way you will find it already growing).

If you want to add a little slow-release fertilizer to the fresh potting mix before you use it to fill in around the root-ball, that's fine. (Read the label to find out how much to add.) Water after transplanting, and then return to the summer-dormant occasional water schedule.

When a plant begins to grow new leaves, begin to water often enough to keep the potting mix moist, and continue this through the bloom period. Because cyclamen blooms best when the roots are crowded in the pot, you can probably keep your plants in the same pots for several more years. To keep them supplied with nutrients, you can top dress them with a little fresh potting mix into which you've stirred slow-release fertilizer, or with rich compost, either just as growth begins or during bloom.

Be careful not to cover the tuber or disturb the surface soil around it. Alternatively, you can use a liquid fertilizer at half strength monthly while the plants are blooming. As to whether your plants will bloom just in time for the holidays again, that is probable, though the exact date isn't certain. In its native lands, on Greek islands, the coasts of Turkey and around the east end of the Mediterranean Sea, Cyclamen persicum blooms February through April. In California, hybrids often start blooming in late fall. This year, two of mine have been blooming since early December the third was still in bud on Dec. 24.


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