Kalanchoe prolifera (Bow.) R.-Hamet
Blooming Boxes, Flaming Katie, Jurassic Kale, Palm Beach Bells
Kalanchoe prolifera is an interesting fast-growing succulent with usually unbranched stems and pinnately compound leaves. It grows up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall. Leaves are green with reddish-purple petioles and leaf margins when grown in bright light. As the leaves drop, the stem has interesting leaf scars. After several years, when the plant is mature, the stems are topped with up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall panicle of greenish-orange flowers in late winter. The green calyces of the flower are box-shaped and nearly hide the pale orange petals. The plant declines after flowering, but many new plantlets form in the inflorescence, and the main plant will often sucker up with a new stem, so a colony is easy to establish.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
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 Kalanchoes.
The flowering varieties are highly rewarding for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. 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. Don't let fall below 55 ºF (13 ºC). An ordinary potting soil mix is fine. Feed bi-weekly in the summer 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. See more at How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe.
Kalanchoe prolifera is native to Madagascar.
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