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Cyclamen Leaves Curling (12 Causes and Solutions)

Indoor potted Cyclamen Leaves Curling

Have you noticed your beautiful cyclamen houseplant slowly loses its energetic vibe as its leaves start to curl under?

Cyclamen only requires minimal care. However, for it to maintain its natural freshness and to avoid cyclamen leaves from curling down, there are a few things to consider.

The main reason for Cyclamen leaves start curling under is because of cyclamen mite infestation. Although, here are the other reasons like under or overwatering, overfeeding fertilizer, lack of nutrition, temperature stress. There are other care mistakes that can lead to this problem.

Keep reading to find out the things that you have to remember while you give your cyclamen plants the minimal care that it requires.

Reasons Why Your Cyclamen Leaves Curl Under

There are a lot of reasons why your cyclamen leaves curl under, here are the common causes that we need to consider.

Cyclamen Mite Infestation

You probably wonder how come that you don’t notice the mites running around your plant. Well here’s the answer, the most common reason for the cyclamen plant curling leaves is because of cyclamen mite infestation. (Source: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment)

So, what do these mites look like?

These mites are semi-transparent, greenish, and they are about 0.02 in length. So you see, these mites are too tiny to be noticed with the naked eye.

Here are the insects that commonly harm cyclamen:

  • Aphid
  • Thrips
  • Cyclamen mites

These insects give obvious damage to the plant. They usually hide on the reverse side of the  exposed leaves. The effect of this might seem light at first. Slowly, the foliage will turn into yellow as it eventually dies and falls off.

Now, how do we deal with cyclamen mites?

We can get rid of these insects, which causes discoloration and withering of the plant, by using insecticidal soap.

Another way to remove them is with a high-pressure stream of water to both sides of its leaves since we mentioned earlier that they usually hide on the reverse side of the blade.

If your cyclamen plant still has the same problem after doing the said things above, below are the other ways to fix it.

How to Fix

The best way to do it is to cast out the infested plants. Mites will reproduce rapidly and they will just spread out in the other areas of the plants making it harder for you to control them.

Another way is heat treatment; mites will die when exposed to 110°F (42.3°C) water for about 15 minutes.

The heat won’t harm the plant as long as you keep up with the exact given temperature, always remember not to overheat the roots and protect the leaves from too much heat.

You can also use  Neem oil which is a biopesticide for the organic approach. It works really well, especially with mites and aphids.

The second option you have is Imidacloropid. It is a systemic insecticide that is known for being long-lasting and effective.

Under watering

Another cause of the cyclamen leaves curling under is because of under-watering.

It’s obvious to almost all plants that when they are under-watered, big chances are they will become dry, the leaves will turn yellow, and in time it will wither.

How to Fix

Pour over water to the pot and make sure that it reaches the roots of the plant, observe until the bubble stops rising.

Several waterings will be necessary to make sure that you’re not leaving the plant dry.

Overfeeding Cyclamen With Fertilizer

It’s important to fertilize your plant regularly. However just like with water, when you overdo the fertilization it will not come up well. 

You should feed cyclamen once every 3-4 weeks. It is sensitive when overfed, wilting will take place. It’s also ideal to use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus, like  20-20-20.

How to Fix

First, check your cyclamen if it has the signs of over-fertilization. The signs are discoloration, excessive foliage and less flowers, misshapen leaves, and excess fertilizers above the soil.

What you have to do is scoop the excess visible fertilizer out of the pot. Then, leach the soil with water to spread the excess fertilizer away from the roots. 

Finally, replant it if possible, do not feed your plant until it looks sturdy again, and that would be for about 3-4 weeks. Lastly, avoid fertilizer with too much nitrogen.

Lack of nutrition

When a cyclamen plant lacks nutrition, its leaves will only grow small, and it will not bloom.

Thus, the immunity of the plant will be decreased making it easier to wither, curl, and fall off.

The main culprit for the cyclamen’s leaves curling is a deficiency of K (Potassium) and Cu (Copper).

