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Guide to Kalanchoe Plants: How to Grow & Care for Them

Read our guide to Kalanchoes for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for growing & caring for Kalanchoe Plants
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Are you a fan of houseplants? Bring some cheer into your home with a kalanchoe. This blooming plant is easy to care for, and they grow and bloom for many seasons, making them a popular indoor plant. Kalanchoes are readily available from your nurseries, big-box retailers, or gardening stores.

This succulent houseplant also goes under the monikers of flaming Katy or the florist kalanchoe. They are easy to find, and one of the more popular indoor house plants, thanks to the low maintenance requirements.

The kalanchoe comes in a variety of different colors. You can pick up a kalanchoe with orange, red, magenta, pink, or yellow flowers. Around the holidays, the kalanchoes you get at the nursery will be white.

With large, green, glossy leaves, the kalanchoe is an attractive and easy-going plant that’s ideal for your indoor garden.

Top Tips for Caring for Kalanchoes

Your kalanchoe will keep growing as long as you maintain enough nutrients and water to let it thrive. It’s not uncommon for these plants to last six or seven years, but they can get leggy in pots as they get older.

Size

The pot will give you an idea of the final height of the plant when it flowers. A kalanchoe potted in a 6-inch pot will reach around 12-inches in height. Kalanchoes are available in 2-inch and 4-inch pots as well. The 2-inch pots are ideal additions to dish gardens.

Red Kalanchoes growing in pots
Red Kalanchoes growing in pots

Exposure

The kalanchoe likes growing in a room in your home that gets plenty of bright, natural sunlight. These plants don’t like direct sunlight, and they might stunt growth if you leave them in the sun all day. Keep the plants away from contact with the windowpane, as the hot surface will burn the plant.

The more sunlight you give your kalanchoe, the brighter and more colorful the flowers. In low-light conditions, the flower buds will fail to open, and the leaves start to turn spindly. If you’re buying a kalanchoe for low-light rooms, make sure you get one that’s already flowering.

How Do I Water Kalanchoes?

The kalanchoe features fleshy leaves and stems, so they don’t need lots of water. Above all, the plants need good draining soil to prevent root rot from damaging the plant. You’ll know that you’re overwatering the plants when the foliage starts to swell.

We recommend you water the plant, and let it dry between waterings. Press your finger an inch into the soil in the pot, and check to see if the soil is dry. If it’s dry, you can water, but if it’s moist, give it another day. Kalanchoes don’t need much water to thrive, and overwatering is more of a problem than underwatering for this variety.

Depending on your climate conditions, you might only need to water your kalanchoe once every other week. These plants are incredibly drought-resistant, and hardy against warm weather conditions – provided you don’t keep them in the sun.

You might have to increase your watering schedule to once a week when the plant starts to flower. There’s no need to mist or spray the plants, but spraying once a year is an excellent way to clean the duct of your Kalanchoe.

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

What Temperatures Do Kalanchoes Enjoy?

Your kalanchoe will thrive in average room temperatures in your home. Kalanchoes prefer a stable climate, making the interior of your home the ideal growing conditions for your kalanchoe. You can grow these plants outdoors in the shade in regions of the US where night and daytime temperatures don’t fluctuate drastically.

States like Arizona, California, Texas, and the South-east provide excellent growing conditions for outdoor kalanchoes.

The general rule-of-thumb for growing kalanchoes in your home is to understand that the hotter the temperatures in your home, the quicker the blooming cycle of the plant. In warm homes, the flowers open quickly, but they fade just as fast.

One of our favorite varieties for growing indoors is the yellow kalandiva kalanchoe. This type comes with orange and apricot-tipped flowers that look beautiful in your home.

 Kalanchoe blossfeldiana plant with orange flowers
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana plant with orange flowers

How Do I Fertilize My Kalanchoe?

You won’t need to fertilize your kalanchoe plant. All you need to ensure optimal growth of the plant is a light top dressing for nutrients. We recommend you top dress the soil with compost and worm castings each spring. Top dress plants growing indoors and outdoors.

