Kalanchoe Grow and Care Guide
Kalanchoe belongs to the family Crassulaceae and is in a genus of 12 species of succulent flowering plants this garden beauty is native to Madagascar. Kalanchoes are available in a wide range of shapes, colors, and sizes, these plants are famous for their showy colorful bloom and their thick leather leaves.
What I love about kalanchoes is their ease of care as they bring that much-needed color pop to your indoor living space. Most kalanchoe species are perennial herbaceous plants, though some are shrubs and a few are annuals. For more on the care of this evergreen continue reading.
Kalanchoe planting location
Kalanchoe loves plenty of bright sunlight so ensure and locate an area that meets kalanchoe’s needs with this type of lighting.
Kalanchoe soil type
A well-drain soil that is 50 percent cactus mix 50 percent potting soil 40 percent perlite and about 60 percent peat moss is ideal.
Kalanchoe watering methods
The soil of your kalanchoe should dry out completely between watering and then water thoroughly again. This method of allowing the soil to dry out in between watering will prevent root rot. To check the soil’s moisture level stick your finger into the first top few inches of soil. If at this depth the soil is still moist check a few days later to ensure that the soil is dry and then water again thoroughly.
Kalanchoe fertilizing methods
During spring and summer fertilize your kalanchoe once a month with a balanced fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer contains the same amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for example 20-20-20. Before applying fertilizer read and follow the directions for best results.
Kalanchoe garden insect pests
The main pest problems of kalanchoes are aphids, scales, and mealybugs, there are several ways to bring control which include, dipping a piece of clean cloth in a solution of soapy water and rubbing alcohol, and wiping the leaves. Insecticidal soap has also proven to get the job done. Insecticidal soap can be purchased from your local nursery or garden center, before applying read and follow the direction for the best results.
- Gray mold
- Powdery mildew
- Phytophthora rot
Gray mold is caused by a fungus, this disease is encouraged by lack of ventilation, excessive moisture, and a lack of proper lighting. Signs of this disease show up as spots that are grey and moist on the aerial part of the plant. If this disease is allowed to persist the spots will enlarge turning into a pasty mass followed by the death of the plant.
Control measures include making conditions right for kalanchoe based on the above-mentioned followed by the use of a systemic fungicide. Before using read and follow the direction for the best results.
Powdery mildew is encouraged by a fungus, symptoms of this disease show up as white powdery spots on the plant leaves. This disease is caused by poor air circulation, high temperature, and dry air. If powdery mildew is allowed to persist the leaves will die, control this disease by providing the right conditions along with adequate water and applying a fungicide.
Phytophthora rot shows up as brown dead spots in the area of branching, poor ventilation, excessive water/fertilizer, and high temperature. Control this disease by changing the soil to fresh healthy soil along with applying a fungicide to the soil.
The best time to take a stem cutting from kalanchoe is the late spring or early summer, the cutting should be healthy. The stem should be 2 inches long and nonflowering with at least two leaves. The reason for using a nonflowering stem is so that the cutting can concentrate on growth rather than production.
Once the stem is removed place it in a dry area like a garden bench, the reason for this is that the cut end can callus (scar) before it can be planted.
Another method of propagation is by using a plantlet, this procedure involves removing or cutting the plantlet from the mother plant at the leaves connection point. Once the plantlet is removed allow it to callus before planting, a new plant will emerge from the callus plantlet.
Bufadiennolide is a chemical compound that’s found in the leaves and flowers of kalanchoe, this compound is toxic to dogs, cats, and livestock. So keep this plant away from your pets.
Kalanchoe temperature and humidity
Indoor temperatures anywhere from 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for kalanchoes to thrive, kalanchoes are not fussy when it comes to humidity or certain moisture levels.
How to prune a kalanchoe
When pruning kalanchoes ensure that your pruner is sterilized by soaking a piece of cloth in a solution of soapy water and bleach followed by wiping the blade. Pruning procedures involve the removal of spent or wilted flowers, overgrowth, or growth that’s not desirable. Make straight sharp cuts.
When making these cuts, cut close to the base of the plant, leaves that are damaged, yellowing, and browning can be removed at the stem. Plant cuttings that are removed should be properly disposed of.
How to make a kalanchoe rebloom
In order for your kalanchoe to rebloom reduce the amount of water, you give it, allow the kalanchoe a 14-hour period without daily light for 6 weeks before the desire bloom period. Move the plant to a closet or place it under a box for 14 hours and provide 10 hours of bright light, kept kalanchoe away from drafts but keep it warm.
Do not feed or water the plant for at least 6 weeks as it is dormant, once flower buds emerge place kalanchoe in an area with bright light and resume or continue watering. Once the spring arrives the plant can be fed, spent or faded flowers should be removed to encourage new buds.
The final word on kalanchoe plant care
Kalanchoes are popular succulents that are often seen at garden centers or florist shops and are mostly used as potted plants. The leaves and the flowers are unique and showy doing a lot to enhance your indoor living experience. You can’t go wrong with this garden beauty, it is worth your investment as this indoor beauty goes to work for you so give it a try and see for yourself as you give your indoor living space that color pop.