The Q&A Archives: Pruning Kalanchoe

Question: What is the correct way to prune so the leaves become large (almost the size of a small hand) instead of the plant becoming "legy" with small leaves? (I want mine to be the way the plants are when you buy them in a store and in bloom.) My plants have not been flowering. The leaves are a healthy, deep and shiny green--although small. Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Answer: Those specimen plants you can purchase in garden outlets are fresh from a greenhouse, where they've been enjoying perfect growing conditions. You can grow healthy kalanchoe's, but they may not meet the standards set by those produced in a greenhouse.

Kalanchoe is considered a somewhat difficult plant to get to rebloom. Their normal bloom period is late winter-early spring, but they can be forced into bloom during any season by limiting the amount of daylight hours it receives. Put it in darkness for 14 hour nights for two months in a row. Fertilize with a product higher in phosphorous, such as Miracle-Gro at 15-30-15, to encourage flowers. They prefer full sun, average humidity and soil on the dry side.

You can pinch the stems back to reduce legginess and encourage the growth of new flowering stems. (Flowers are produced at stem tips, so the more you have, the more flowers the plant should produce.)
Good luck!

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