Houseplants forum: What is it, and what did I do to it?

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Name: Ren
(Zone 7a)
cranberrysweet
Oct 14, 2016 11:58 AM CST
Hi everyone! I'm new! Smiling Need some help with my baby!

I got this plant in January - it was a part of a funerary arrangement for my grandmother, so it's very special to me. I have no idea what it is, but I'm pretty pleased that I've managed to keep it alive for almost ten months already. Though I wonder if I'm doing it right? You see, it looks very healthy, but it doesn't even look like the same plant that I got almost a year ago!

The pictures - the one with the pink flowers is how it appeared when I first got it. Big, darker green leaves, tons of tiny pink flowers. I'm not as concerned about its current lack of flowers as I know that's seasonal and assumed it's winter-flowering. But it's... enormous now. It's gotten so tall. The leaves look completely different. I think if it gets much bigger, I'll need to re-pot it again in a floor planter instead of keeping it on the windowsill.
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Should I be pruning it? I'm terrified to try. I don't mind if it's big, and I don't even mind if it never flowers, as long as it lives, I just don't want to mess it up.

Oh, as an add on - at one point, a small branch was knocked off the lower tiers of the plant, and it appeared healthy, so I put it in water for a couple weeks, it developed roots, and now it looks like I have a successful cutting? It's got that bend in the stem from where it rested on the bowl when it was in water, but when I potted it, I pointed it straight up, so it's not falling over or anything, it's just a funny shape. Since potting it, it's gone straight up (also, hence chopsticks in case it need support??).

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[Last edited by cranberrysweet - Oct 14, 2016 12:11 PM (+)]
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Name: sy
Northern Ireland (Zone 8a)
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syzone8aUK
Oct 14, 2016 12:50 PM CST
Hi ren! I don't know the exact details but its a kalanchoe
You can be at ease they recover quick from trimming! I would say trimming every year is a good idea, it helps keep the plant compact.
Its also quite common for them to put out aerial roots (roots on the plant above the soil) so you can easily get cuttings with roots already formed.
You can force it to bloom again by moving it somewhere cooler, at this time of year the hours of darkness are increasing so you shouldn't have to worry about simulating the dark period. The leaves look fine! less sun.. darker leaves! More sun.. lighter leaves. Hope this helps Thumbs up

Edit: link
http://garden.org/plants/search/text/?q=kalanchoe
Heat zone 1-2
[Last edited by syzone8aUK - Oct 14, 2016 12:57 PM (+)]
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Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Oct 14, 2016 1:25 PM CST
That looks like a 'Florist Kalanchoe'

Florist Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

Its growth looks normal to me, it looks very healthy! Lovey dubby

If you want to prune it, late Spring/early Summer would be a better time. In winter, the sun isn't as intense so you won't get optimal growth.
Name: Ren
(Zone 7a)
cranberrysweet
Oct 15, 2016 11:36 PM CST
Ahhhh, thanks guys! That makes me feel better, much more confident. I've moved it out of the window for now to hopefully slow some of the upward growth through the winter, and I'll try pruning it towards spring. In the mean time also to help a little, I took a couple of the smaller unruly branches off and I'll try to grow them as cuttings.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Oct 16, 2016 6:35 AM CST
I believe as close to the window would be better. While plants slow down in winter, they still comtinue growing. Smiling
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
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AlyssaBlue
Oct 16, 2016 6:53 AM CST
Your plant looks so healthy, I would leave it be, if possible. Funny- I don't mind when winter comes, because that means windows are not being opened and closed....then I can move the plants back and use all the windows so they're not squished in front of just a few.

But then I have open window spots.....and that ALWAYS means I should buy more plants. Hey- it's a long winter Sighing! The struggle......
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Oct 16, 2016 9:53 AM CST
I agree, lovely Florist Kalanchoe! It appears to be leaning towards the light so turning it on occasion will help even out the growth. Cuttings should root easily and just remember that Kalanchoe's are succulent, so go easy on watering.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Ren
(Zone 7a)
cranberrysweet
Oct 16, 2016 2:50 PM CST
Hm, so leave it near the window then? It's a narrow windowsill so I worried proximity to the glass would slowly become too cold as we get into winter and the temperature would damage the leaves that are closest/ brushing up against it.

I have noticed the leaves turning toward the light, so I have been rotating it the last couple weeks. Still watering it lightly about every three days. When I first got it, I was very concerning I was overwatering as a lot of the leaves began yellowing. However a lot of new growth came in, and that was quite some time ago.

My first cutting is doing remarkably well, and I started two more in water yesterday. Here's one of them.
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Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Oct 16, 2016 3:33 PM CST
As long as it doesn't touch the glass, it should be fine. I have succulents in my windowsill in the winter no issue. Smiling You may have to maneuver it around somehow so it doesn't touch.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Oct 16, 2016 5:58 PM CST
I agree, as long as the plants leaves are not touching the cold glass and as long as there is no cold winter draft coming from the window, the plant should be fine.

I'm not sure what you mean about watering "lightly" every three days? I'd be concerned that not enough water is reaching the deep roots but your plant looks great so it must have acclimated to your care. Thumbs up

I'd hold off on fertilizing until spring and only feed 1/4 to 1/2 strength of what the package directions state. If you want to promote your Kalanchoe to rebloom, like the Christmas Poinsettia's they need short days and long nights to produce flower buds. You can supply these conditions by placing the plant in a dark room or closet (at night) with zero light for 8 to 12 hours and then place it back in very bright light during the day.

