Growing cyclamen from seeds

Growing Cyclamen From Seed: Learn About Cyclamen Seed Propagation

Cyclamen is a beautiful plant, but not necessarily a cheap one. Planting one or two in the garden or home is one thing, but if you want to grow a whole swath of them, you’ll notice the price tag adding up quickly. A perfect way to get around this (and also just to get more hands-on in your garden) is growing cyclamen from seed. Planting cyclamen seeds is relatively easy, although it does take quite a while and doesn’t follow all the rules you may be used to with seed germination. Keep reading to learn more about cyclamen seed propagation and how to grow cyclamen from seed.

Can You Grow Cyclamen from Seed?

Can you grow cyclamen from seed? Yes, you can, but it takes some special treatment. For one thing, cyclamen seeds have a period of “ripeness,” basically the month of July, when it’s best to plant them.

You can harvest them yourself or buy ripe seeds from the store. You can also buy dried seeds, but their germination rate won’t be as good. You can get around this somewhat by soaking your dried seeds in water with a tiny splash of dish soap for 24 hours before planting.

How to Grow Cyclamen from Seed

Planting cyclamen seeds requires 3- to 4-inch pots of well-draining compost mixed with grit. Plant about 20 seeds in each pot and cover them with a fine layer of more compost or grit.

In nature, cyclamen seeds germinate in the fall and winter, which means they like it cold and dark. Put your pots in a cool place, ideally around 60 F. (15 C.), and cover them with something to completely block the light.

Also, when planting cyclamen seeds, it may take as long as a couple months for germination to take place.

Once the seeds sprout, remove the cover and place the pots under grow lights. Keep the plants cool – cyclamen does all of its growing in the winter. As they get bigger, thin and transplant them to bigger pots as needed.

When summer comes, they will go dormant, but if you can manage to keep them cool the whole time, they will grow through the summer and get big faster. That said, you probably won’t see any flowers in the first year.

Planting Cyclamen Seeds and Tubers

Cyclamen seeds and tubers are easy and simple to plant. The cyclamen tuber grows very near or even at the soil surface. The only tool needed may be just a garden trowel. Planting tubers may require some soil preparation especially if your soil is dense clay or drains poorly. In the wild hardy species of cyclamen are either woodland type plants or those found in very rocky shade. Most will grow in average garden soils. Check the notes on Hardy Species for the type of cyclamen that are to be planted and growing Hardy Cyclamen Outdoors for where to plant.

Top view of Cyclamen hederifolium tuber

How to Plant Hardy Cyclamen Tubers

Tubers are most easily planted while in their dormant state. They can be transplanted while in growth but the mass of roots and tangle of stems make it more difficult. With the soil prepared place the tuber deep enough so that there is at least one half inch of soil covering it. Tubers of hederifolium, purpurascens and repandum can be planted as deep as six inches if covered with loose compost or leafy mulch. Planting a little deeper may be wise in colder climates.

It is important to plant the dormant tubers right side up. Some tubers may be difficult to distinguish top from bottom. The top side of the tuber usually is rough, bumpy or has nodules, and this is where flower and leaf stems will sprout from. The bottom is round and very smooth. An examination of these features will help determine which end is up. The proper distance to place them depends on the size of the tuber and how long they will remain in place. If they will be undisturbed, space C. hederifolium at least one foot apart, the smaller tubers of C. coum can be placed six inches apart. Newly planted tubers should be watered and will benefit from a slightly moist soil during the first summer to encourage roots and keep the soil loose. Water should always be available during the seasons of growth.

Bottom of Cyclamen hederifolium tuber

How to Start Cyclamen from Seed

Patience is the greatest requirement to get blooming tubers from seed. Most species will sprout in four to ten weeks with a few like purpurascens taking over a year. I recommend starting them indoors as conditions are more easily controlled. Outdoor sowing in a dedicated seed bed can also be effective. Results can be disappointing if the seed is scattered outdoors in an area of their desired placement. They will not germinate well and will easily be overun by weeds and fall leaves.

Fresh seed ripens and become available in summer and remain viable for several years. The seed should be prepared by soaking them 24 hours in a cup of warm water, with a couple drops of liquid dish soap added to it. When planting seeds be sure to cover them with a layer of soil or grit as they need darkness to germinate. Under average conditions, most tubers will bloom in their third year of growth.

Seeds of Cyclamen.

Starting Seed Outdoors

Outdoors, where the winter is mild they can be sown in late summer or early fall. Where winters are more severe, sow them in spring. Select a location in partial shade with good drainage. Prepare a seed bed with compost or peat moss. Sow the seeds at least 3 inches apart lightly covering them with some peat moss or a layer of grit. Keep them moist before and after germination. Fall sown seed germinates slowly and usually grow one leaf before winter. Sowing seeds in a cold frame is a good alternative to the open ground and an excellent way to get them started outdoors. After a couple years of growth they can be moved to their final location. Some Cyclamen growers have cold frames dedicated to growing colonies of some of the more tender species.

Starting Seed Indoors

This is the preferred method and has a higher rate of success to reach blooming size in less time. The planted seed should be kept moist, and cool, maintaining temperatures at 50 to 65°. Germination under these conditions takes place in 6 to 10 weeks for hederifolium and coum.

Technique of seed planting that I have found will grow larger more vigorous sprouts.

  1. Soak seed overnight in cup of water, add a drop of dish soap..
  2. Use a flat, tray, or pot with drainage holes at least 2 inches deep.
  3. Mix in a little bone meal with a commercial seed starting mix. Fill the container.
  4. Thoroughly moisten the soil mix.
  5. Lightly press the seed on the surface of soil at least 1 inch apart.
  6. Cover the seed in a layer 1/4 inch deep with clean sand,perlite or fine to medium grit.
  7. Water lightly whenever the sand/grit becomes dry.

