Learning how to grow kalanchoe blossfeldiana is not as hard as you might think. This is one plant that really knows how to take care of itself, making it a great choice for many people who want low-maintenance plants. It can bloom for months on end without needing any special care. This is one reason it has become very popular and can now be found not only in red but also in orange, pink and yellow.
What Is Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana?
A beautiful perennial flowering succulent, kalanchoe blossfeldiana is also known as flaming Katy, Christmas kalanchoe, florist kalanchoe, and Madagascar widow’s-thrill.
This adorable succulent can bring an unexpected pop of color to any room or garden, with its teardrop-shaped pinkish-green leaves that are accented by creamier marble patterns.
One of several varieties of kalanchoe, it likes indirect light and provides a beautiful pop of color to your home. In Scandinavia, the Kalanchoe is known as “spring fire” because the plant, with its tiny red flowers, was only sold in the spring. Later it was also sold in the fall and was given the name “autumn glow.”
In those days Kalanchoe was always the color of glowing embers but now there are varieties with coral-red, yellow, orange, pink, lilac, and purple flowers. These color forms are the results of hybridizing K. blossfeldiana with other species.
The plants are normally much taller than those bought in stores, which have been treated with a growth inhibitor to keep them from getting too straggly.
If you have cats, keep these plants in a place where cats can’t get to them, because kalanchoe is poisonous to cats.
How To Grow Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana
To ensure success in growing your Christmas Kalanchoe, be sure to start with a 4 or 6 inch pot that has plenty of drainage holes at the bottom.
The potting soil should contain enough moisture retention materials such as peat moss, compost, and vermiculite so that it drains easily while still supplying sufficient water to the roots. Two tablespoons of granular fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 should be applied every two weeks until blooms start to appear.
Only a little water
Kalanchoe is a bright spot of color for several months without needing any special care. As with other succulent plants, this plant doesn’t require frequent watering: once a week is usually sufficient for outdoor plants and about once every two weeks for those kept indoors. Make sure not to overwater as this can cause root rot and destroy the plant’s growth cycle altogether.
Pruning off dead stems helps encourage more blooms and promotes growth. With just a bit of maintenance, you can enjoy the beauty of these unique plants for months on end!
Long nights and short days
Kalanchoe can be bought in bloom at any time of year. This is because it is a short-day plant that can be forced into bloom at any time of year if kept in darkness for 16 hours a day for three months.
Easy to Care For
Like most succulents, flaming Katy is easy to care for. When looking for a unique, low-maintenance plant to brighten up your home, consider growing it. It’s an easy-care succulent that is ideal for beginners due to its forgiving nature when it comes to watering and sun exposure.
Christmas Kalanchoe does best in temperatures between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit and can tolerate full sun or partial shade.
While kalanchoe needs lots of sunshine, it shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight all day long because too much bright light can burn its leaves. Make sure to protect it from the harsh afternoon sun. The succulent foliage is beautiful to look at and at bloom time, the pink flowers or red flowers that burst from the top, giving it the nickname “coral top” will truly brighten your day.
Good balcony plant
Plant Kalanchoe in a window or balcony box and it will grow well in the sun and fresh air, as long as it isn’t put out too early in the spring when the nights are still cold. It does not like temperatures under 60°F. In strong sunshine, the thick leaves will take on an attractive reddish sheen.
Short day plant
Kalanchoe will initiate flower buds only if it is kept in complete darkness for much of the day. It needs at least 16 hours of darkness and a temperature in the mid-70s in the day and around 60°F at night for a period of about 3 months to produce buds. It will then bloom after just a few weeks. If the temperature is too low it will take longer. When propagating Kalanchoe from cuttings even the tiniest plant will flower if given this short-day treatment.
Propagating your coral top
In commercial greenhouses, Kalanchoe is propagated from seed, which produces a range of flower colors in the seedlings. To retain the same color as the parent, they must be grown from cuttings.
Propagate Kalanchoe from any type of cuttings – tip shoots, side shoots, stem cuttings, or leaf cuttings – but tip shoots are easiest. They should be about 2 inches long. Remove the lowest pair of leaves, put them in damp peat and keep the temperature around 70°F.
They will root after about 2 weeks. If the plant is to be bushy, the tips must be regularly pinched out. These home-grown plants will not be as compact as purchased plants that have been treated with growth inhibitors.
Kalanchoe Pests And Diseases
Here are some problems you may face while growing kalanchoe and how to diagnose and treat them.
Cork formation on the leaves is a sign that the plant is too cold.
The stems may collapse from crown rot, caused by overwatering. Water less frequently, and badly affected plants should be discarded.
Pale flowers are due to not enough light.
Aphids should be washed away with warm soapy water.
Kalanchoe can usually bloom for months. It is a typical throw-away plant that many discard after flowering but can be kept in an attempt to get it to bloom again by giving it a short-day treatment.
Can you grow a kalanchoe from seeds?
Yes. You can grow from seeds, but if you wish to get the same color, it’s best to propagate from stem cuttings or offshoots.
Where does kalanchoe grow best?
In indirect light and properly draining soil.
What kind of pot should I use for my kalanchoe?
A succulent pot with drainage holes is the best type of pot for this plant.
Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project.