The kalanchoe plant is a succulent that is commonly grown around the holidays. Unlike most winter-blooming plants, it has blooms that are red, pink, white, or yellow in color. The foliage is large and glossy while the flowers are small. This plant is hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11, but it can be grown indoors in any zone. Also, if you have pets, kalanchoe is toxic. Let’s take a look at some of the growing needs of this plant.
This is a plant that requires a moderate amount of water to survive, but it will need even less during the winter months. Ideally, you should allow the soil to become somewhat dry before adding more water to the plant. In fact, during the winter months, it should be dry to the touch before it is watered. This is a plant that will be fine if you consider watering it every two weeks.
Kalanchoes prefer to receive natural sunlight that is relatively bright; however, it will not typically do well in direct sunlight. This is because too much sunlight will cause the leaves to burn, especially the afternoon sun. During the growing season, full sunlight will help it grow, but make sure that you give it morning sun. It will grow well with light from a south-facing window.
Some plants will not grow in harsh temperatures, but since this is a succulent, it will do best in warmer temperatures. I have found that the warmer the weather is, the fuller the blooms on the plant tend to be. That being said, this is also a plant that does not like the bitter cold. If you live in an area where the temperature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s likely that kalanchoe plants will not do well outside.
Soil and Fertilizer
When you plant one of these lovely succulents, you can choose to use regular potting soil that you can get from any gardening center, but I prefer to combine this soil with a succulent or a cactus mix because it works well with this type of plant. The soil needs to be well-drained so that the plant does not get overly wet and get root rot. When it comes to fertilizer, this is a plant that will do well with a little bit of compost in the spring. A slow-release fertilizer will work well in the summer months during the growth period. In fact, you can even decide to use a liquid fertilizer every other week.
Propagating the Plant
When you need to propagate this plant, you can start the new plant with seeds, division, or a stem cutting. Seeds can take a bit of time to take root, so it’s not commonly used with many gardeners. Divisions can be done when you have a plant that is getting too large for its pot. Instead of transplanting it, you can divide the plant into two.
If you decide to use cuttings, then cut a section that is about four to five inches in length. Remove the leaves, place it in water, and in about three weeks, the cutting should begin taking root. Make sure to mist the plant as it grows. Regardless of the method that you use, propagation should be done in the spring or the summer of the year.
Will My Kalanchoe Reflower?
The flowers on a Kalanchoe will last for about 8 weeks, but you can try the tips below to get your Kalanchoe to flower again.
- In the Summer keep your plant outside.
- In the Fall bring indoors as the outside temperature begins to fall.
- When indoors place in a cool and bright location throughout the day.
- Stop feeding your Kalanchoe plant and water less often
- Each night your plant will need 14 hours of pure darkness for at least a month for your plant to reflower.
- TIP: Place your Kalanchoe plant in a closet so that it can be in pure darkness away from artificial light.
- 8 weeks later you can resume feeding and watering more often when you start to see flower buds forming