How to Fix

Feed the plant with a fertilizer that is high in K (potassium). Feed your cyclamen every 3-4 weeks.

You can use 0-0-26, a fertilizer that is rich with K (potassium) which is responsible for the sturdiness of the leaves.

Apply the fertilizer to the plant or preferably to the soil for easier absorption. 

Temperature Stress

The best temperature for cyclamen is a cool temperature and this is already an advantage for them because they are a houseplant, far from direct heat.

However, when placed near a window without curtains or near appliances that generate much heat, it can give the cyclamen temperature stress, causing it to curl its leaves and dry.

How to Fix

The perfect temperature for cyclamen plants is 57.2°F (14°C) . Always keep them in the temperature around the referred range.

Another way is to always consider the place where you keep your cyclamen.

When placing them into the window, make sure that they are not exposed to direct heat by hanging a fine curtain between the window and the cyclamen.

Root Rot from Overwatering

Proper watering your cyclamen is the main requirement for it to stay alive and healthy.

However, overwatering can cause damage to your plants. Root rot commonly came from containers that lack sufficient drainage holes.

Because of this, excess water is stuck in the soil, which causes stunted growth and curling leaves.

Here are the symptoms that you have to observe to know whether you’re overwatering your beautiful indoor plant:

  • The roots of your cyclamen become inactive and the plant itself starts to wilt.
  • When the leaves begin to curl or turn yellowish.

Neglecting these symptoms may cause for your cyclamen leaves to fall off; or worse, your plant as a whole, to potentially die.

How to Fix

Stop watering your cyclamen! It’s the easiest and most common solution. Make sure that the pot has big enough holes for the excess water to drain out.

If your cyclamen is small, you can remove it from the pot, uncover the roots and soil-ball by exposing them to the air, and drying them.

Otherwise, as you remove it from the pot, get a paper with the ability to absorb water, and wrap it around the roots and soil-ball, this will eventually dry off the excess water.

Make sure to trim off the infected roots and disinfect them with charcoal or potassium permanganate. 

After removing the excess water, make sure to clean the pot and check if there’s functioning drainage holes before you place the cyclamen back.

When your cyclamen starts to appear sturdy again, keep it in the shade.

Water Quality

Water helps the plant to make its own food, to stay healthy, and to stay alive.

That’s why it’s important to consider the quality of water that you feed your cyclamen.

Water contains different substances, some can give a healthier life for the plant, and some can worsen the plant’s health. 

Some factors of water that affect the nourishment of your cyclamen are chlorine and salt. These things at a different amount are in a different type of water.

If you’re living in a town, chances are, your water comes from water companies who add chlorine to eliminate possible diseases and germs, this is what we call tap water. 

Tap water usually contains chlorine and immoderate salt. Although, this can benefit us, but it can harm our cyclamen.

Chlorine kills beneficial microbes in the soil, though the cyclamen can survive. 

It can never thrive when it’s regularly affected by chlorine water causing it to lose its sturdiness and potentially curl.

On the other hand, excessive salt causes a salt burn, it gives dryness to the plant and distorted leaves.

How to Fix

As much as possible, use rainwater for your plant and when feeding it with tap water make sure to distill it first to soften the water.

It will help eliminate excess salt and chlorine. The best way is to collect rainwater and use it for the cyclamen.

Too Much Or Too Little Light Exposure

The light requirement is as important as water. Light works a big part in photosynthesis, growth, and sustainability.

Without proper light exposure, your cyclamen can either fail to grow, look sick, leaves drop off, leaves curling down, or to die as a whole. 

Like water, light exposure is a bit complex, you have to give your cyclamen a regular amount—not less and not more.

How to Fix

Give it the exact amount for it to avoid curling. Some factors that affect light exposure are the: location, north/ east/ west/ and south-facing windows.

Giving your cyclamen too much exposure can cause drying for the plant however less exposure than needed gives the plant a smaller growth.