The newly formed tubers prefer developing in the layer of sand/grit/perlite and leaves will be much larger the first year. A source for grit can found at a feed store as ‘poultry grit’. Poultry grit is usually classed as chick, grower, layer and turkey. Use the chick or grower size. In summer, if the tray is kept moist, cool, and shaded, new seedlings will continue to grow without going dormant. If some or most leaves die down and dormancy occurs that is okay. Water the dormant seedlings less but never let them become bone dry. At the beginning of September thoroughly water them whenever the surface becomes dry. New growth will start shortly.

Newly grown cyclamen can be planted out sooner than two years but the tuber size is so small they are difficult to handle. Overwinter in a cool greenhouse, in a cold frame, or indoors under artificial light. By doing this a much higher percentage will have grown to reach blooming size in half the time than those sown outdoors. Plant out in their flowering positions in May through late summer or keep them in pots if you like. I plant mine out in summer when the tuber is larger than the size of a nickel. They are much easier to handle and have a well defined top at this size.

Growing Hardy Cyclamen from Seed

WE LIVE IN southeastern Pennsylvania, on the edge of USDA hardiness zone 7, but some winters can have times of zone 6 weather. In the warmer half of the year we live in coastal Maine in a zone 5 climate. I have cyclamen in both places, but most are in Pennsylvania. Growing these little treasures is not an instant gratification project, as it takes 2 – 3 years from seed to garden plant, but the reasons for growing cyclamen are many. These plants produce their pink or white flowers when little else is in flower, and they are often fragrant. In addition to the blooms, their foliage alone would make them worth growing. Foliage can be plain green, silver, pewter, or elegantly patterned and is attractive at least 6 months of the year. We used to live in a house with all sorts of gardening situations indoors and out, but for the last 4 years we have lived in a retirement community in a 3-room apartment with small gardens outside. So I am challenged to find microclimates, etc., but gardeners are born for challenges. Despite the challenges, I have found a method that works for me, and I end up with too many plants and have to give them away or sell them at plant-group benefits.

Cyclamen Seed – Giant Cyclamen Persicum Flower Seeds

Flower Specifications

Season: Annual

USDA Zones: 6 – 8

Height: 12 inches

Bloom Season: Summer and fall

Bloom Color: Mix

Environment: Partial shade

Soil Type: Moist, well-drained, pH 6.5

Deer Resistant: Yes

Planting Directions

Temperature: 64 – 68F

Average Germ Time: 30 – 60 days

Light Required: No

Depth: Cover thickness of seed

Sowing Rate: 2 – 3 seeds per plant

Moisture: Must maintain moisture; seed must never dry out

Plant Spacing: 10 inches

Care & Maintenance: Cyclamen

Cyclamen (Cyclamen Persicum) – Growing from flower seeds can be very rewarding! Cyclamen Persicum plants are often seen for sale throughout the fall and winter as a house plant. This variety of Cyclamen is often referred to as the Florist’s Cyclamen. It can be grown from Cyclamen seeds, and it has sweet scented small 1/2 – 3/4 inch flowers that are produced on long stems, held upright above the foliage. It is tuberous with heart shaped leaves. Indoors, Cyclamen can be a perennial with a 2 – 3 month dormancy each year. This variety can also be planted outdoors, but unless it is brought back inside it will not survive cold temperatures.

Although the Cyclamen is a tender plant, it does not need a strong heat, and will not endure temperature extremes of any kind. Sudden changes are always fatal to its growth. The optimal temperature range should not be allowed to fall below 50F or to rise above 70F at any time. For indoor growing, place the pot on pebbles that are in a tray and are in water. The Cyclamen can absorb the water from its roots. Never pour the water directly over the crown of the plant, as that will lead to rot. Fertilize with a balanced liquid fertilizer every month. Dilute it to half strength for Cyclamens.

Cyclamen Persicum seed may benefit from soaking in tepid water until the seeds are swollen. This may take 24 hours. Sow the Cyclamen flower seeds indoors using small pots and a peaty starter mix. The flower seed should not be buried any more deeply than the seed is thick. The pots need to be placed in a dark place, and the flower seeds should never be allowed to dry out. As soon as germination begins, take the pots out of the dark and place them in a sunny area but not in direct sun.

Order Cyclamen Seed and Tubers

  • Seeds ship year around. Fresh crop available by August 1.
  • Place a reserve order for tubers starting July 1 to be shipped at the end of Spring. Quantities limited!
  • Sorry, taking U.S. orders only!

Order Seeds

Growing hardycyclamen from seed takes patience. It can take 3 years of growth before they will reach a blooming size. Be sure to read how to start and grow Cyclamen seed here.

These Cyclamen seeds are collected from specimens that exhibit strong blooming characteristics and exceptional foliage. Fresh seed available now. Bloom color predominantly pink but may include white. Shipping included – shipped by U.S.P.S. First-Class Mail.

Fresh seed August 1st!

NEW! Cyclamen coum Seeds Cyclamen hederifolium Seeds

Order Cyclamen Plant Tubers

Orders for June 2020 can be placed starting July 1

Shipped in June only. Payable invoice sent in Spring. Information on planting tubers here.

Reserve Orders for tubers taken until supply runs out. Orders are limited to a maximum of 9 for each size as quantities are limited. For larger quantities contact me.

size measurement.

Tuber size is measured in circumference.
Divide size by pi(3.14) to get diameter.
Multiply centimeters by 2.54 to get inches.

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