If you don’t have a top dress, then you can fertilize with an organic liquid fertilizer at half the recommended strength, once during the spring only. If you over-fertilize your plants, it can result in burning in the tips of the leaves.

Make sure that you don’t top-dress or fertilize the plant after the summer. The kalanchoe likes to enter a dormancy period during the wintertime. During dormancy, the plant recovers from the stress of the growing season, allowing it to return the following year.

Many newbies to the kalanchoe mistake this dormancy period for the plant dying, and they throw it away. Instead, water the plant one last time, and leave it in a darker room in your home until the spring. When spring rolls around, water the plant, and return it to bright indirect sunlight.

A small example
A small example

What are the Soil Requirements for Kalanchoe?

Kalanchoes like soil that drains well. If the roots of the plant end up in soggy soil for too long, it starts to cause the onset of root rot. Root rot will kill your plant, and you’ll have to throw it away. Therefore, always make sure you’re planting in soil that offers superior drainage.

We like using a blend of 1/2 cactus mix and succulent mix with 1/2 premium potting soil. You can also use a cactus and tasty mix with a bit of compost thrown in for good measure.

Potting soil is okay to use, but we find it waterlogs too easy, and we struggle to keep it dry between watering’s – that’s not good for avoiding root rot in the plant. When planting from a container into a larger container, we recommend that you mix in a handful of organic compost into the pot, along with some worm castings for extra nutrients.

What are the Pests and Diseases Affecting Kalanchoe?

Since you’re growing your kalanchoes indoors, they are unlikely to develop any diseases or pest infestations. However, if you’re growing them outdoors on the patio, you might experience some problems in the summertime.

Outdoor kalanchoes are subject to mealybug and aphid infestations, so make sure you keep your eyes open for signs of these pests. If you experience issues with pests, a light application of diluted neem oil will help to chase them away from your plants. Neem oil is available for sale online and at gardening outlets. It’s an inexpensive fix to keep your plants safe from bugs.

Kalanchoe Plants Kit, From Amazon

Is Kalanchoe Safe to Grow Around Pets?

The kalanchoe is toxic to both pets and people, but we doubt you’ll find any of your pets chewing on the leaves of your kalanchoe plants.

Pruning Your Kalanchoe

There are over 200-species of kalanchoe, and many starts to get “leggy” after a few years in a pot. To contain them in their container, you’ll have to prune away the flowers to keep them looking full.

How to Propagate Kalanchoe?

It’s possible to propagate your kalanchoes by using the seed, division, or cutting method. The seed method takes the longest time to produce results. The division method involves removing the plant from the pot and separating the roots by hand. Divide the plant using a sharp knife and repot the two separate plants into individual containers. A plant that’s around 3-years old should easily provide you with three or four divisions, producing three new plants from the main kalanchoe.

The stem cutting method is another successful way to propagate your kalanchoes. Take your cutting at a 45-degree angle, and make sure you have at least 4 to 5-inches on the stem. Heal over the cuttings for a week or so before planting them in your potting mix.

When the new kalanchoes are rooting, make sure you mist the foliage to help the plant absorb water. After planting the new cuttings, you should see roots appear after around 3-weeks.

It’s best to propagate your kalanchoes in the spring or summer. Make sure you avoid propagating your kalanchoe when it’s flowering.

Rosebud Pink Kalanchoe, From Amazon

When Do Kalanchoe Start Flowering?

The kalanchoe produces beautiful bunches of flowers throughout the flowering season. The plant starts to flower in the early spring or late fall, all you have to do to initiate flowering is cut back the stems and leave the foliage alone.

You can also force blooming by moving the plant from a darker area of your home to a room with brighter indirect sunlight. Kalanchoes start to bloom when they experience an equal light photoperiod.

In other words, leaving them in the light for 12-hours, and then placing them in a closet for 12-hours is an excellent way to initiate flowering. Repeat this cycle every day for a week, and you should notice that the kalanchoe moves into the flowering stage.

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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