When your cyclamen plant is receiving intense heat from the window, you can always use a sheer curtain to lessen the intensity of the heat protecting your plant from drying and other similar problems.

Always give your cyclamen the right amount of light exposure duration. Do not expose them too long especially if you see signs that it is slowly drying and curling.

Cyclamen Diseases

Like other house plants, cyclamen also prune to different diseases. For example, Fusarium Wilt, root rot, Bacterial Soft Rot are the common diseases.

These diseases may cause the cyclamen to be misshapen, twisted, deformed, and can cause yellow or brown markings.

How to Fix

The best way to resolve this is to cut and eliminate all the infected areas, control the aphid and thrips.

You need to make sure that everything is cleansed to stop disseminate viruses. Also, keep your cyclamen in a well-ventilated place and water properly.

Low Humidity

As of now, it’s been proven that cyclamen is a bit temperamental. Cyclamen plants love cold temperatures that are also why they are an indoor plant. Thus, low humidity causes a big problem for your cyclamen too. 

Cyclamen loves a moist environment and would probably suffer if it lacks it.

Cyclamen are easy to dry and curl under when not moisturized enough, it should always be at a high or at least an average amount of humidity.

How to Fix

Your cyclamen is an indoor plant so mostly they are just sitting beside the window or the coffee table, far from too much heat and that’s great!

However, you also need to consider using a humidifier or constantly misting your cyclamen.

Another easy way is to use the pebble tray method. If you group the indoor plants together it will help increase the humidity. 

Soil Type

Soil type is also important in taking care of your cyclamen. It’s crucial to check the drainage capacity, moisture absorption, and aeration of the soil. 

If your soil type doesn’t have these characteristics then chances are the roots will not get enough nutrients.

The soil might collect excess water, and there will not be adequate space for air. All these can cause curling, wilting, or death for the entire cyclamen.

How to Fix

The best solution for this is to use a mixture that absorbs moisture well, resists compaction, has a good drainage capacity, and allows aeration for the nutrients to reach the roots.

AND BY THIS, I’m talking about a potting mix that is usually composed of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite.

Pot Size

Cyclamen plants don’t need a lot of space so never mistake putting them in a bigger pot than expected, or else this will cause an uncompacted soil and unhealthy growth.

Small pots inhibit roots from spreading, so it becomes root bound. Then it can not function properly.

Nutrients can not flow from roots to leaves, so your cyclamen leaves can show curling symptoms. 

How to Fix

Since the cyclamen plant is not spacious, put them in a small or regular size of pot. It preferably depends on the age of the flower.

The diameter of up to 8cm (3 inches) is for flowers with an age of 1-1.5 years. However, a diameter of up to 15cm is for the flowers with an age of about 3 years.

How to Prevent Cyclamen Leaves Curling

  • Always make sure to water your cyclamen properly.
  • Make sure that the temperature is about 60° F (15.5° C)
  • Keep you cyclamen where it can get air circulation and lots of Indirect sunlight
  • Water you cyclamen with room temperature and filtered water.
  • Do not over/underwater the cyclamen
  • Use insecticides against pests
  • Maintain the desired humidity level
  • Use a proper size pot.


How do you revive an overwatered cyclamen?

You can revive your cyclamen by discontinuing watering it for a while. Also, you can remove it from its pot and expose it to the air to drain the excess water well.

Then check the root if it has got root rots. Then make sure to repot using a new soil mix with proper drainage capacity.

Why are my Cyclamen leaves turning yellow?

The cyclamen may turn to a yellowish color by two means. It could be because it’s near the summer’s dormancy period, which is normal.

Thus, it could also mean that your cyclamen is having a problem regarding infestation, temperature, light exposure, etc.

Can a Cyclamen survive without leaves?

When cyclamen goes into its dormancy state, it usually looks dead and loses some of its leaves. However, this doesn’t mean that the plant is dead. This is a normal period for its dormancy state.

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