I've always watered all of my plants (including succulents) by flushing the soil until the water drains out the bottom of the container. I hear many folks say that they water once a week, or twice a week but in my opinion, that may be too much water to the point that the soil is saturated which will cause root rot. I don't use those drainage trays on the bottom of my pots but I live in a climate where I can take all of my indoor plants outside to soak them with the hose, let them drain and then move them back inside.

Great job on the rooting of your cuttings! I hope they continue to grow and prosper for you.

Here is a page with good information regarding the Florist Kalanchoe: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/indoor/flowerin...
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: sy
Northern Ireland (Zone 8a)
Region: United Kingdom Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds The WITWIT Badge Container Gardener Foliage Fan
Sempervivums Houseplants Cactus and Succulents Native Plants and Wildflowers
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syzone8aUK
Oct 17, 2016 6:15 AM CST
I agree with lin and hamwild, I also water mine thoroughly until it drains from the holes! I think the term overwatering means you are not letting the soil dry between waterings! They can handle as much water as you can give them in one sitting as long as you let the medium dry before you water again! Underwateing is when they don't get enough water each time you water and while you might be watering more often it would still be considered underwatered!
I mentioned the cooler room because my orange one rebloomed this summer after I pruned it and put it in a cooler room! There was no dark period as it was summer and it bloomed regardless, maybe there was something else at play here I wasn't aware of? I also read that while a dark period is enough to induce blooms its night time temps that determine how long the blooms last! Warmer night Time temp will result in blooms fading faster whereas cooler night temps will slow growth and prolong blooms. I have not researched much about that so I can't say if there's any truth to that or not.
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Oct 17, 2016 7:59 AM CST
I've had this kind of Kal for about 4 yrs & the buds always start showing in Dec/Jan. Winter is the time they need direct light, IME with them. The blooms usually last until around May.
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Ren
(Zone 7a)
cranberrysweet
Oct 17, 2016 12:13 PM CST
Okay! To clarify my watering habits.... lightly would probably not be the right word. It's a very large pot, so I usually wait until the soil is starting to feel a little less than damp, not dry, but past the point when it is very soft to touch, and then I give it a good drink, until I estimate the water could reach the bottom layers of the soil. Every now and then, a little does run out the bottom, because I'm certainly not measuring. I also take into account the amount of sun it's getting if it seems like it could be drying out faster from that (though that hasn't been an issue since we got through August).

I think I'll put it back on the windowsill for now, at least until it gets much colder. I live in a loft apartment, so my options for space in the sun are limited. Some of the leaves will probably touch the glass, but I'll keep an eye on it if it gets too cold.


My husband is starting to get curious - he took a look when I put the first cutting into a real pot, but yesterday he looked around and said, wait, you had one plant and now there are 5! The cuttings are sitting around on our countertops and bookshelves. If all of them are successful I will be gifting to a couple friends. Crossing Fingers!
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Oct 17, 2016 2:26 PM CST
I have fun giving away these cuttings too! A table or stand next to a window can be a good way for plants to get close w/o being close enough to touch the glass, room-layout permitting.

...is it a helpful enable-ment to tell you these come in several colors of blooms?
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Ren
(Zone 7a)
cranberrysweet
Oct 17, 2016 7:52 PM CST
I've seen that they come in several colors! But, I mean, since they're all from the same original plant, they should all be pink... if one of them comes out a different color that'd be somewhat shocking!

I wouldn't know where to go to get another of them anyway, even if I did want another color! There aren't many nurseries in my area at all.

The arrangement came with three plants when I first got it, the other two were what I *think* were a peace lily and the other, a maidenhair fern. The poor fern didn't stand any chance at all... the lily is dragging on but it's a bare shadow of its former self, I'm really not sure at all it's going to make it. Sadly I had no experience with lilies, and consequently, did everything exactly wrong and I think it's too late now. Sort of why I've got all my hopes on the kalanchoe (which seems to be a much hardier plant!).
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Oct 18, 2016 6:52 AM CST
Do you have Lowes, Wal-mart, or Home Depot near you? Not that it's the best time of year to be looking (they seem to be getting their fall annuals in and their C & S shipments are more of a Spring thing, but they usually have some come in. Wal-Mart (at least for me), can be kind of iffy about succulents, but it's worth a look IMO. I found this one at Wal-Mart:



Sometimes even Bi-lo or Kroger carries them. I want to say Easter is a good time to look too (at least I think that's what purpleinopp told me; my memory is failing me this morning Hilarious! ).
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Oct 18, 2016 8:02 AM CST
Yes, I've seen them on tables inside (BBS's) around Easter, like they do with poinsettias during the holidays. IDK if that's a national thing or regional around the south. At an owner-operated garden center or nursery, they might be displayed with other non-hardy succulents/house plants.

And yes, cuttings are identical to the mama plant, and the flower color will be the same.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Ren
(Zone 7a)
cranberrysweet
Oct 20, 2016 10:18 AM CST
I've checked around at my nearby Wal-marts, seems the garden center has already been totally overrun by Christmas decorations. :/ I can't even find some basic pots for these cuttings. I'll keep checking though, and I'll see if my local feed store has anything helpful.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents
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Hamwild
Oct 20, 2016 11:15 AM CST
:/ Unfortunately I have that problem this time of year too. A suggestion on pots, styrofoam cups come in handy in a pinch. Just punch holes in the bottom and cut it down if you need to to make it less tall. Green Grin!
[Last edited by Hamwild - Oct 20, 2016 11:15 AM (+)]
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