Cyclamen plants produce delightful flowers that resemble butterflies in flight. Flowers are held above heart-shaped foliage that is often variegated, making these perennials a popular addition for indoor and outdoor plant collections. The genus contains 23 species that range in hardiness. The florist cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) is the most common and can be purchased in full bloom in the fall and winter while Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen coum are hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness zone 5. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Cyclamen flower meaning and symbolism, their history and origins, and how to grow these exquisite blooms at home.
- Cyclamen Flowers – The Essentials
- About Cyclamen Flowers
- Uses and Benefits of Cyclamen Flowers
- Cyclamen Flower Meaning & Symbolism
- The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Cyclamen Flowers
- Suitable Gifting Occasions for Cyclamen Flowers
- How to Grow and Care for Cyclamen Flowers at Home
- How to Care for Florist Cyclamens
- Wrap Up
- Petal Republic’s flower and plant guides:
Cyclamen Flowers – The Essentials
In the language of flowers, cyclamen symbolizes sincerity and love. Cyclamen flowers are native to Europe and the Mediterranean region where they grow wild in leaf litter and rocky areas under the canopy of deciduous or mixed forests. In the wild, cyclamens bloom in the winter or spring and go dormant when warm weather arrives.
About Cyclamen Flowers
Cyclamen Flowers – Family, Genus, and Taxonomy
Cyclamen belongs to the family Primulaceae, which includes the common primrose and shooting star. The genus of ‘Cyclamen’ includes 23 species that vary in appearance and hardiness.
Cyclamen foliage ranges from heart-shaped green and white leaves to burgundy, spear-shaped reflexed petals. Flowers range from pure white to shades of pink, red and purple. Blooms emit a sweet, light scent.
Cyclamen bulbs and plants are toxic to humans and pets if ingested raw.
Popular Cyclamen Flower Types, Species, and Cultivars
Cyclamen flowers (Cyclamen persicum) sold in home gardening centers and florist shops during the winter are referred to as florist cyclamens and are bred to bloom for several months during the winter. These flowers are best grown as houseplants.
There are several varieties of hardy cyclamen like Cyclamen ‘hederifolium’ and Cyclamen ‘coum’ that can be grown in the home garden to USDA plant hardiness zones 5.
Cyclamen gets its name from the Latin word “cyclamnos” meaning circular. It is thought to refer to the way the cyclamen flower stem bends and curls down to the earth once seeds have formed. Other sources suggest it refers to the nearly round tuber from which it springs.
What regions are Cyclamen Flowers native to?
Cyclamen flowers are native to Europe and the Mediterranean Basin where they grow wild in rocky areas along mountainsides and in shaded areas under the canopy of trees.
When are Cyclamen Flowers in Season?
Cyclamen flowers bloom in the fall, winter, and spring, depending on the variety and your location. These plants need cool weather for blooming and go dormant if temperatures above 70F.
Uses and Benefits of Cyclamen Flowers
Cyclamens have been used for medicinal purposes for over 2000 years. Dioscorides, a Greek botanist, and doctor documented the use of cyclamen to induce abortions, speed childbirth, and as a remedy to hair loss.
Although the cyclamen tubers are toxic when eaten raw, they are dried and roasted as a delicacy in some regions, as the roasting process breaks down the toxins found in the raw bulbs.
Cyclamen Flower Meaning & Symbolism
Cyclamen flowers range in color from pure white and pastel pink to deep rose, lavender, purple and red with many subtle shades in between. Each color holds its own significance when it comes to the language of flowers.
White Cyclamen Flowering Meaning
White represents innocence and purity. In the language of flowers, it also means elegance and perfection.
Pink Cyclamen Flowering Meaning
Pink flowers represent love that is playful and filled with possibilities. What’s more, pink is also the color of femininity. More modern symbolism of pink flowers also includes spontaneity and thoughtfulness.
Red Cyclamen Flowering Meaning
Red flowers traditionally signify love and deep passion. It is the color of both seduction and desire.
