Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) are beautiful flowering houseplants that are in full bloom during the winter holiday season. After the holidays, when the blooms fade, many people throw away their kalanchoe plants, but this perennial plant is actually evergreen and will continue to bloom year after year. Since Kalanchoe is a short-day plant, there are several strategies required to get it to bloom. You will need to keep it in the dark for one month for it to bloom again. But it’s so worth it when you finally get your Kalanchoe to bloom the following winter! Be aware that Kalanchoe is toxic to pets and humans. Here are tips on how to care for your Kalanchoe plant.
Tips on How to Take Care of Your Kalanchoe
1. Your Kalanchoe is Happiest in Full, Direct Sun
When kept as an indoor plant, Kalanchoe needs a sunny location. It will happily grow in an east-facing window, south-facing window, or west-facing window. If you keep your Kalanchoe outdoors in the summer, you need to provide some shade- dappled shade is good.
2. Moderate Water is Best for Your Kalanchoe
Your Kalanchoe has moderate water requirements. It is a succulent so it stores water in its leaves. It’s best to underwater than to overwater. Water your Kalanchoe when the soil feels dry. The best way to tell when it is time to water your Kalanchoe is to feel the soil. Stick your finger in the soil 1 inch deep. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your Kalanchoe.
3. Get the Soil Right for Your Kalanchoe
Your Kalanchoe needs a well-draining, organic all-purpose potting mix.
4. Fertilize Your Kalanchoe
Fertilize your Kalanchoe once a month during the growing season. Don’t fertilize it in the winter.
5. Don’t forget to Repot Your Kalanchoe
Repot your Kalanchoe when it starts to outgrow its current pot. When you repot your Kalanchoe, move it to a container that is 2 inches in diameter larger than the current pot.
6. Drainage is Essential for Your Kalanchoe
Good drainage is important, you don’t want your Kalanchoe to sit in soggy soil. Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. After watering your Kalanchoe and you see water draining out of the pot’s drainage holes, make sure you empty out the accumulated water in the saucer. Don’t let your Kalanchoe’s pot sit in this puddle of water. It will cause root rot!
7. Get the Temperature Right for Your Kalanchoe
Your Kalanchoe needs to have a daytime temperature of 75F to 85 Fahrenheit (24-30C). The nighttime temperature should be at 65-75 Fahrenheit (18-24 C).
In the winter, keep the daytime and nighttime temperatures at 60 to 70 Fahrenheit (15-21 C). If you want to encourage flower buds, you should keep your Kalanchoe outdoors in the Fall with temperatures of 55 to 65 Fahrenheit (13- 18 C).
8. Your Kalanchoe Does Not Need Extra Humidity
Your Kalanchoe is a houseplant that can tolerate regular indoor air. It does not need supplemental misting or added humidity on top of its regular watering.
9. It’s Tricky to Get Your Kalanchoe to Flower
Your Kalanchoe needs 3 things for it to flower. It needs a light treatment, a cold treatment, and a dark treatment.
Light Treatment: This is probably the easiest step. In the summer, leave your Kalanchoe outdoors.
Cold Treatment: In the Fall, leave your Kalanchoe outdoors. This should satisfy its cold treatment requirements. Make sure to bring your Kalanchoe back indoors before temperatures drop to below 40 F (4 C).
Dark Treatment: This is probably the most difficult step. Your Kalanchoe needs 14 hours of darkness for 30 days. That means no artificial light at night. Keep it covered under a cardboard box. It’s a little tricky but very rewarding to get your kalanchoe to flower!
3 Common Kalanchoe Problems
The common problems for Kalanchoe are stem rot, spider mites, and failure to flower.
The Stem of Your Kalanchoe has Turned Brown and Mushy
Problem: The stem of your Kalanchoe has turned brown and mushy.
Cause: When the stem of your Kalanchoe turns brown and mushy, this could be fungus causing the stem to rot. Stem rot is caused by overwatering or poor drainage. Stem Rot is a serious and often fatal problem. Fungus is spread in the overly wet soil.
Solution: You can try to save your plant by removing the infected parts of the plant. Move the plant out of the potting soil and throw away the old soil. Replant it in a new pot in new soil. Make sure you sterilize the tools that you use so you don’t contaminate the new pot and potting mix. The chances of plant survival is slim once your plant is afflicted with stem rot. It’s best to start over with a new Kalanchoe. This time learn from your mistake and don’t overwater your Kalanchoe and make sure you have good drainage in the pot.
