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Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

Posted by bridgetr USDA Zone 7 ( on
Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 17:35


I'm not even sure this is the correct forum to post this question but here it goes. I received a Cyclamen persicum for Christmas. I can't leave it in the house until spring because the cats will eat it. I left it in the pot and put it on the deck. Would it be better to put it in the ground? The ground isn't frozen. Any other suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

Can you give it to a friend who works in a sunny office for the winter? Blooms in the winter, it seems, that's why it is sold for Christmas. Your friend could have flowers in the office now and give it back to you when your relatively short winter is over. Or a friend with a greenhouse?

Cyclamen persicum or “florist” cyclamen is not hardy. I tried pots on my front steps one year with the intention of bringing them in when a freezing night was predicted. We had an unpredicted freeze and that was that! Hope other people might have other suggestions.

RE: Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

Enjoy florist cyclamen while it blooms, then toss. It's intended as a disposable plant.

While this was a gift, there are much better indoor blooming plants that can readily be brought back into flower again and again, including amaryllis, sinningias (gloxinias), Thai hybrid euphorbias etc. Florist cyclamen needs cool growing conditions that are not found in most homes.

RE: Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

"needs cool growing conditions that are not found in most homes."

Very true unless you live in my house. Hint: Bring a jacket if you're going to pay me a visit.

These florist cyclamens have become my favorite winter flowering plant. I have one right now simply blooming its little head off. Last winter I bought one around Dec. and it didn't stop blooming until sometime in March. Definitely worth the $12 from the grocery store. They do like a lot of bright light - (not sun) - so don't keep it in a dark corner all winter and expect it to thrive.

Also, in the past when I was more into saving plants I would simply put these in the basement come spring, let it go completely dry and dormant for the summer and then around Sept. it would start sending out new shoots. At that point, I would simply start it growing again in a very bright environment. That worked very well for me.

Now I just toss them and buy a new one the next year.


RE: Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

Just toss it? ... oh, the horror! Over the years I've received several and they thrive in my little greenhouse. Without that, I'd give them plenty of diffused light in a cool room. (for example, I have a NNE-facing bay window in which many such plants are happy.)

My cat detests citrus aromas, so I find that slices of citrus fruit or Q-tips soaked in citrus oil (any "flavor") strategically placed in/around her favorite plants keeps her away.

They do go dormant after blooming - give the plant its rest and it will reward you once again next season.

That being said, there are houseplants that will give greater reward with less fuss. The little streptocarpus purchased at the Philadelphia flower show last March has been blooming non-stop.

For a delightful cyclamen, try to find one of the winter hardy ones and plant it outside for pretty leaves and flowers in spring or autumn. There are some only marginally hardy in our zone 7, but many that are reliably hardy.

RE: Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

Thanks for the advise. The info that came with the plant said indoor or outdoor. False advertising? Poor little guy - it was not adopted by the best. It sure is pretty though.

RE: Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

Hi Bridget,

If label had more space it might say “indoor or outdoor z9a and above.”

I have e-mailed you with a link. Some posters in your zone succeed outside, in a protected location with a great deal of mulch, and other posters say it is not worth it, too hard to get it to re-bloom no matter what they do. Reminds me of a poinsettia. People sometimes get it to re-bloom with a great deal of work and enjoy trying, others think it is not worth it. BTW if you add a little more info to your profile about where you live people could give you more specific recs.

Check your e-mail. Have fun trying and good luck! Best wishes!

RE: Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

Some cyclamen varieties are winter hardy as far as USDA Zone 5. These may not be as easy to buy as the frost-tender ones we usually see for sale this time of year, but are worth the search. Most have a silvery overlay on the leaves, some more, some less. As they cross very readily, there seems to be an almost infinite variation of that lacy silvery pattern from plant to plant.

Having been charmed by the one I encountered blooming in early spring in the rockery of the horticultural park where I work, I was delighted to hear a presentation by a hybridizer of these little gems at Longwood Gardens annual symposium. Of course I bought a few, and they continue to delight very early in the season, with no particular care.

These are native to the dry, rocky hillsides of Greece and Asia Minor, so have evolved to bloom in spring or fall, when rain is plentiful, then go dormant, storing their energy inside the bulb-like corm through the less hospitable, dry weather of summer and winter.

Because of their small size and delicate beauty, these are not going to beckon to you from across the garden. It is best to place them near the edge of a walk or a bench, where they can be appreciated.

Enjoy your gift through the holiday season, then do what you think best when it enters its dormant period. If you decide not to try to keep it indoors, and have a well-drained somewhat protected spot outdoors in which to plant it (against a south-facing wall or fence), why not set it out when the weather warms a bit, mulch it well, and see how it does. Nothing to lose. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell U. on Hardy Cycamen

RE: Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

Again, thanks for all the help. The two websites were great. As much as I look at Wikipedia, I didn't think of looking there for plant information.

I will enjoy the plant and flowers for now, plant it in the spring if still alive and see what happens. It wouldn't be the first time I killed a plant - always feel a little guilty, though. :)

RE: Christmas Gift of a Cyclamen, now what?

Happy New Year!

The plant may not look alive in spring if it has already entered dormancy. After flowering the leaves will begin to wither .. don't think you've failed it, this is natural. Just make sure, whether planting indoors or out, that it is in a well-drained area. Excess moisture during dormancy can cause rotting of the corm.

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