At one time, a kalanchoe plant was only sold as a flowering Christmas plant. Today kalanchoe plants are sold in bloom throughout the year and are one of our most popular indoor, flowering houseplants. A kalanchoe plant, native to Madagascar, is a member of the Crassulaceae family and a close relative of the jade plant. This is an easy-care, succulent plant that grows extremely well in a bright spot in your home. Be sure to keep the temperature above 50° and be careful not to over water. Repot once the plant has finished flowering and has rested for about a month.
Kalanchoe Plant Description
The kalanchoe “blossfeldiana” is the most frequently sold variety. This is a short, bushy, upright plant, about 12” to 18” inches tall and 6” to 20” wide , with thick, oval-shaped, scalloped leaves. The long-lasting, star-like blooms on a kalanchoe blossfeldiana appear in clusters at the ends of sturdy stems throughout the year. The vibrant colored flowers come in red, orange, yellow, lavender, white, and pink. Some new varieties even have bi-colored flowers. The kalanchoe “mangginii” has fleshy, rounded leaves, and produces large, bell-shaped flowers in bright red and reddish/orange during the spring. The leaves of both varieties turn red when the plant is in very bright 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.. Best of all, the blooms on kalanchoe plants may last up to 8 weeks. If you are quick to deadhead the plant (pinch off dead flowers), you’ll encourage the plant to bloom more often and produce a greater number of flowers.
Kalanchoe Plant Varieties:
K. Pink Butterflies (K. Mother of Millions) has hundreds of bright pink baby plants along the leaf edges that fall off and root.
K. Calandiva is in a type of K.blossfeldiana but with larger and more beautiful flowers.
K. Albino has white scalloped leaves trimmed in pink
K. Paddle (flapjack paddle plant) has thick, leathery, paddle-shaped leaves. During the winter the leaves often turn bright red.
K. Panda has velvety, long, oblong leaves with brown decorative spots along the leaf edges.
K. Mangginii (Chandelier plant) has fleshy, rounded leaves, and produces large, bell-shaped flowers in bright red and reddish/orange during the spring.
K. Pink Butterflies K. Albino K. Paddle K. Panda K. Mangginii
A kalanchoe is a wonderful indoor plant to perk up your home during the long winter months. The shorter the days and the longer the nights, the more flowers a kalanchoe plant produces. Kalanchoes are also a perfect gift for someone who loves flowering plants but doesn’t have very much time to take care of it. Keep in mind, however, that all varieties of kalanchoe plants contain cardiac glycosides and are poisonous plants and must be kept away from small children, cats, dogs, and other pets. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.
Kalanchoes do very well outside as long as you keep them out of the direct sun and out of the rain. Be sure to bring them indoors before the weather starts to get cold and check for bugs!
It sounds like your kalanchoe may have a fungal infection. Fungal infections are usually caused by water dripping on the leaves or very high humidity. Remove the diseased leaves, keep water off the leaves, increase the air circulation around the plant, and move your kalanchoe to a less humid location.
The best way to prune a kalanchoe is to cut the stems back to aabout 4″ above the soil line. After you prune the plant, place it in bright indirect light. It should become full and bushy in a short time.
Absolutely not! Do not throw out your kalanchoe once the flowers die. With proper care, kalanchoes bloom on and off all year for many years.