Why Does Your Cyclamen Plant Have Yellow Leaves? Explore These 8 Reasons

The yellowing of cyclamen leaves can be an indicator of a variety of conditions affecting the plant. A different approach might be necessary to tackle each root cause. In this article, horticulture expert Emily Horn demystifies the most prevalent causes of yellowing leaves in cyclamen plants and provides practical solutions.

Cyclamen: A Popular Houseplant with Unique Needs

Cyclamen is a popular houseplant, often gifted during Christmas due to its stunning appearance. Despite its relative ease to grow, the plant can lose its appeal when its leaves begin to yellow and fade. Adapting completely to indoor conditions can sometimes be a challenge for the cyclamen.

The plant is native to the Mediterranean, so if the leaves start to look sick or turn yellow, it could be a sign that it requires special care. Let’s delve into the top 8 reasons why cyclamen leaves might turn yellow and how to prevent or remedy these issues.

The Cyclamen’s Native Habitat: Understanding Its Ideal Conditions

Understanding the natural habitat of a plant is key to replicating its ideal growing conditions. The cyclamen genus includes 23 distinct species found worldwide. Cyclamen persicum, the florist’s cyclamen or Persian cyclamen, is particularly popular in the U.S.

These plants, part of the Primulaceae family, thrive in rich, well-draining soils, often in protected spots beneath larger plants where they receive filtered sunlight. Cyclamen persicum is indigenous to the greater Mediterranean region, including Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria – a region known for its hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.

While typically grown indoors, the florist’s cyclamen can survive outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9-11, withstanding temperatures as low as 30 to 40℉.

Understanding Cyclamen Dormancy

In their native Mediterranean habitat, cyclamen plants naturally go dormant during dry, warm periods to protect themselves from the harsh summer conditions. They typically exit this dormant stage in early fall, exhibiting lush, heart-shaped leaves and flower spikes in various colors such as red, purple, pink, and white. This makes cyclamen an ideal gift for Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

8 Reasons Why Cyclamen Leaves Turn Yellow

If your cyclamen plant is sporting yellow leaves, it’s signaling that something is amiss. Let’s explore some common issues and solutions.

High Temperatures

Cyclamen plants thrive at temperatures between 50℉ and 70℉. If the temperatures consistently rise above 70℉, they may enter dormancy, leading to yellowing leaves.

Solution: Regularly check the amount of sunlight your plant is receiving. If it’s exposed to intense heat, such as an overly warm windowsill or near a heating vent, consider moving it to a cooler location.


Even plants that prefer moist soil can suffer from overwatering. An oversaturated potting mix, especially in a pot with no drainage, can result in waterlogged soil, depriving the roots of oxygen and impairing the plant’s nutrient uptake.

Solution: Only water your cyclamen when necessary. You can determine the watering need by checking the soil’s moisture level deep down in the root zone. Also, be mindful to avoid wetting the crown, as this can cause stem rot.


While underwatering can be rectified more easily than overwatering, it’s crucial to provide enough water for your plant’s growth without overdoing it.

Solution: If your plant is showing signs of underwatering, give it a generous soak until water drains from the bottom. If growing outdoors, keep a check on the soil moisture.


Indoor plants, like cyclamen, subtly show signs of impending dormancy through changes in leaf color from green to yellow.

Solution: As the plant enters dormancy, stop watering it to avoid overwatering and potential rot. When you observe fresh leaves sprouting from the crown, resume normal watering.

Cyclamen Mites

Cyclamen mites, although small and difficult to spot, can wreak havoc on your plant.

Solution: If you suspect a cyclamen mite infestation, you may need to discard the severely infested parts of the plant. Alternatively, you can use neem oil or similar pesticidal sprays to control the spread.


Aphids are a common pest affecting many plants, including cyclamen.

Solution: If you spot aphids, take quick action to control them. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils are effective against aphids. Alternatively, you can create a homemade spray with water, dish soap, and cooking oil or let natural predators control the aphids if outdoor conditions are suitable.


The infamous mealybugs do not discriminate in their choice of houseplants for feeding, and cyclamen plants unfortunately make their list too. These tiny insects with their oval bodies are covered in a white wax-like layer. They typically set camp on the underside of leaves and along the plant stems.

Mealybugs can be seen easier than aphids, but their symptoms of infestation mirror those of aphids. Their needle-like mouthparts puncture plant tissues, sucking out the contents of plant cells.

