Cyclamen are tropical plants (as are Palm Plants and Spider Plants) that do well in many different soil types. Unlike Roses, they are considered to be one of the best indoor plants for beginners because they are so hardy and have limited plant health care requirements. They have tubers or storage units similar to Succulent plants that provide nutrition to the plant during its dormant period. There are approximately 20-24 species of this plant – some of them are able to grow in dry shade.
Cyclamen – A Great House Plant
The Cyclamen Persicum, also known as the Florist’s Cyclamen, is an excellent flowering plant that purifies the air. This plant does best with a soil-based potting mix; plant with the top of the tuber just a little above the soil. When leaves appear it is obviously growing – water it when the potting mix is dry to the touch. Similar to African Violets, leaving water on the crown of the Cyclamen may cause it to rot. Watering from below or along the sides of the pot is recommended; terra cotta flower pots usually have dishes underneath – dump the water out of these after watering. When planted in flower pots, these plants may bloom up to 4 weeks at a time and can be even more beautiful combined with the right indoor plant stands. Remove dead flowers at the base of the stem to help the plant develop more blossoms. While these instructions may seem complicated, they are much simpler than Orchid care. Depending on the type of Cyclamen you have, flowering may occur during any time of the year. The petal color can be varied – white, pink or purple – possibly a darker color on the nose, again, depending on the species. These flowers make a beautiful hanging basket.
Cyclamen – Great in the Garden as Well
Grown outside in a garden, they do well at the base of trees or other large plants that shield them from the wind and drink up extra moisture. For best results add extra grit to the soil – use a woodland type like leaf litter or composted tree bark. Wild species of Cyclamen which grow in rocky soil or under scrub or lone coniferous trees do well with decomposed pine needle mulch.
I would recommend buying your first Cyclamen from a nursery or florist shop; if you are feeling brave after growing one you can start them from seeds. Soak the seed for 24 hours in a cup of warm water with about 2 drops of dish soap. When you plant them, keep in mind that they need darkness to sprout; cover them well with soil or mulch. Usually they will bloom in their third year of growth.
Cyclamen – A Word of Caution
Before you choose this common perennial plant, be aware that it is listed as a poisonous plant that can be poisonous to cats and dogs. Symptoms to be alert for include diarrhea, vomiting, an abnormal heart rhythm or rate, seizures and drooling. If your pet has eaten a large amount, seizures and/or death may occur.
Sources and Citations
http://gardening.about.com/od/houseplants/a/Cyclamen.htm – research source
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclamen – research source