Flowering kalanchoes are staples of the holiday and florist trade, with their cheery clusters of blooms on compact, upright plants sure to brighten your windowsill. Like poinsettias and holiday cactus, kalanchoes bloom in response to the length of daylight, so they can be encouraged to bloom even during the darkest days of winter.
Everyone pronounces it differently (and nobody knows exactly whoâ€™s right), but weâ€™ve all seen the colorful, happy flower clusters of Kalanchoe blossfeldana, or flowering Kalanchoe. A cousin to the Jade plant, flowering Kalanchoe is a fairly low-maintenance succulent house plant.
kalanchoeFlower heads on kalanchoe blossom in bright oranges, pinks, yellow, red, and white on a compact, upright plant about 6-12 inches tall. The flowers last several months, and the green plants are pretty year-round.
Kalanchoe Growing Tips
Kalanchoes are pretty low-maintenance plants, thriving in the low humidity of winter households. Choose Kalanchoe plants that have plenty of unopened flower buds, rather than ones in full bloom, and be sure to give them:
- Light: Kalanches need lots of light, preferably a south-facing window in winter and bright indirect light (or east/west window) in summer. If your Kalanchoe plant is looking leggy and thin, it probably isnâ€™t getting enough light.
- Soil: Kalanchoe plants do best in a well-draining potting mix designed for cacti and succulents, or stir in plenty of perlite or sand to improve drainage.
- Temperature: Kalanchoes do fine in normal household conditions, but they need to be kept away from drafts. Keep your kalanchoe above 50°F.
- Water: Over-watering is the main killer of kalanchoes! Allow your kalanchoe to get dry between waterings. Then water thoroughly until it runs out the bottom, and immediately empty the drainage tray. Never leave the plant sitting in water.
- Fertilizer: While your kalanchoe is blooming, feed it every few weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer.
- Pots: Kalanchoes do well in clay pots, and they must have a drainage tray that can be emptied. Theyâ€™re small plants that donâ€™t often have to be repotted.
- Summer care: You can put your kalanchoe outdoors in summer, but choose a spot sheltered from rain.
Propagation: Kalanchoes are easy to propagate by stem or leaf cuttings. Some varieties will put out plantlets that can be removed and potted.
- Maintenance: Remove spent flowers to keep your kalanchoe looking neat. You may also want to wipe or gently spray them to remove dust.