Cyclamen is a vibrant and graceful plant with distinctive heart-shaped leaves and delicate blossoms. The plant can be planted indoors or outdoors.
Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.) is a genus of flowering plants native to various regions, including Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. They are renowned for their ability to thrive in cool temperatures and are often cultivated as houseplants or used to add elegance to gardens and balconies. While these plants possess a certain hardiness level, they are not impervious to stressors that can manifest as yellowing leaves.
So, why does cyclamen leaves turn yellow? The common causes of cyclamen leaves turning yellow are improper watering, high temperatures, improper lighting, poor soil quality, pests, diseases, and plant dormancy.
Let’s look at how these factors can cause cyclamen leaves to turn yellow.
Reasons why cyclamen leaves turn yellow.
Improper Watering Techniques
Improper watering involves providing the plant with excess or too little water. The way to water your plant is to ensure the soil is moist and not wet or dry.
Overwatering can cause cyclamen leaves to turn yellow. The roots suffocate when the soil remains constantly wet, leading to root rot. As a result, the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients is compromised, causing stress and yellowing of the leaves.
Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again to avoid overwatering. Ensure proper drainage and use a well-draining potting mix to prevent waterlogged conditions.
Conversely, underwatering can also result in yellowing leaves. Insufficient water supply causes dehydration, leading to wilting and yellowing of the foliage. Maintaining a consistent watering schedule ensures the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
Regularly check the moisture level by sticking your finger into the soil to a depth of one inch. If it feels dry, it’s time to water the plant.
Cyclamen plants thrive in cool temperatures ranging from 50-70°F (10-21°C). Exposure to high temperatures, especially above 75°F (24°C), can lead to heat stress, causing yellowing and wilting of the leaves.
Heat stress disrupts the plant’s metabolic processes, hindering photosynthesis and nutrient uptake. Providing shade or moving the plant to a cooler location can help alleviate heat stress and prevent leaf discoloration.
Cyclamen plants are sensitive to sudden or extreme temperature fluctuations. Abrupt shifts from warm to cold or vice versa can shock the plant’s system, resulting in stress and yellowing leaves.
Avoid placing cyclamen plants in drafty areas or near heat sources such as heaters or air conditioning vents. Maintain a stable temperature environment to prevent temperature-related leaf damage.
While cyclamen plants require bright light, direct exposure to intense sunlight can cause sunburn, leading to yellowing and browning of the leaves. This is particularly common when plants are placed near windows or in areas with strong sunlight.
To protect cyclamen leaves from sunburn, provide indirect or filtered light by using sheer curtains or placing the plant slightly away from direct sunlight. Adjust the plant’s position based on the changing angle of the sun.
On the other hand, Insufficient or excessive light intensity can affect cyclamen leaf coloration. Inadequate light can weaken photosynthesis, leading to pale or yellowing leaves.
Conversely, excessive light exposure can disrupt the plant’s natural processes, affecting pigmentation and causing leaf discoloration. Find the right balance of bright and indirect light for cyclamen plants to maintain healthy leaf coloration. Consider using supplemental grow lights if natural light is limited.
Poor Soil Quality.
Healthy soil nutrition is vital for the overall well-being of cyclamen plants. Nutrient deficiencies, such as nitrogen, iron, magnesium, or potassium, can impair chlorophyll production and cause yellowing leaves.
Regularly fertilize cyclamen plants with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer specifically formulated for their needs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and feed the plants during the active growing season.
Also, the cyclamen plants thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 5.5-7.0. Extreme soil pH levels can affect nutrient availability, leading to leaf discoloration. Acidic soil can cause iron deficiency, resulting in yellowing leaves, while alkaline soil can hinder nutrient uptake.
If necessary, test the soil pH using a soil testing kit and adjust it by adding amendments to bring it into the optimal range for cyclamen plants.
Pests and Diseases.
Pests such as aphids, mites, and thrips can infest cyclamen plants, causing damage to the leaves. These pests feed on the plant’s tissues, depleting nutrients and injecting toxins, which result in yellowing and distorted leaves.
Regularly inspect your cyclamen plants for signs of pests and take immediate action if infestations are detected. Use organic insecticidal soap, neem oil, or other appropriate methods to control pest populations.
Cyclamen plants are susceptible to fungal or bacterial infections that can weaken the plant’s tissues and lead to yellowing leaves. Gray mold (Botrytis cinerea) and bacterial leaf spot (Xanthomonas campestris) are common diseases affecting cyclamen.
To protect the plant from diseases, ensure good air circulation around the plants, avoid overhead watering, and promptly treat any signs of infection. Fungicides or bactericides may be necessary in severe cases, so consult a gardening expert for appropriate treatment options.
Cyclamen plants undergo a natural dormancy period, typically in late spring or summer when they shed older leaves. This shedding is a normal part of the plant’s growth cycle, allowing it to conserve energy and prepare for new growth. Older leaves gradually turn yellow and drop off as the plant enters dormancy. Avoid unnecessary worry during this time, as it is a natural occurrence.
Disrupting or prolonging the dormancy period can cause stress to cyclamen plants, resulting in abnormal leaf yellowing. Factors such as exposure to high temperatures or insufficient darkness during the dormancy period can interfere with the plant’s natural rhythm.
Provide the appropriate conditions for dormancy by reducing watering and providing cooler temperatures. Allow the plant to rest and rejuvenate before the next growth cycle.
Cultivating healthy cyclamen plants requires a holistic approach that addresses various factors contributing to leaf yellowing. By adopting proper watering techniques, maintaining suitable temperature and light conditions, ensuring quality soil, preventing pest infestations, and understanding the natural dormancy cycle, you can nurture thriving cyclamen plants with vibrant foliage.
Regular observation, early intervention, and an optimal environment will help preserve the beauty and longevity of these exquisite plants, ensuring a delightful display of cyclamen’s characteristic charm throughout the year.