Cyclamen - Primulaceae - How to care for and grow Cyclamen plants
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HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
The cyclamen, although not easy to cultivate, is one of the most widespread houseplants especially thanks to the fact that it gives us its splendid flowers during the winter, thus cheering up the cold periods.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The cyclamen (genus Cyclamen) belonging to the family of Primulaceae, includes several species native to the eastern Mediterranean area, some of which also belong to the Italian spontaneous flora, have been introduced in cultivation (Cyclamen europaeum, Cyclamen neapolitanumis Cyclamen repandumThese are tuberous perennials that grow both in alpine wooded areas and on beaches and in the Mediterranean scrub.
The leaves they are mostly rounded or heart-shaped, often with light or dark designs on both the upper and lower pages. In the species that bloom in autumn, the leaves last all winter and into spring. THE flowers they are reclined, sometimes perfumed, formed by five curved petals with colors ranging from white, to purple, to red, to pink, often with darker throats. The flowering periods are variable depending on the species (to which reference is made).
They are rustic but at the same time delicate plants and all require a period of absolute rest in summer.
There are about twenty species of cyclamen among which we remember
TheCyclamenpersicum it is the most widespread species and with its numerous varieties, it represents one of the most known and appreciated ornamental plants. It has a flat black tuber from which the foliar petioles and flower peduncles originate. The leaves are heart-shaped, of an intense green color, sometimes streaked with silver, and the underside is usually red. The flowers are formed by five-petal flowers of various colors from white to pink, apricot to purple oscreziati. It is native to Asia Minor, Syria and Lebanon and not from Persia as one might think.
The name is derived from the Prunus persica, peach, to remember the color of the flower.
TheCyclamen graecum with its flowers with a color ranging from light pink to salmon, it is a very present species on the market
The Cyclamen balearicum it has small, white flowers with a red throat and a delicate scent.
TheCyclamen libanoticum it has flowers with a pink-violet color, often mottled and dark green leaves mottled with white on the upper side and red on the underside. It produces pretty pink flowers that sprout starting in February.
Among the spontaneous cyclamen we remember:
CYCLAMEN EUROPEUM: it is light pink in color, very fragrant and blooms in September. It grows spontaneously in the woods at an altitude of 1000 m.
CYCLAMEN NEAPOLITANUM: produces pink flower and blooms in September. It is present in the woods of southern Italy.
Breeding a cyclamen is not very easy, but above all it is difficult to make it bloom again; in fact this plant can live and bloom for 4-5 years in a row and with each passing year it will produce more and more abundant flowers.
The most important secret of its success lies in the temperature of the environment where it is placed. Mainly during the growth phase of the leaves and flowers, this should not exceed 15 ° C; then place it away from the radiators, in full light but not directly affected by the sun's rays (this rule is valid for almost all apartment plants, to which the direct sun could cause burns even in winter, especially if "concentrated" by the windows that therefore they must be screened with curtains). It would therefore be a good idea to ventilate the room frequently and turn off the heating from time to time. In areas where the winter climate is not too rigid, the cyclamen can be moved outdoors, sheltered from frost and wind, during the night.
Another important precaution is to eliminate quickly and completely the withered leaves and flowers, without leaving "butts" that could rot, infecting other parts of the plant, detaching them right at the point of insertion into the tuber.
If for any reason lesions are caused on the leaves or on the petioles, it is good to remove them and immediately dab the wounds with the appropriate mastic (found at a good nurseryman) or with candle wax, to close the wound which represents a preferential path to mold attacks. .
The cyclamen, during throughout the autumn-winter period (the first buds usually appear towards the end of September - early October) it is watered in such a way that the soil remains constantly humid (not soaked). Generally, the water is poured into the saucer, allowing the plant to absorb it for 20-30 minutes and then allowing any excess water to drain. Also in this case you must be careful that there is not too much humidity that could cause the rot of the tuber.
In spring the plant terminates flowering and slows down the vegetative activity which ceases entirely in summer, when all the leaves are dry, they are completely renewed and the plant is kept in a cool and shady place, watering from time to time only near the bulb.
It is important not to wet the plant and especially the central part as the presence of water for at least 12 hours on the plant's organs favors the development of mold.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
The repotting of the cyclamen is carried out only if the roots have completely occupied the pot and appear on the surface or from the drain hole of the pot. It is done in spring, after flowering, using a soil of leaves, sand and peat in equal parts in a vase with a slightly larger diameter than the previous one, placing pieces of earthenware on the bottom to facilitate the drainage of the water.
Fertilize cyclamen every two to three weeks with liquid fertilizer to add to the watering water.
During the flowering period it is advisable to administer a fertilizer with a higher potassium titre to facilitate flowering while, during the growth phases of the plant, with a slightly higher nitrogen titre to favor the growth of the plant.
