Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) is a dainty flowering plant with sweetly scented, small flowers on long stalks that extend above the foliage. It is a tuberous perennial, meaning that it will die back to its thick roots (tubers) during its summer dormancy, then quickly regrow each fall. Flowers come in shades of pink, purple, red, and white. The heart-shaped leaves are medium green, often with silver mottling. It is commonly grown as a houseplant and is especially popular during the winter holiday season when you will see cyclamen blooming on garden center and grocery store shelves. Seeds can be planted in late summer for flowers in winter of the following year (about 18 months later). Cyclamen is poisonous to both animals1 and humans2.
When grown outdoors, cyclamen requires well-drained soil and should be planted in a spot that gets bright indirect light but not much direct sunlight. However, Cyclamen persicum is usually cultivated for varieties better suited as houseplants; related species such as C. hederifolium are more commonly used for growing cyclamen in the landscape.
Cyclamen persicum, the florist’s cyclamen, is usually grown indoors in pots. It is dormant for the summer, but with the right care, it will grow back and bloom again in the fall. Exactly when cyclamen go dormant depends on their growing conditions. Warm temperatures will drive them into dormancy, but if you keep your home cool your plant may not seem fully dormant. Instead, it may just shed a few leaves and not look good or bloom for a few months.