The genus Kalanchoe includes more than 100 plants, but only a few are regularly seen in cultivation. Kalanchoes are native to arid areas, and they are popular succulents. Modern hybrids are valued for their interesting leaf-forms or their flowers.
Flowering Kalanchoes are available in red, pink, yellow, or white. Like many succulents, these are not difficult plants to grow, providing you are careful with the water, especially in the winter.
Light: They prefer bright, sunny locations, especially in the summer growing season. During the winter, consider a south-facing window.
Water: Water moderately throughout the summer and reduce watering in the winter. Let the soil surface dry out between waterings, and in the winter, the plant can almost dry out. Watch the fleshy leaves for signs of water distress.
Temperature: They prefer warmth. Do not let fall below 55ºF (12.7ºC).
Soil: Well-drained, light soil, one suitable for succulents.
Fertilizer: Feed bi-weekly in the summer with a liquid fertilizer, or use slow-release pellets.
Kalanchoe care is minimal, but be cautious about light levels. Intense southern light can burn the tips of the leaves. Place pots in partial sun to light shade areas when growing Kalanchoe plants.
The flowering varieties (K. blossfeldiana) are highly rewarding for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. Many people discard the plants after the bloom is over, but this isn't necessary. Simply cut off the flowering head, let the plant rest with reduced water, and resume its regular care. It should flower naturally in spring. Professional growers force Kalanchoes to bloom throughout the year (they are a short-day plant). The two pendant Kalanchoes make excellent hanging plants.
These small plants native to Madagascar require repotting every few years. 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. Keep the plant on the dry side for active growth and continuous bloom.
Many kinds of Kalanchoe will produce tiny plantlets along the leaf margins that can be individually potted up. These types include The Air Plant (K. pinnata) and K. beharensis. The more popular K. blossfeldiana and K. manginii can be propagated by leaf cutting or tip.
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