Kalanchoe synsepala Baker
Cup Kalanchoe, Walking Kalanchoe
Kalanchoe brachycalyx, Kalanchoe gentyi, Kalanchoe trichantha
This species is native to Madagascar. It occurs in the central and southern parts of the island, growing in rocky, sunny places.
Kalanchoe synsepala is an attractive succulent with thick fleshy grey-green leaves with pink-purple margins. It grows up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall and is very variable in size and shape. Leaves are orbicular with a rounded tip, up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) wide. Margins are entire or with rigid teeth or sometimes dissected. Flowers are small, tubularly 4-angled, pale pink to reddish, and usually appear in 2 opposite, very dense corymbose cymes in mid-fall. The plant produces baby plants at the ends of long stems, which eventually bend down to the ground and take root, hence its common name.
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 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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