The Q&A Archives: Kalanchoe Indoors

Question: I bought a kalanchoe, but I don't know if I should keep it inside or plant it out in the garden. Can I leave it in the ground over the winter or should I grow it indoors?

Answer: Kalanchoe is a lovely flowering plant that needs to be brought indoors in autumn in cold-winter regions. If you want to keep it as a houseplant, bring it indoors when temperatures begin to drop into the fifties at night. Set it in a very sunny window and water moderately. To force it to bloom indoors during the winter, in the fall for about 6 to 8 weeks, place it in a location where it will receive total darkness for about 15 hours every night. (Cover it with a box, set it in a closet, or leave it in a room without artificial light so it experiences the decreasing daylight hours.) This will induce it to set buds and then bloom -- similar to getting a poinsettia to color up.

After blooming when growth slows, cut back on water. In spring when growth resumes, increase watering again and fertilize lightly with a water-soluble fertilizer for houseplants according to the label instructions. The plant will enjoy spending the summer outdoors.

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