How to Plant Cyclamen Seeds

Written by james marshall
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Cyclamen is a genus containing 23 species of flowering perennial plants. The genus name typically refers specifically to Cyclamen persicum in the U.S., unless otherwise stated in the name. Gardeners value cyclamen for its flowers, which have many different colours and patterns. Cyclamen's propagation by seed is more complex than it is for other plants. Ants normally eat the sweet outer covering of the cyclamen seeds, allowing the seed to germinate.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Seed propagation trays
  • Gardening trowel
  • Low-nitrogen fertiliser

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  1. 1

    Purchase cyclamen seeds from a commercial seed provider to ensure the seeds are hardy in your U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone. Wild cyclamen seeds have a wide range of characteristics, even when they come from the same plant.

  2. 2

    Fill planting trays with potting soil and place the trays against a north wall. Soak the cyclamen seeds in warm water for a full day to weaken the outer shell. Scatter the seeds directly on the soil in the planting trays, and place the thinnest possible layer of potting soil over the seeds needed to cover them. Keep the soil moist until spring.

  3. 3

    Place the planting trays into a refrigerator in the spring, before the temperature rises above 12.8 degrees Celsius. Keep the seeds at 12.8 degrees Celsius until the seeds germinate, which can take a year.

  4. 4

    Prepare a permanent planting site for the cyclamen seedlings. It should be in full sun or light shade. The soil should be rich with good drainage. Cyclamen also prefers soil that is slightly alkaline.

  5. 5

    Move the cyclamen seedlings to the outdoor site in the spring after the last expected frost. Space the seedlings 6 inches apart.

  6. 6

    Water cyclamen once each week while the leaves are green, and discontinue watering entirely when the plant becomes dormant. Apply a low-nitrogen fertiliser every two weeks during the growing season.

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