How to Identify and Care for a Kalanchoe Plant

I don’t have the best track record of plant care and I would really like to save the plant in the attached photos as it seems that I may have done something wrong (over watered? too much sun?) I don’t know what it is or its needs. Can you please help? I would be extremely grateful for any advice.

Hi Naomi,

Your plant looks like a Kalanchoe calandiva. Kalanchoe houseplants need bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. and enjoy direct sun during the fall, winter, and spring. Direct sun in the summer is too intense and burns the Kalanchoe leaves. The blooms on Kalanchoe Plants are photo-periodically induced. As the days get shorter and Kalanchoes experience longer periods of darkness, they produce more flowers. Kalanchoes are Succulent PlantsLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." with plump leaves that store water for long periods of time. They are easily over-watered which causes root-rot. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry-out before watering. If the soil of a Kalanchoe is exceptionally dry, sit the plant in a deep saucer filled with water for about ten minutes. This not only prevents over-watering but also prevents water from dripping on Kalanchoe  leaves and causing plant diseases such as leaf spot or powdery mildewPowdery mildew is a plant disease that puts a grayish white powder on plant leaves and stems. View a picture of this plant disease and learn how to treat it.. Remove the dead flowers at the base of their stem to encourage new flowers to develop. You can read all my care tips for kalanchoes in the Popular Houseplant section of the website. The picture is of a slightly different variety, but the care is the same.

All varieties of kalanchoes contain cardiac glycosides and are toxic to animals. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to poisonous houseplantsIn her new book, Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat!, plant care professional Judy Feldstein shares information about twenty-five common houseplants, each with various levels of toxicity, and the possible consequences if your pet or child snacks on them..