There are Yellow and Brown Spots with Spider-Like Webs on the Leaves and Stems of Your Kalanchoe
Problem: There are yellow and brown spots on the leaves of your Kalanchoe. You also see spider web-like webbing on the leaves and stems.
Cause: The spider webbing and yellow and brown spots are signs of spider mites attacking your Kalanchoe. Spider mites are tiny pests that are too small to see with your bare eyes. Solution: To treat spider mites on your Kalanchoe, spray off the leaves with water from a garden hose. The force will cause the little spider mites to wash off the leaves. You can also wash mites off with soapy water or rubbing alcohol. There are also horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps that you can use to kill off spider mites.
Your Kalanchoe did not Flower
Problem: Your Kalanchoe did not flower.
Cause: One reason why your Kalanchoe did not flower as expected is that it was not exposed to sufficient cold temperature.
|Scientific Name||Kalanchoe blossfeldiana|
|Light||Full, Direct Sun|
|Daytime Temperature||75 to 85 F (24-30C)|
|Night Time Temperature||65 to 75F (18-24C)|
|Humidity||Tolerates Regular Indoor Air|
|Potting||Well-draining, organic, all-purpose potting mix|
|Fertilizer||Fertilize once a month|
|Toxic to Pets and Humans||Toxic|
Kalanchoe: Frequently Asked Questions
What are Other Names of Kalanchoe?
Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is also called Madagascar window’s-thrill, Florist Kalanchoe, Flaming Katy, and Christmas Kalanchoe.
Is Your Kalanchoe Toxic to Pets?
Kalanchoe Plants are toxic to humans and pets. Don’t let children or pets chew on the leaves of the Kalanchoe plant or even drink the water in the vase of the flowers because it contains cardiac glycosides. Cardiac glycosides can cause vomiting, nausea, abnormal heart rhythms, drooling, tremors, dilated pupils, and fatally high levels of potassium. It affects the heart muscle. If you see any of these symptoms and suspect ingestion of Kalanchoe plants, call poison control immediately! Also, call your doctor or vet once you start seeing adverse reactions in children and pets.
How Can You Tell When It’s Time to Water Your Kalanchoe?
Water your Kalanchoe when the soil feels dry. The best way to tell when it’s time to water is by sticking your finger into the soil. Stick your finger in the soil 1 inch deep. If the soil feels dry, then it’s time to water your Kalanchoe. Remember, your Kalanchoe is a succulent so it’s best to underwater than to overwater.
Can You Use Cold Water When Watering Your Kalanchoe?
Kalanchoe can be watered with tap water but be mindful of the water temperature that you are using to water your Kalanchoe. Don’t use straight cold water from the tap to water your Kalanchoe.
Kalanchoe prefers cool water that is not hot and not cold. When you turn on the cold water from the faucet add a little bit of warm water. You can also get to this ideal temperature by filling a watering can or pitcher with water and leaving it out overnight until the water is at room temperature.
What Fertilizer Should You Use for Your Kalanchoe?
Use a balanced organic fertilizer on your Kalanchoe.
How Big Does Your Kalanchoe Get?
Your Kalanchoe is a small houseplant that can grow 6-18 inches tall.
How Do You Propagate Your Kalanchoe?
Kalanchoe Plant is easy to propagate. You can propagate your Kalanchoe plant by stem tip cutting.
Below are steps on how to propagate Kalanchoe Plant by stem tip cutting:
1. Take a Stem Tip Cutting of Kalanchoe Plant (include a node)
Pick a stem with a node. Cut below the node.
2. Place Kalanchoe Stem in Jar of Water
Place the Kalanchoe stem into a jar of water and wait for it to grow roots. To help it focus its energy on growing roots, make sure your stem has a maximum of 2 leaves. Cut off extra leaves as needed.
Another way to stimulate root growth is to dip your stem cutting in root hormone and plant it in moist sand. I personally prefer the jar method so you can easily see the roots come out. Know that not all stem cuttings of Kalanchoe will grow roots, so to be safe, cut a few stem cuttings so you will at least get one with roots.
3. Plant Stem Cutting in New Pot
Once the roots grow, plant these stem cuttings into a new pot. Water the new plant immediately after planting. Then water every 2-3 days until the roots are established.
4. Place New Kalanchoe Plant in a Spot with Bright Indirect Sun
Place your new Kalanchoe plant in a spot with bright indirect sunlight. Don’t put it in direct sunlight.
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