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cyclamen

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BOTANICAL NAME
Cyclamen persicum
(SIK-la-men  PER-si-kum)

COMMON NAMES
Florist’s Cyclamen
(SY-kla-men, as a common name)

DESCRIPTION
Cyclamen plants bear distinctive five-petaled blooms atop smooth, slender, leafless stems. The blooms are downward pointing but strongly reflexed, resembling butterflies; waxy; and sometimes ruffled or edged with a contrasting color. They rise above a dense base of fleshy, heart-shaped or kidney-shaped leaves, which often are marbled light and dark green with silver bands. Some varieties feature silver leaves with green highlights.

COLORS
Cyclamens are available in red, pink, salmon, purple, lavender, white and bicolors.

DECORATIVE LIFE
Cyclamens can flower for two to four months, with individual blooms lasting up to three weeks. Once flowering stops, the plants can survive for several more months.

AVAILABILITY
Cyclamens are available year-round, but peak availability is approximately from October through March.

IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Place Cyclamens in a bright environment but out of direct sunlight.
WATER Keep plants moderately moist at all times. Water thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Cyclamens are extremely sensitive to both underwatering and overwatering, so never allow plants to dry out and wilt, and, conversely, never allow the pots to sit in water for prolonged periods.
     Ideally, place pots in a shallow container of tepid water for 15 to 30 minutes (the soil will absorb water from the holes in the bottom of the pots), then allow them to drain. If you water from the top, drip water just inside the edges of the pot to avoid getting water in the plants’ crown, on the tuber or on the leaves.
TEMPERATURE These plants prefer cool environments—preferably 60 F to 65 F during the daytime and 50 F to 60 F at night. Placing Cyclamens in a warm room or near heat sources will shorten their life dramatically.
HUMIDITY When flowering, Cyclamens require high humidity. Place pots on a pebble tray, making sure the bottoms of the pots are out of the water. Also occasionally mist the air around the plants.
FERTILIZER  Feed Cyclamens every two weeks while in bloom with a high-phosphorous plant food mixed at half strength. Do not feed dormant plants.
GROOMING Remove blooms and leaves as they fade, carefully cutting, twisting or pinching the stems off at the crown.

CHALLENGES
YELLOWING/SHRIVELING LEAVES Under-watering, too-high temperature, too-low humidity, exposure to direct sunlight
PALE/LIMP/DEFORMED LEAVES, BLOOMS  Spider mites and/or Cyclamen mites
SHRIVELING/DRYING FLOWER BUDS Under-watering, not enough light, too-low humidity, too-high temperature, exposure to ethylene
SHORT BLOOM LIFE Too-high temperature, too-low humidity, underwatering, overwatering, not enough or wrong kind of fertilizer, exposure to ethylene
PLANT COLLAPSE, ROTTING CROWN Over-watering, water on the crown and/or tuber, too-high temperature
DISEASE/MOLD Overwatering, water on the crown and/or tuber, too-high temperature, poor air circulation
PESTS/MITES Too-high temperature, too-low humidity. Discard plants, or remove affected leaves and treat with a neem-based insecticide.

 
 

fun facts


 
 


WHAT'S IN A NAME The genus name Cyclamen is presumably from the Greek word “kylos,” meaning “circle,” in reference to the rounded tubers. The specific epithet “persicum” means “of Persia,” referring to the nativity of this species of Cyclamen.

FAMILY Cyclamen is a member of the Primulaceae (primrose) family. Besides primroses, relatives include loosestrife (Lysimachia).

HOME SWEET HOME These plants are native to the eastern Mediterranean region, including the countries of Greece, Turkey, Cypress, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and the northern African countries of Egypt and Libya.
 


 

Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network®, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
Complete Guide to Conservatory Plants, The, by Ann Bonar
Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, The, by Barbara Pleasant
Dictionary of Plant Names, by Allen J. Coombes
Flowering & Foliage Plants, Book 2, by Debra Terry Graber/The John Henry Company
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Houseplant Encyclopedia, The, by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Kruger
House Plant Expert, The, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
New Pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names by Florists’ Publishing Company
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T. Stearn

Photo courtesy of The John Henry Company

 

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.