The sugary liquid they excrete after digestion, known as honeydew, coats the leaves underneath the feeding mealybugs making them wet and sticky. As mealybugs feed on the cell contents, they consume the cell pigments, causing the leaves to turn yellow. This honeydew also reduces the amount of sunlight the leaf can absorb, resulting in premature yellowing.

How to Eradicate Mealybugs

There are several methods to control mealybug infestations. Using a soft toothbrush or a cotton swab, you can displace the insects from the plants.

Another technique involves dabbing a clean cotton swab in 70% rubbing alcohol and gently applying it on the insect. This process dehydrates the mealybugs’ bodies, ultimately leading to their death.

Commercial pesticides such as insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils are effective in managing mealybug populations. It’s essential to read the label for accurate dosing and application instructions.


Thrips, while some are pest insects, others function as decomposers of plant debris or as predators of pest insects. When it comes to cyclamen, the focus is on the harmful thrips that feed on leaves.

Thrips are a frequent pest on cyclamen plants. They have small, oval-shaped bodies, often compared to a grain of rice. They come in various hues, from brownish-black to yellowish-orange. They favor younger leaf tissue and flower buds as these areas offer them shelter from light.

A significant concern with thrips is their ability to transmit plant diseases. Infected plants often exhibit dark green/black leaves that are twisted and contorted, streaks of white within flowers, or yellow/orange lesions on leaves. Thrips prevention is key to stopping the spread of viruses and fungi to your houseplants.

Thrips Detection Method

Thrips inject their saliva into the leaf cells and suck out the cell contents. As a result, the leaf cells become colorless empty pockets that eventually dry out, causing tan-to-white patches on the leaves.

Thrips also feed on the pollen of cyclamen flowers. When thrips infest the flowers, the flowers may fail to open or show damage upon opening, such as colorless tissue, white spots/streaks on the flower petals, and overall distortion of the flower.

Detecting thrips is simple:

  1. Use a plain white sheet of paper.
  2. Place it under the suspected infested flower or leaf.
  3. Gently tap the flower or leaf over the paper.
  4. Thrips, if present, will fall onto the paper.

Thrips Control Methods

Thrips are difficult to control due to their excellent hiding skills. Traditional chemical pesticides often fail to make contact with them, leading to their survival and possible resistance to the pesticides.

Systemic pesticides work more effectively against thrips because they need to ingest the chemical. Always read the pesticide label before using it to ensure its effectiveness on thrips in cyclamen. It also gives information on protective gear to wear during application and the application frequency.

In nursery greenhouses, biological control methods are often used to control thrips due to the limited number of approved chemicals. Biological controls include natural predators of thrips or bacteria and fungi that are harmful to thrips but safe for humans. These predators can access the tight spaces that thrips favor, controlling their populations more efficiently than chemical applications.

In severe infestations, the best course of action may be to discard the plant to prevent the spread of the pests to other plants in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of light do cyclamen need?

Cyclamen prefer indirect, bright light for about 4-6 hours a day. The definition of indirect light can vary based on the time of year. It should not cast a clean shadow and should pass through objects like blinds, curtains, or tree leaves. East or west exposures offering 4-6 hours of sunlight are ideal. Filtered southern exposure for 4-5 hours might also be sufficient. Look out for signs of excessive light like leaf curling or leggy growth and adjust as necessary.

Will my cyclamen bloom again after dormancy?

Possibly. In an average household, the light levels may not be intense enough to trigger a second flowering of your cyclamen. However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If the cyclamen starts showing new growth post-dormancy, move it to a brightly lit location. Also, increase the watering frequency and add a monthly feeding of a phosphorus-rich liquid houseplant fertilizer to your cyclamen maintenance.

What type of fertilizer do cyclamen require?

Cyclamen are not too particular about fertilizers. A phosphorus-rich houseplant fertilizer would promote flower production and blooming. The label will guide you with the right fertilizer-water ratio and frequency of application. However, avoid fertilizing as the plant enters dormancy, as this can interfere with the plant’s rest period and potentially harm its overall health.


The yellowing of cyclamen leaves indicates plant distress. The causes could range from over or under-watering to pest infestation. Now that you understand the basic life cycle of cyclamen, you can identify the cause of yellowing foliage more easily and solve problems more quickly.

