The Q&A Archives: Kalanchoe Care

Question: I just bought three beautiful 6" size succulant kalanchoes at my nursery. I repotted all three with cactus soil in a larger clay pot. All three of the plants had hardly any root system. How can I care for them now and hopefully later when they get more comfortable in their new pot? Should I give them cactus food?

Answer: Because of their fleshy leaves, there isn't much need for extensive root systems. Sounds like your plants are growing normally. Most don't require frequent feeding, but when they're actively growing you can use a diluted liquid fertilizer if you think they need a boost. There are many Kalanchoe plant varieties. Some are grown for their flowers and others are grown for their interesting foliage. The most commonly grown is K. blossfeldiana, which normally flowers in spring but can be forced to flower at almost any time. The leaves of this plant turn reddish in sunlight and the large flowerheads last for many weeks. This Kalanchoe needs a rest period. After flowering prune the tops down and place the pot on a shady windowsill. Keep the compost nearly dry for a month and then put the plant in a well-lit spot and water normally.

To keep your plant in tip-top shape, provide average household warmth (minimum 50F in winter). Place in an east or west facing window from spring to autumn and a south facing window in winter. Water thoroughly when actively growing, allowing the soil surface to dry between waterings.

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