Purple Cyclamen Flowering Meaning
Purple flowers represent mystery combined with grace and charm. They are also the symbol of creativity and imagination. Purple plants are suitable for those making an important transition in life.
The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Cyclamen Flowers
Cyclamen flowers also have their own special symbolism in the language of flowers.
- They represent enduring love and affection. A gift of a cyclamen flower expresses genuine love and tenderness.
- In the Mediterranean region, the cyclamen flower is viewed as a symbol of devotion and empathy.
- In Japan, the cyclamen flower is considered the holy flower of love.
Suitable Gifting Occasions for Cyclamen Flowers
Potted cyclamen plants make an endearing gift for nearly anyone on your list. These flowers are ideal for moms, daughters, sisters, and even that new love interest. Florist’s cyclamen make wonderful holiday gifts and can even be used as hostess gifts. The flowers bloom for several months brightening the cold, dark days with a splash of winter color.
Consider cyclamens for gift-giving as a quick pick-me-up in the midst of winter or to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and promotions. Cyclamens even make a suitable bedside plant for those recovering from illness or to comfort and inspire the homebound.
How to Grow and Care for Cyclamen Flowers at Home
What growing zones are suitable for Cyclamen flowers?
Hardy cyclamen varieties can be planted outside in the garden. Most are hardy to USDA zone 5, but there are exceptions. Check the plant hardiness zone information on the variety you are buying to be sure they will survive in your area.
Where should I plant Cyclamen flowers?
Choose a shady or partially shady location for your cyclamens. Plant the bulbs so the top of the bulb is slightly below the surface of the soil. Cyclamens make an attractive addition to rock gardens and cottage gardens or can be tucked amongst perennials. If allowed to go to seed, they will spread to a larger area and naturalize nicely.
Soil, light, watering, and fertilizing considerations.
Cyclamens prefer humus-rich, slightly acidic soil that drains well. Keep them moist during the period of growth and blooming but decrease watering when they go dormant. Too much water during its dormant period will cause the bulbs to rot.
Sprinkle a light application of bone meal or bulb fertilizer around your cyclamen flowers in the fall and work it into the soil. Mulch lightly to protect the bulbs during the winter in cooler climates but avoid heavy mulches as it may prevent new leaves from emerging when the time is right.
How to Care for Florist Cyclamens
Florist cyclamens are typically purchased in full bloom during the winter holidays. After several months of blooms, the foliage will die back, and your cyclamen plant will look like it has died. But it hasn’t. It has simply entered its dormant stage.
- Place the blooming cyclamen in bright, indirect light where daytime temperatures remain below 68 degrees. Move it to a cool area during the night. Nighttime temperatures in the 50s are ideal.
- Water it when the soil feels dry 1-inch below the surface of the soil.
- Apply ¼-strength liquid plant fertilizer every two weeks while the plant is in bloom.
- Stop watering your cyclamen plant when the foliage dies back.
- Place it in a cool, dark place for two months while the plant goes through its required dormancy.
- Soak the pot in a bucket or bowl of tepid water until bubbles stop rising to the top.
- Set the pot in a saucer and place it a location that receives bright, indirect light, and resume your normal cyclamen care. New growth will appear quickly, and the flowers will soon bloom.
Cyclamens are charming little flowers that give the illusion of movement with their butterfly-like blooms. As houseplants, they brighten the home and bring life into the dark days of winter. In the garden, they often bring a splash of color in fall and winter when few other flowers are in bloom.
Petal Republic’s flower and plant guides:
Looking for a particular stem or in need of some inspiration on the best blooms for a certain occasion? Check out Petal Republic’s expert flower guides to Roses, Bouvardia, Acanthus, Ranunculus, Lilies, Irises, Borage, Clovers, Freesia, Anemone, Begonia, Orchids, Allium, Carnations, Coreopsis, Gerbera Daisies, Gladiolus, and Peonies.
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