Related Posts
How to propagate roses from cuttings

Do you have a plant that thrives splendidly in your backyard? Or perhaps a neighbor's rose bush that's stolen your Read more

Baking soda is a gardener’s best friend: here are 10 clever uses in the garden

When it comes to tending to your garden, you might be surprised to learn that one of the most versatile Read more

Cultivating Exquisite Orchids: Essential Tips for Healthy Plants and Beautiful Blooms

Orchids are some of the most stunningly beautiful and varied plants in the world. They have become increasingly popular as Read more

The Essential Guide to Growing and Caring for a Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii) is a delightful houseplant, renowned for its eye-catching winter bloom. With the right care and Read more

8 Mistakes You Might Be Making With Your Aloe Vera Plants

Aloe vera is a popular houseplant known for its medicinal properties and attractive appearance. However, many people make mistakes when Read more

15 Ingenious Home and Garden Uses for Eggshells

Beyond their role as containers for nutritious yolks and egg whites, eggshells exemplify nature's remarkable packaging design. They offer more Read more

7 Hydroponic Plants Flourish Without Soil, Blooming Directly in Water

Searching for a distinctive method to incorporate some foliage into your home or workplace? Try cultivating plants hydroponically! Not only Read more

Simple Steps to Amplify Your Peace Lily’s Flower Power

The Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), widely adored for its lustrous foliage and elegant white flowers, is a popular choice among houseplant Read more

A Simple Guide to Planting, Nurturing, and Maintaining Geraniums

Renowned for their vibrant summer blossoms, Pelargoniums, often referred to as common geraniums, are an excellent addition to any garden. Read more

How to Successfully Propagate a Cactus Orchid from Stem Cuttings

Epiphyllum, fondly referred to as Cactus Orchids or "Epis," are uniquely beautiful orchids admired for their breathtaking blossoms and straightforward Read more

Understanding Orchid Roots: Why They Grow Out of Pots and What You Should Do

When it comes to plants, seeing roots coming out of the pot is a sign that it's time for a Read more

Easily Growing Roses from Cuttings with a Banana: A Simple Guide

Growing roses from cuttings is an economical and rewarding way to expand your garden, and using a banana as part Read more

7 Houseplants That Remove Unpleasant Smells From Your Home

Creating a refreshing and pleasant indoor environment requires more than just regular cleaning and airing out. One lesser-known but highly Read more

3 special Fertilizers for a Lush and Vibrant Peace Lily

The Peace Lily, often referred to as the Moses' Cradle, is a stunningly beautiful plant known for its lush foliage Read more

Why do the leaves of a sansevieria “roll” and how to fix it

Sansevieria, commonly known as snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue, is a highly popular indoor plant due to its striking appearance Read more

4 Tips for plants to bloom all year round and prevent them from rotting

Achieving year-round blooming plants that remain healthy and vibrant can be a rewarding challenge for any gardener or plant enthusiast. Read more

12 Tips for your plants to bloom in a few days

For a plant to truly thrive and display a radiant array of blossoms, it requires meticulous care and specific conditions. Read more

How to propagate and grow a Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)

The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) is a popular indoor plant celebrated for its spectacular array of blooms in shades of red, Read more

Use it on your plants and they will grow faster (Revitalizing homemade fertilizer)

As sustainability and eco-friendliness continue to take precedence in our daily activities, finding alternative ways to fertilize our gardens is Read more

Rice Grains Unleashed: Supercharge Your Plants with Natural Strength and Vitality

When it comes to nourishing our plants, we often think of traditional fertilizers and organic matter. However, there's a simple Read more

Secrets for planting ginger in a pot or your garden for endless supplies at home

Ginger, with its unique flavor and numerous health benefits, is a staple ingredient in many cuisines. Instead of constantly buying Read more

How to take care of Peace Lily: check out essential tips for you to follow

Desiring to unravel the secrets of Peace Lily upkeep? The Peace Lily, or Spathiphyllum Wallisii, is a mystical species, often Read more

Why Orchids Benefit from Lemon Juice Watering

The world of orchids, with over 28,000 species and counting, is as diverse and enchanting as nature itself. Orchidaceae, the Read more

7 Plants that are watered only once a week

Are you a busy plant lover who struggles to keep up with daily watering routines? Or perhaps you're someone with Read more

