The Q&A Archives: kalanchoe

Question: I purchased a Kalanchoe from INSIDE the store at Home Depot today but there is no

Answer: There are several types of kalanchoes grown as houseplants, some are grown for their beautiful flowers and others are admired for their foliage. The flowering kalanchoe is known in England as Flaming Katy because when it is kept in bright sunlight, the leaves develop lots of red along the edges. Amongst the flowering kalanchoe, the bloom colors include red, yellow, orange, white, lilac and pink. Once in bloom, their flowers last a long time. They are difficult to bring into bloom again, so they are usually considered a temporary plant and discarded after the flowers fade. If you want to try to rebloom kalanchoe, cut off the dried flowers and put the plant on a shady windowsill for about a month, keeping it almost dry for that time. Then bring it back to its sunny spot. Kalanchoe naturally blooms in spring, though it is brought into flower commercially at any time of year in commercial greenhouses.

When selecting a flowering kalanchoe, look for plants that are fill their containers and are just coming into bloom. If the plant came with a decorative sleeve around it, be sure to monitor the plant closely to make sure it isn't over watered, or remove the sleeve.

They prefer full sun but will also do well in a situation with very high light. If grown for very long without enough light, they become leggy and weak. They need to be watered thoroughly and then allowed to partially dry out before watering again. If kalanchoe are being grown in a decorative container without a drainage hole, be very careful not to let water accumulate or the plants will rot.

They are perfectly happy in the same temperatures that we like indoors, but can tolerate temperatures down to around 50? when necessary.

Since they are succulents, they do not need as much humidity as most houseplants. They do well with average indoor humidity. A fast-draining soil is important. The kind that is sold for cactus would be ideal.

When kalanchoe are purchased in bud or in flower, they won't need any fertilizer. If it is kept to rebloom later, fertilize it after its rest period with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Bachman's Excel GroTM. Non-blooming kalanchoe such as the panda plant should be given half strength fertilizer only during the summer months.

Although sold as houseplants, you can keep your kalanchoe outdoors during the summer months; just be sure to take it back indoors when nighttime temperatures hover around 50F.

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