For the cyclamen, whatever the chosen species and variety it blooms in the winter uninterrupted until March-April and for this reason it is usually purchased in the pre-Christmas period, although it is rare to find it in flower-nursery centers throughout the year.
However, it is preferable to buy it before flowering, checking that there are abundant buds and that the leaves are well turgid and healthy.
Cyclamen Usually cyclamen is not pruned. The leaves that gradually dry up must simply be eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
Make sure that the tool you use for cutting is clean and disinfected (preferably with a flame) to avoid infecting the tissues.
The plant multiplies either by seed or by division of the tuber.
In choosing the technique to be adopted, it must be borne in mind that multiplication by seed has the disadvantage that, taking over the genetic variability, you are not sure that you will have plants that are the same as the mother plants, in which case if you want to obtain a certain plant or not is sure of the quality of the seed being used, it is good to multiply the tuber by division.
Multiplication for me
The multiplication by seeds is done at any time between July and September by distributing the seeds as evenly as possible, giving them small dimensions, in parallel rows on a soil for seeds.Since the seeds are small, to bury them slightly, push them under the soil using a piece of flat wood.
It would be a good idea, to prevent any attacks of fungi, to administer with the irrigation water also a broad spectrum fungicide, in the doses indicated in the package.
The tray containing the seeds should be kept in the shade, at a temperature of around 20 ° C and constantly humid (use a sprayer to completely moisten the soil) until the moment of germination.The tray should be covered with a transparent plastic sheet that will guarantee a good temperature and it will avoid a too rapid drying of the soil.Once the seeds have germinated (about a month), remove the plastic sheet, and as the seedlings grow, the amount of light is increased (never direct sun) , the temperature is reduced to around 18 ° C and good ventilation is ensured. Among all the plants born, there will certainly be those less vigorous than others. Identify and eliminate them in this way you will guarantee more space for the most robust plants.
When they are large enough to be handled, you will transplant them, in any case being very careful not to spoil any part of the plant (it would be preferable to use a fork for these operations that you will insert under the ground to take the whole plant and put it in the new pot) soil as indicated for adult plants.
Multiplication by division of the tuber
The cyclamen is made up of a tuber, round or flattened, from which the leaves and flowers directly sprout in the high concave part and the roots in the lower convex part.
The tuber can be divided with a clean and disinfected sharp knife into several parts, each of which contains at least two buds, also divided in two segments.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
The main diseases of the plant are generally physiopathies, that is diseases due to unfavorable environmental conditions and therefore to a wrong cultivation.
Sagging leaves and flowers
If the cyclamen shows these symptoms it means that the plant has been placed in a too hot and dry place.
Remedies: in this case it is sufficient to wet it well and expose it in a cooler and more humid environment.
This symptom means that the plant has been placed in a too hot and too dark place
Remedies: move it to a cooler and more humid environment.
Leaves with yellow speckles spread from the point of intersection of the petiole leaf on the lamina
This pathology that subsequently extends towards the edge of the leaf until it dries up and remains attached to the bulb is typical of fusariosis, a disease caused by a fungus, the Fusarium sp.
Remedies: Once the symptoms have manifested themselves on the leaves, as the disease starts from the tuber, there is nothing more to be done.
A recommendation: check the plant well before buying it because most of the time, it is already infected.
Macchienecrotic on the petals and rot in the central part of the plant
These symptoms, where the base of the petioles and flower peduncles appear soft because they rot, are the symptom of the presence of gray mold, a fungus, the Botrytis spp.
Remedies: immediately eliminate the infected parts and treat with a specific fungicide. The remedies against this fungus are first of all preventive, as this fungus is favored by excessive humidity in the air and excessive watering.
Leaves that begin to turn yellow, appear mottled with yellow and brown
If the leaves begin to turn yellow and after these manifestations crumple, they take on an almost powdery appearance and fall off. Observing carefully you can also notice some thin cobwebs especially on the underside of the leaves. With this symptomatology we are very probably in the presence of an attack of red spider, a very annoying and harmful mite.
Remedies: increase the frequency of nebulizations to the foliage (the lack of humidity favors their proliferation) and possibly, only in the case of particularly serious infestations, use a specific insecticide. If the plant is not particularly large, you can also try cleaning the leaves to mechanically eliminate the parasite using a wet and soapy cotton ball. After that the plant must be rinsed very well to remove all the soap.
You can find the cyclamen in the dilecci woods of our southern regions. They bloom in March-April. You can observe them in all their beauty in their natural environment but do not touch them, they are a protected species therefore they should be left where they are.
Cyclamen is a poisonous plant for humans. In fact, its tuber contains a toxic substance, cyclamine which, conversely, is harmless for many animals such as pigs, porcupines, etc.
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS AND PLANTS
See «Cyclamen - The language of flowers and plants».Note
1. Image licensed under license GNU Free Documentation License, courtesy of Mark Griffiths.