An Effective Homemade Solution for Garden Pests: Caterpillars, Bed Bugs, Ants, and White Flies

Gardening can be a joyous and fulfilling activity, providing a sense of satisfaction that comes from nurturing and watching things Read more

Propagating Roses from a Bouquet: A Guide to Cultivating Roses at Home

Florists and rose enthusiasts know that the beauty of roses doesn't have to be fleeting. It is possible to root Read more

How to grow a beautiful Geranium Flower

Geraniums are known for their vibrant colors, delightful fragrance, and ease of cultivation, making them a popular choice for both Read more

8 Fruit trees that you can plant with the fruit’s own seed

To achieve a well-rounded and nutritious eating plan, daily consumption of varied foods is crucial. For fruit intake, professionals propose Read more

Unlock the Secret to Inducing Blooming in Jade Plants for an Abundance of Luck in Your Home

The jade plant possesses exquisite foliage, making it an ideal choice for enhancing gardens and interior spaces. Its aesthetic appeal Read more

How to Grow Bougainvillea in a Pot – Flowering and Care

Bougainvillea, with its lush, cascading blooms, is a vibrant tropical vine that can transform any space into a vibrant oasis. Read more

Eggshell Tea: An Organic Boost for Your Plants

Prepare to be amazed as we uncover the hidden potential of a humble kitchen scrap—eggshells! No, you're not going nuts! Read more

Unleash the Power of Carrot Juice: A Natural Tonic for Thriving Plants

When it comes to nurturing plants, we often turn to traditional methods such as sunlight, water, and soil nutrients. However, Read more

Rejuvenating a Withered or Dried Orchid: Essential Steps for Recovery

Orchids are renowned for their exquisite beauty and delicate nature. While these enchanting flowers can thrive with proper care, they Read more

Prepare this mixture at home for your Plants and they will begin to grow in a few days

A growing number of individuals today opt for cultivating their own food instead of purchasing it from stores, as this Read more

DIY Pesticide Spray for Healthy, Pest-Free Plant Growth

In the vast, exciting world of gardening, one of the most challenging issues to handle is the battle against plant Read more

How to prepare Onion Water to water the Plants

In the green world of gardening, conventional methods of fertilizing and caring for plants are gradually being replaced by more Read more

Unleashing the Magic: Lemon Seeds in Banana for Healthy Sprouting

The awe-inspiring wonders of nature are limitless. A captivating example that has recently stirred interest is the practice of embedding Read more

5 Necessary Care So That Your Pothos Plant Does Not Die

The telephone plant stands out among other houseplants due to its versatility, thriving in both humid environments like bathrooms and Read more

2 Homemade Fertilizers for Plants to Bear Fruit

Applying fertilizers to our patios or gardens is a way of enriching the soil with essential nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, Read more

How to Revive Your Orchids: Tips for Bouncing Them Back to Life

Have you noticed your orchid showing signs of stress or looking sickly and on the verge of dying? Don't despair! Read more

How to Plant Potted Orchids Step by Step

Belonging to one of the largest plant families, orchids are distinguished by their unique beauty and vibrant color palette. With Read more

10 Plants that will help to have a microclimate in your home

Many individuals remain oblivious to the remarkable role of houseplants in enhancing the microclimate of their dwellings. These botanical gems, Read more

You must know these 4 methods for watering the orchid

Orchids, recognized for their delicate beauty, necessitate meticulous care - particularly in their hydration needs. Unlike many houseplants, orchids have Read more

Don’t throw banana peels in the trash. Discover 8 ways to recycle them through gardening

Banana peels offer an abundance of repurposing opportunities, and they aren't all about creating classic comedic moments. In a home Read more

From Fertilizer to Pest Control, Discover the Surprising Powers of Milk!

Milk is not only a nutritious food rich in vitamins D, A, and B complex, as well as minerals like Read more

Hoya Mathilde: Unlocking the Secrets to Care, Propagation, and Breathtaking Blooms

Hoya Mathilde, a delightful member of the Hoya family, is cherished by indoor plant enthusiasts for its captivating foliage and Read more

Propagating Rose Cuttings Using the Potato Method

If you're eager to embark on a gardening journey but hesitant about investing in specialized equipment or seed-starting resources, fear Read more

Container Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Container gardens necessitate more frequent watering compared to gardens planted directly in the ground. In regions with scorching and arid Read more