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Almost three years ago I bought a smallish cyclamen from IKEA to decorate my second bathroom. I fully expected it to be "produced as disposable" and to bloom for a bit and then .... whatever.

Since then it has been blooming constantly for three years(!) and I have become very fond of it.

From all cyclamens I or my mom ever had or that I read about, they are "supposed" to drop all leaves and go dormant during summer, pushing out new foliage and flowers when you start watering them after that. I always found mine to indicate the beginning of their dormancy phase with the end of flowering and leaves turning yellow and consequently reduced and stopped watering.

But not this one. Yes, a few leaves shrivel up and die and the number of flowers once went down to "only" five, but at the same time it pushes up new leaves and there are dozens of flower buds in various stages of development under the dense foliage. It never had that "slightly scraggly" look I have always associated with the onset of the dormancy phase.

So I've been wondering:

Does a cyclamen need the dormant phase for its long-term health or can I continue caring for it the way I do and enjoy it year-round?

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If they're growing in perfect conditions (and it seems yours is) then they may very well keep going until they stop altogether from exhaustion. In theory, you're supposed to wait till the main flowering is over, then reduce watering and stop feeding. The pot gets placed on its side in a cool spot and is kept dry until midsummer, at which point, you repot into fresh compost, burying the tuber to half its depth, then stand in a cool well lit spot (in your case, your bathroom) and resume watering to keep the compost moist. Those instructions apply primarily to Cyclamen persicum, the larger plant with larger leaves and flowers - some of the smaller varieties don't do so well after a resting period. They may regrow, but are never as vibrant and floriferous as they were initially, so its usual to replace those rather than try to keep them going.

It probably will eventually run out of steam if its not given a rest - on the other hand, you never expected it to be a permanent plant anyway, and it sounds like one of the smaller varieties, so you can either carry out the 'resting' procedure described above, or just let it do its own thing, enjoy it and carry on with what you're doing and if it gives up completely, bin it.

  • That's part of the issue - there's wave after wave of flowering. Whenever I think "now it's probably done" I look under the leaves and see another two or three dozen buds (yes, I counted them once) pushing up. And while it appreciates feeding, I must admit I didn't exactly keep a schedule - more like "uh-oh, perhaps I'd better give them one of those sticks" once or twice a year. – Stephie Jun 4 '16 at 13:10
  • Ah, it's a smaller type. So I'll probably carry on and see what happens. That might be the crucial information. – Stephie Jun 4 '16 at 13:11
  • Well I would - if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and it sounds like its more than given value for money! If it ever does get to the point where it stops, then you can try the resting procedure. – Bamboo Jun 4 '16 at 13:15
  • Can you propagate and sell them? :) – Graham Chiu Jun 4 '16 at 20:48
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I'm not a cyclamen expert, but I had this same concern with a cyclamen I grew from seed. I thought it needed to go dormant, so this summer, I stopped watering it when it started to yellow, and I thought based on everything I read, that I had successfully set it into dormancy, but I just checked the corm, and it's shriveled,and dry, like a very old withered potato, not plump and firm, like a fresh, happy potato, so if yours is going strong, I'd say enjoy it as long as it lasts. If it eventually dies of exhaustion, at least you didn't kill it early by trying to force it into dormancy like I did.

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I have been lazily looking after a cyclamen in a similar situation for 20 years. If the leaves become very mouldy, or it gets a big mite infestation then dry it out and remove dead foilage, otherwise enjoy.

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I have 3 red cyclamen plants. Two of them I have had for about 7 years and they have never stopped blooming. The 3rd plant I bought about 3 years ago and it has never stopped blooming either. I do lightly feed them about once per month. I do not change their soil. Right now I have 22 fully open blossoms (on the 3 plants) and many buds. For years now I kept thinking they would die from exhaustion but it has not happened yet.

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