The Cyclamen plant belongs to a genus of dicotyledonous and spermatophyte plants scientifically called Cyclamen, of the Primulaceae family (from here one can guess the genetic and perhaps structural relationship with other common floral species); it is native to the Mediterranean basin, especially in its eastern and mid-Asian area (Lebanon, Asia Minor, etc.). The Cyclamen looks like a small plant (at most it can be around 20 centimeters in height), discreet in the structure that is almost non-existent since in practice there are only the stems of the leaves. In particular, this species of Primulaceae is described as herbaceous, bushy, tuberous (in fact it has an obviously buried tuber, from which all the other parts of the plant branch off) or bulbous.
The leaves are basal, that is, they are found at the base of the plant and almost "flush": they have a sweet and rounded shape, which can vaguely resemble a heart or an oval depending on the species, and are also carried by long petioles; the chromatism of the leaves varies with the species, but the most common configuration is the one with the upper face (the arrangement is almost horizontal due to the modest height from the ground at which they are located) of an intense green color spotted or streaked with a silvery white color , while the lower face is decidedly more colored in red or purple. Cyclamen flowers stand on long and thin stems (not fragile, which however help to accentuate the delicate appearance of the plant as a whole), are formed by five petals and are naturally turned downwards; their color can range from white to purple, passing through pink, red and violet hues. After flowering, this plant also bears fruit: they are capsular structures, divided into five parts and containing a large number of seeds. The Cyclamen plant is widespread in Italy, both as a spontaneous and native species and for cultivation in pots, favored by the abundant flowering and graceful and luminous appearance of this small plant and its flowers.
Cyclamen is a plant from tropical areas or almost, with a climate that is often very hot and variably tending to humid or dry. However, in spite of these origins, for its cultivation in our areas, whether in the ground or in pots (much preferable, due to the possibility of varying the position during the various periods of the year), this plant requires medium-low temperatures. and not excessive exposure to the sun. Let's say that the optimal temperatures for abundant flowering and for survival from year to year must vary in a range between 5 ° and 15 ° centigrade. It is obviously a very limited interval but it is necessary because the plant has many requests, such as that of good ventilation (air exchange) and that of the right humidity. For sun exposure, it is absolutely necessary to avoid direct exposure (even through the windows of the house, on which it is good to put semi-transparent curtains), even if they love the light because it is fundamental to their bright colors. Not only that, since it is a plant that is kept very frequently in an apartment, Cyclamen also needs attention from the point of view of artificial heating, which must be absolutely moderate (remember the temperature of 15 ° C) and above all it must not dry out the environment.
A characteristic of the Cyclamen soil is that it must be very draining; in fact this plant does not need any particular mix of substance, the important thing is that there is a correct balance of all the more general components. However, Cyclamen absolutely hates water stagnation, as it tends to mold very quickly and it is evident that this trend is enhanced by the large presence of water. For this reason it is good to put a substrate of potsherds, gravel or river sand, or of draining and transpiring materials that avoid direct contact between roots and stagnant water. We will then see how for this reason there are also special measures on irrigation.
Cyclamen is a plant that has the vegetative period in summer (in fact it blooms between autumn and early spring) and in this period it must be kept away from direct sun but well ventilated and ventilated, so the optimal arrangement seems to covered terraces or similar places. In winter, however, it is only necessary to avoid the dryness of the heated apartment climate and direct sunlight. As for repotting, the Cyclamen plant requires few precautions, as this operation must really only be carried out when the roots have filled the whole pot, that is, they have filled it (you can see in these cases that some roots begin to sprout on the surface or that some come out of the drainage holes of the vessel itself); furthermore, the new target pot must be slightly larger, both in diameter and in height.
The Cyclamen plant requires careful watering, but above all it requires varying the technique according to the various periods of the year. These needs arise from the fact that this plant, as we have already said, is very sensitive to water stagnation, which rapidly lead to decay and death, especially through mold phenomena. The technique we suggest and recommend is therefore to water from the saucer, filling it and allowing the plant just under half an hour to absorb what it needs; after this time it is good to remove the water, so to speak, advanced and we will be sure to have provided the necessary amount for sustenance avoiding the so damaging stagnation. Furthermore, sprays or sprays on flowers and leaves are necessary to guarantee humidity. In these operations it is necessary to be careful to avoid wetting the center of the plant which could quickly rot. All this is for the most lively period of the cyclamen, that is between September and April; instead in the vegetative and transition phase (basically during the summer) the technique that must be adopted is to put very little water and only around the tuber, to guarantee it the little sustenance it needs in a phase in which it does not use forces for the growth of neither flowers nor leaves. In this case, watering must be rare, once a week on average, as opposed to the much higher frequency that must be sustained in the autumn and winter period.
The fertilization of Cyclamen is simple: generic liquid fertilizers are needed for this kind of plants (they are found in nurseries but also by florists, given the widespread use) to be poured every two weeks or a little more together with watering during the fertile period, while it is it is good to avoid any fertilization during the vegetative phase which would only risk burning the roots.
The reproduction of Cyclamen can be both very simple and extremely delicate, this is because there are two different (very different) ways to operate it; let's say that however we must always remember that this plant is very delicate and particular in its requests. The two techniques are through seeds and through the tuber; using the seeds (which we have already seen very numerous born from the fruit that the plant produces after flowering), it is necessary to extract them from the fruit that contains them, dry them and "rest" in the air for a few months (let's say that we arrive in September ) and then plant them in pots with a preferably rectangular shape (so as to be able to arrange them in parallel and fairly spaced rows) and elongated. This vase will be covered for the first month with a transparent plastic sheet (like the kitchen one) to ensure the right climate and suitable protection; not only that, it should be placed in the shade and watered gently but very frequently to encourage germination. Then, when the seedlings appear, they must be transplanted into small pots until they reach 5 centimeters in height and then again transplanted into the final place.
Reproduction from the tuber takes place at the beginning of the vegetative period, we can divide the tuber extracted from the pot into two parts with a sharp knife, making sure that each of them contains at least two well-living buds. Each of these two sub-parts, placed in pots in a place suitable for the vegetative cycle as already expressed above, will form the new plant, starting from the healing of the tuber and the growth of leaves and roots in the first place. Of the two methods shown, the one for seeds is the one that requires more patience and constant care (the plants that will be born may not even bloom for the first year, it is absolutely normal), while the second method, that is the one by division of the tuber is more immediate. but if done incorrectly it can lead to the death of the plant.
The Cyclamen does not require any pruning, also because its size is small; it is only necessary to immediately remove dried leaves and flowers to prevent them from being vehicles of rot and mold.
The flowering of the ha Cyclamen in the fertile period, that is between October and April and can last even 4 or 5 consecutive weeks; it is characterized by the growing abundance of the plant over the years (if it can survive) and by the very bright colors. On the other hand, perfumes are sometimes absent, and in general it is a characteristic that depends on the species.
The adversities that can affect Cyclamen are mainly diseases, but also physiologies. The most common physiology is the yellowing of the leaves and flowers, which tend to fold and dry up, and is due to both too much heat and too much humidity in the air and watering (it is advisable to adapt and allow air circulation ). Diseases, on the other hand, are due to fungi and molds that can cause spots to appear on the leaves above all, which can be solved through special products on sale at supplied nurseries (it is important, however, to monitor the plant and "catch" these diseases as soon as possible, that is from the first symptoms maybe on the stems).