Kalanchoe nyikae Engl.
Kalanchoe nyikae is a succulent plant with stems that bear brownish-green or glaucous leaves covered with a frostlike bloom. The stems are erect, sometimes decumbent at the base, and can grow up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall. The fleshy leaves are smooth and have a paler underside. They are up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long, up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) wide, and attached to the stem by up to 4 inches (10 cm) long petioles. The basal leaves are ovate to suborbicular, while the upper leaves are lance-shaped.
During the spring, the plant produces many-flowered paniculate cymes. The flowers are erect, with a green calyx, a greenish corolla tube, and four petals that are cream outside and cream, yellow, pink, or salmon-pink inside.
The specific epithet "nyikae (NYEE-kay)" is derived from the Swahili word "nyika" meaning "bush" or "hinterland (of the East African coast)" and refers to the native habitat of the species.
How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe nyikae
Light: Kalanchoe nyikae grows best in full sun but usually appreciates some partial shade during the hot summer days. When growing indoors, place it near a window with indirect sunlight. If it does not receive enough light, it may stretch.
Soil: The plant needs soil that drains well and does not like "wet feet." A commercial potting mix for succulents will work well.
Temperature: Kalanchoe nyikae thrives in heat and humidity but cannot handle frosts. It grows best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b to 11b, with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C).
Watering: From spring to fall, water the plant thoroughly, but let the soil dry between watering as overwatering may cause stem rot. Reduce water during winter and only water enough to prevent the leaves from shriveling.
Fertilizing: Fertilize occasionally during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half or quarter strength applied every two weeks.
Repotting: The plant thrives better when frequently repotted. For optimum growth, repot it every two years in spring. Go up one pot size every time you repot.
Propagation: Kalanchoe nyikae is easy to propagate by seeds, offsets, or leaf and stem cuttings. Spring is the best time to take cuttings and separate offsets. Sow the seeds in spring or summer.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe.
Toxicity of Kalanchoe nyikae
Kalanchoe nyikae is not toxic to people but should be kept away from pets because it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and heart arrhythmias if consumed.
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