How Long Do Outdoor Cyclamen Last: (A Gardener’s Guide)

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Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by Griselda M.

If you’re wondering how long outdoor cyclamen last, then the information in this blog post would be of great benefit to you. Adding cyclamens to your landscape is a wonderful way to add some splash of color and unique texture, but do cyclamen plants come back every year? The vibrant flowers emerge right in time for the holiday season, and some of them last until March. If you’re looking into gifting someone a cyclamen plant, you might wonder how long will they last. Dive in to find out if cyclamens are perennials.

Growing Cyclamens

The cyclamen plant belongs to the Primrose family and originated in Persia. It grows around the Mediterranean, and it’s often been mentioned throughout history. It’s known as the flower of love and empathy.

The name comes from the Greek word for circle due to the tuber of the cyclamen being round.

The eye-catching flowers are what make cyclamens unique. They’re placed atop the tall, upward-pointing stems. After years of development, they can now be found in several vibrant colors. The original, however, is the deep pink, almost lilac cyclamen. The leaves can be single-colored dark green or marbled with a lighter shade of green.

How, When, and Where to Plant

Cyclamen are mainly house plants that can be planted outdoors, as long as you bring them inside during winter. During summer, the flowers go dormant.

Cyclamens are grown from tubers. Tubers, like bulbs, are round-shaped modified stems that store the seed and energy for growing the plant. They’re best planted in early fall. Cyclamens like neutral or alkaline, loose, and well-draining soil. Plant the tubers right below the surface of the ground. Space out tubers at least 6 inches from one another.

Cyclamen is more likely to tolerate chilly winters than hot and dry summers when planted outdoors. During the prolific flowering period, the cyclamen needs bright but indirect sunlight. When the plant is dormant during summer, keep it in a cool and dark place with good airflow.

Caring for a Flowering Cyclamen

Cyclamens can bloom continuously anytime from fall to spring. So if you’re gifted blooming cyclamen, you can keep it blossoming for months forward. Since cyclamen are native to the Mediterranean, they require the same conditions to be prolific.

Start by keeping the plant at the optimal temperature, from 40 to 60 but nothing higher. If the temperature goes up, the plant assumes it’s summertime and will dry out and dormant. Place the pot near a window to receive indirect bright sunlight. A south-facing window is best, but east and west will work too.

Water the plant by soaking it in a saucer with water. Wait until the soil on the surface is completely dry and the pot feels light before watering. Avoid pouring water from above, or let it drain out well. If moisture gets trapped inside the soil for a longer time, the tuber will rot.

As soon as a flower dies, the petals will fall off, revealing a seed capsule. Remove the capsule and cut the stem at the base to make space for new flowers. Use diluted fertilizer while the cyclamen is blooming. A regular strength fertilizer will lead to more foliage developing instead of flowers. Fertilize every two weeks.

Are Cyclamen Plants Outdoor Or Indoor Flowers?

Some varieties of cyclamen are hardy and can survive outdoors. However, regular potted cyclamen sold by flower shops during the holiday season should not be placed outside.

If you want to plant cyclamen plants directly in the ground, look for a plant with smaller flowers. Cyclamen will grand, lavish flowers is less probable to survive outdoors.

Cyclamen Hederifolium and Cyclamen Coum are great hardy varieties that flourish in garden beds.

How Long Does a Cyclamen Flower Last?

The cyclamen will bloom for at least 5 weeks when fitted with optimal conditions. Each flower lasts for up to a week. If you take good care and remove dead flowers regularly, the plant will produce new flowers. Cyclamen flowers can survive 6 days to 2 weeks in a vase with nothing but water.

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Can You Get Seeds From Cyclamen?

When flowers mature and petals fall out, you can spot how the bulb transforms into a seeds pod. The seeds are covered with a sticky coating that attracts insects. As the stem evolves, it dries and bends to the ground. This is the plant’s natural method of self-reproducing.

The seeds inside the pod are tiny, so the best way to gather them is to wrap a cloth or paper bag around the pod. Then, when the pods ripen, squeeze out the seeds and let them dry out.

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Are Cyclamen Plants Perennials?

Many people throw away the cyclamen after it’s finished blooming. Unfortunately, like with all popular holiday plants, it’s not clear that cyclamen go dormant. After the blooming period is over, the plant will dry out. But it’s not dead! Let the leaves dry out – don’t cut them.

After the last flowers fade, the plant stores energy in the tuber. It needs the leaves and sunlight to feed. When the leaves dry out, you can dig out the tuber and place it in a cool, dark spot. A garage or shed will work well. As soon as early fall comes, and the tuber is healthy and plum, you can plant it again.

Some cyclamen tubers can live for decades. There are claims that cyclamen can live up to a century!

Are Cyclamen Plants Perennials

Other Tuberous Perennial Plants

Peonies, dahlias, begonias, and caladium are popular tuberous perennials that can grow from the same tuber for years. Just like bulbs, tubers store energy inside a fleshy root.

