The Kalanchoe plant, an easy to grow winter blooming houseplant increasingly popular as a Christmas plant blooming when many other plants rest.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, a small thick leaved succulent grows about 12 inches tall. This delightful member of the Crassula family like the Jade plant is suited to growing indoors.
The attractive flower panicle, a cluster of many, small, tiny bright oranges, yellow, red, pinks and white flowers sits attractively above the plant’s leaves. New shoots appear regularly throughout the winter months providing a continuous display.
Kalanchoe’s grow as potted plants but also do well in outdoor areas that mimic their native land of Madagascar.
How To Care For Kalanchoe Care
The plant grows well outdoors in USDA zones 8-10 during the summer months. The low-maintenance Kalanchoe thrive in the low humidity of winter households. For strong and healthy plants, use the following care tips.
Soil For Kalanchoe
The Kalanchoes do very well in a well-drain soil designed for succulents and cacti. For good soil drainage, mix in plenty of sand or perlite with some peat moss.
Kalanchoe Light Requirements
The hardy Kalanchoe tolerates various lighting but enjoys bright light resting on a windowsill. Keep the plant away from direct sunlight especially during summer. A thin and leggy plant indicates the plant is not receiving enough light.
Watering & Feeding The Kalanchoe
Over-watering will cause stunted growth and is also one of the leading killers of the Kalanchoe plant. Allow plant’s too dry between watering. Water thoroughly until water runs out the bottom and empty the drainage tray. Never allow the plant to sit in water.
Plants do not require constant feeding. However, during the period of new growth feed the plant using half or quarter strength balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks.
Temperature & Humidity Requirements
Kalanchoe’s will do well in temperature ranging from 50-72 degrees F. They still do well if exposed to temperatures outside of these ranges, but avoid frost. The Kalanchoe will do well at normal indoor room humidity and plants do not need misting.
Summer Care – Plants can grow outdoors during the summer. Select a spot sheltered from rain.
These small plants native to Madagascar require repotting every few years. Repot kalanchoe during spring in a well-drained, light soil, one suitable for cacti.
On top of an inch of broken crock or charcoal to provide the best of drainage, use a soil made of equal parts coarse sand a good potting soil or compost.
When re-potting, take additional care in handling as the leaves are somewhat brittle and can snap easily. Clay pots work exceptionally well for planting kalanchoes. Ensure pots can drain well, and saucers can empty easily.
After planting, water thoroughly to settle the soil and fill air pockets. Thereafter keep the plant on the dry side for active growth and continuous bloom.
- The best Kalanchoe plants grow easily from cuttings, with stems rooting very quickly.
- Take 2 to 3-inch cuttings, strip off the bottom leaves and allows them to sit in a warm, dry location to form a callus.
- Plant cuttings in pre-moistened a 50/50 perlite, peat moss mix up to the first leaf
- Place the entire starting pot inside a plastic cover forming a little terrarium to conserve moisture
- Place the pot in a bright window, but away from direct sunlight
- Roots should develop after 14 to 21 days and ready for transplanting.
- Also, many varieties of Kalanchoe develop tiny plantlets along the leaf margins which be individually potted
- Plants can also start from leaves laid on the soil, these plants usually bloom more freely than seedlings.
Cleaning And Pruning Kalanchoe
Trim off any dead or wilted flowers at their stem. Depending on the variety, the plant may bloom thought-out the year at random times. Deadheading as needed helps in maintaining vigorous blooms.
To remove the dust and keep the plant looking sharp, wipe or gently spray the leaves.
Disease and Pests
Be on the lookout for common household pests such as spider mites, aphids, and scale insects. In small-scale infestations, they can be wiped away with a wet cloth, but more extensive cases could require an eco-friendly pesticide.
Overwatering causes the powdery mildew disease. It is also important to keep good air circulation to prevent the Basal Stem Rot and Botrytis.
Forcing Bloom On The Flaming Katy
- Being a photoperiodic “short day” plant the length of daylight influences the blooming of Kalanchoes.
- Forcing bloom takes about 6 weeks.
- During this period, do not feed and give minimal water.
- Put plant in a box or a closet
- Keep covered 14 hours per day, then allow bright sunlight (not full sun)
- Continue until buds form
- Once buds form, move plant to sunny location, continue with care and resume watering
To prolong the flowering period, select a cooler location away from bright sunlight and strong heat.
Popular Kalanchoe Varieties
Kalanchoe Blossfldiana – is the most popular variety with large heads in a variety of shades
Kalanchoe Manginii – this variety bears large pendant flowers
Kalanchoe Porphyrocalyx – this variety also bears large pendant flowers and makes an excellent hanging plant
Kalanchoe Beherensis – popular for its large, velvety, donkey eared leaves that are silvery green
Kalanchoe Pinnata – Also known as mother of thousands. This variety has fleshy green leaves that bear tiny plantlets along the margins
Kalanchoe Laciniata – a taller variety suited to conservatory or a greenhouse, producing large flowers with different shades of yellow, scarlet and orange
Kalanchoe Flammea – does well in a cool green house. The blossoms are yellow in color.
Kalanchoe is considered toxic to cats and dogs. The America Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (ASPCA) advises pets owners to visit the animal clinic if their pets begin vomiting or diarrhea after consuming the plant.