Kalanchoe hildebrandtii Baill.
Kalanchoe gomphophylla, Kalanchoe hildebrandtii var. glabra
This species is native to southern and southwestern Madagascar. It grows as a xerophytic shrub on various soils and rocks.
Kalanchoe hildebrandtii is a shrubby succulent with woody, erect, and highly branched stems that bear fleshy, glaucous to greenish leaves. It grows up to 16.4 feet (5 m) tall. The stems and leaves are densely covered with minute stellate hairs giving the plant a glabrous appearance. Leaves are ovate to roundish, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, and 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) wide, with a cylindrical, grooved, up to 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) long petiole. Flowers are urn-shaped, white, pale green to yellow, and appear in lax panicles in summer.
K. hildebrandtii is easily confused with Kalanchoe bracteata. They look similar, have the same ecological requirements, and sometimes occur in mixed groups in Madagascar. Their flowers distinguish them. The white, pale green to yellow flowers of K. hildebrandtii are not as attractive as the red ones of K. bracteata.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Kalanchoe care is minimal but be cautious about light levels. Intense sunlight can burn the tips of the leaves. Place pots in partial sun to light shade areas when growing Kalanchoes.
The flowering varieties are highly rewarding for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. They prefer bright, sunny locations, especially in the growing season. Water moderately from fall to winter when the growth is most active. Reduce watering during the hottest summer months when the plants are mostly dormant and winter when the growth slows down significantly. Let the soil surface dry out between waterings. Watch the fleshy leaves for signs of water distress. An ordinary potting soil mix is fine. Feed bi-weekly during the growing season with a liquid fertilizer, or use slow-release pellets.
These small plants require repotting every few years. When repotting, 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 quickly.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe.
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