However, bulbs and tubers are different. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their cover. Bulbs have onion-like covers, while tubers have thin skin like a potato.

Do Cyclamen Come Back Every Year?

So, do cyclamen come back every year? Although the answer to this question is yes, cyclamen does come back every year, there are a few things that you should know about to keep them thriving. Depending on the conditions they’re grown in and the proper care they are afforded, these glorious plants will be put on a show every year if they are adequately maintained. If not, you will end up with a flawed plant that will not grow further or bloom.

Cyclamen plants are considered perennial because they have tubers that return yearly when grown in a suitable location. These Mediterranean plants last a lifetime, and they are known to bloom in the mild winter season in their native habitat. Thereafter, you will find that during the dry and hot summer season, cyclamens actually go into hiding.

The same habitual growth can be found with indoor cyclamens, as although they bloom during mid-fall to winter, they lie dormant in the seasons that follow. Keep in mind that hardy cyclamens will do fine outdoors, while tender florist varieties thrive as houseplants.

Do Cyclamen Spread?

Do cyclamens spread out when growing them in your home or garden? From the most exotic flowering plants that spread, cyclamens are amongst the most favored. These plants are easy to grow and maintain and spread beautifully when grown in an ideal environment. The plant leaves grow in cahoots with the flowers, which look like deciduous trees. This can be seen when the cyclamens tree spreads out and becomes completely bare after shedding its foliage.

Additionally, if you want a wider spread of cyclamens, you can achieve this by propagating your plant. All you have to do is to divide the underground tubers and individually replant them. If you opt to plant tubers, ensure that you do so in the early fall season. They should be planted about an inch deep in nutrient-rich well-drained soil for favorable results. Keep in mind that although cyclamens are self-sowing plants that spread to form colonies, the planted tubers will not multiply.

Can Cyclamen Survive a Freeze?

Many gardeners want to know the answer to, can cyclamen survive a freeze? Although cyclamen are fragile-looking plants that come across as delicate, they actually have a very high tolerance for freezing temperatures. Cool-weather cyclamen lie dormant for parts of the year and usually show their stunning blooms when the growing conditions are favorable. Cyclamen are amongst the hardiest flowering plants that can easily survive an overnight freeze.

Although extremely cold weather will not take these plants out, it will contribute to the appearance of their blooms, which will undoubtedly flaw in the case of frost. But don’t be disappointed in this case, as cyclamen are known to come back stronger with gorgeous blooms once the weather returns to ideal temperatures once again. Amongst the most essential factors to keep them thriving is water uptake.

Also, Mediterranean cyclamen houseplants are a bit on the less tolerant side when it comes to climate. These plants are not used to temperatures lower than 40 F because they cannot bear it. A light frost is about the most that they can endure.

Growing Cyclamens

Outdoor Cyclamen Care – Best Tips

When it comes to outdoor cyclamen care, there are a few important aspects to take note of. This is because plants that are grown outdoors are exposed to the elements, which makes them susceptible to infections, diseases, and discoloration caused by excessive sunlight or over and underwatering.

That is why, when growing cyclamen outdoors and you find that your plants are drooping or the leaves are turning yellow, you should know what to do to revive them.  This will include cyclamen in pots outdoors and those planted directly in the ground. Listed below are a few care and maintenance tips that will aid you in keeping your cyclamen plants healthy and happy for years to come. 

Cyclamen Care and Maintenance Tips for the Outdoors:

  • Cool and temperate regions are best for growing wild cyclamens which are smaller than other varieties.
  • During the cyclamen plant’s dormant period, watering schedules should come to a halt. This is because if they are watered during their resting time, their roots will be exposed to rotting. 
  • Ensure that your plants are in a dry location away from humidity when their growing season ends.
  • Multisol and Nitrosol are the recommended liquid fertilizers for cyclamen plants. A monthly feed of these elements will keep your plant healthy and happy. 
  • If you live in a cool region that is elevated, then planting your cyclamen in flower beds would be a great idea. 
  • Nursery-bred cyclamen plants should not be planted in the ground as they are not as hardy as other varieties. Planting them in outdoor pots in soil that is well draining would be best. Also, make sure that the plant pots have sufficient drainage holes in this case.
  • If you notice any yellow or dead leaves and flowers, pruning them off is recommended. 
  • To avoid ruin, protect your cyclamens from heavy rainfall, extremely cold temperatures, and very high humidity levels.
  • Grey mold or botrytis is caused by excess water and overcrowding of your cyclamen plants. This is one of the main causes of a rotting plant.

Bottom Line: Do Cyclamen Plants Come Back Every Year

Cyclamens are the perfect gift that keeps on giving. They’re tuberous perennials that come back every year for decades. If you take good care of it, the plant will bloom for months, providing your home with vibrant flowers. Then, as spring comes, the plant goes dormant, and you should store the tuber until next fall.

Looking for the perfect gift? Get a loved one a cyclamen plant this season and send them this article!

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