August 15, 2010

Repotting Cyclamen

Early August is prime time to clean up and repot winter growing greenhouse bulbs. The Cyclamen species are just starting to break dormancy, but it's not too late to repot or topdress them, since most Cyclamen dislike root disturbance. Particularly the Greek species C. graecum, so I like to repot these every three years, just as the start to think about growing for the autumn.

 This large Cyclamen africanum bulb has long roots that may seem dormant in the hot summer, but they actually will grow deep into the slightly damp sand of the raised bulb bed, where they search for just the perfect amount ot moisture. Other species of Cyclamen survive the hot summer just fine, with no water at all, but I' find that C. graecum prefers a touch of moisture. Repotting late, ensures that growth will start quickly as the weather changes, and I am less likely to lose bulbs.

 This C. africanum  bulb which I started from seed, is now almost 7 inches in diameter.

 Smaller C. graecum are carefully excavated, to see how active the roots are. Since these are young, and have stronger root systems, I am only removing half of the soil.

I will topdress these pots with a fresh mix of one third composted peanut hulls, one third giant perlite, and one third gravel. Cyclamen graecum prefer a fast draining compost, since they abhor dampness around their bulbs. Some enthusiasts plant this species in pure sand or pure perlite, but I find that the addition of BioComp, thanks to Cyclamen expert John Lonsdale, adds to my success.

Repotted Cyclamen species are topdressed with granite gravel chips, and set aside for a week under shade cloth and under glass. Inside the greenhouse, it gets very hot during these late summer days, but even though our cool nights have just started, some Cyclamen are already starting to grow.

 Tiny bulblets are often found when repotting, formed from seeds that were self sown in the pots. These I pot up into 3 inch clay pots, and these too are topdressed in gravel, and will be set into the sand bed. All of the cyclamen are still allowed to rest until night time temperatures start to drop, which will be in a couple of weeks. I will then water them all well, and within a month, all will be in full bloom.

A few pots are already blooming, so I moved them outdoors since the greenhouse is too hot for the flowers. I will allow these to get any rain, if we get it this week, but mostly, they will remain dry until the fall begins. It's amazing to see Mother Nature as she starts to trigger growth with autumn flowering plants. There is no holding her back, sometimes.


  1. I came across this post by doing a Google image search for "dormant cyclamen" because I wanted to know whether my plants are dying back normally or if something is going wrong (it's my first time with cyclamen). Thanks for the information. Anyway I wanted to drop a line because to my surprise you are located in Worcester, and I used to live there but am now living half a world away in Belgium. Small world. Take care. :)

  2. I found this helpful page by chance while looking for information about repotting my cyclamen.
    What a coincidence ! --- not only was I born in Worcester,but the previous post is dated on my birthday ( but 81 years ago )


Oh yes, do leave me a comment!