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Kalanchoe pinnata (Cathedral Bells)

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Scientific Name

Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers.

Common Names

Air Plant, Cathedral Bells, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, Goethe Plant, Curtain Plant, Floppers, Good Luck Leaf, Mexican Love Plant, Mother in Law

Synonyms

Cotyledon pinnata (basionym), Bryophyllum calycinum, Bryophyllum pinnatum, Crassula pinnata

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Tribe: Kalanchoeae
Genus: Kalanchoe

Description

Kalanchoe pinnata, also known as Bryophyllum pinnatum, is a succulent with erect stems that grow up to 5 feet (1.2 m) tall. The stems are hollow, fleshy, and dark green with scalloped leaves that are red along margins. Flowers are bell‐shaped, reddish-purple, pendent, and appear in large spreading panicles with opposite stout branches.

Photo via wikimedia.org

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Kalanchoes are not particularly hard to grow, and the flowering varieties are highly rewarding for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. Many people discard the plants after the bloom is over, but this isn't really necessary. Simply cut off the flowering head, let the plant rest with reduced water, and resume its normal 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. They prefer bright, sunny locations, especially in the summer growing season. During the winter, consider a south-facing window. 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. They prefer warmth. Do not let fall below 55ºF (12.7ºC). See more at How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe.

Origin

Native to Madagascar.

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