Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers.
Air Plant, Cathedral Bells, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, Goethe Plant, Curtain Plant, Floppers, Good Luck Leaf, Mexican Love Plant, Mother in Law
Cotyledon pinnata, Bryophyllum calycinum, Bryophyllum pinnatum, Crassula pinnata
This species is certainly native to Madagascar.
Kalanchoe pinnata, also known as Bryophyllum pinnatum, is a shrub-like succulent plant with erect, hollow stems that bear scalloped green leaves streaked with purple and edged with orange-red. It grows up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall and 6.6 feet (2 m) tall when flowering. The oppositely arranged leaves are simple, becoming 3- to 5-pinnately compound as the plant matures. They are ovate to oblong, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide, and with up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long petiole. Flowers are tubular, pendent, green below, red to greenish-reddish above, and appear in large spreading panicles with opposite stout branches from winter to spring. A profusion of miniature plantlets forms on the margins of the leaves even when they have been detached from the plant.
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 easily.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe.
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