Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Encouraging plantlets on a Kalanchoe?

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Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
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bitbit
Mar 8, 2013 7:43 PM CST
Greetings, suckers for succulents! (Sorry, I just had to... Whistling )

Back in my college botany class, we had an assignment where we were each given a tiny Kalanchoe plantlet, and whoever had the biggest plant at the end of the semester got a prize. I didn't win, but I treasured my plant and distributed her babies far and wide - one that I gave my grandma in Florida got to be about eight feet tall! The original plant produced thousands, as its common name implies, before she eventually died. I only have half a dozen or so Kalanchoes now, probably grandbabies or great-grandbabies of the class project, because I continually give them away to anyone who wants one. I've moved many times, put my Kalanchoes in all kinds of conditions, and always gotten babies off them, but for some reason now, they're not producing.

The ones I have now have been sharing a pot with a Hoya, but I just transplanted half of them into their own pots, in case it was inhibiting them in some way. They have plenty of root space, get regular water, and are in front of a south-facing window. I'm wondering if I'm babying them too much - the ones that did so well in my office were in Dixie cups and only watered once every few months! But my grandma's giant grew alongside blue-ribbon-winning orchids and was treated like a beloved child, so I don't think torture is necessary.

So, what do you do to make your Kalanchoes pop with plantlets? More water, less water, more light, less light, something to do with nutrients? I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong, because they were so great in so many different conditions before.

I'm not 100% sure, but I'm fairly certain it's Kalanchoe daigremontiana, if that matters. It looks identical to the Google image search results for that name, in any case.
Name: Banana
(Zone 8b)
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Banana
Mar 9, 2013 12:32 PM CST
A Hoya & a Kalanchoe have very different care requirements. (I have several of these types! Would feel the same!) I've had a few at one point or another slow down in growth...*The "Mother Plant" is said to die after producing babies. The babies I keep in the same pot as momma...gently spraying with a spray bottle for water vs. drowning them & their delicate roots! I also Keep in south facing window...or outside during summer! Might need to check & make sure there is room for root growth...or even changing soil. (But if you are talking about OVER THE WINTER it stopped producing ONLY....keep in mind plants have growing seasons & even though we manipulate them, their natural "instincts" kick in if given a chance!) ;)
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
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bitbit
Mar 9, 2013 2:42 PM CST
Thanks for the reply.

It's been about a year, so I don't think it's seasonal. They're growing and green and healthy-looking, just no babies.

My original plant got a disease and died when I put it out for a summer, so the rest have been indoor-only, but in several different buildings over the years. I'm not so sure about producing and dying - maybe it depends on the species, but my office plants produced nonstop for six years and not a single mother plant died. They stayed tiny because they were rootbound, but otherwise did great.

When you say their care is different from a Hoya, is that mostly to do with water needs? My Hoya is happier than it's ever been, so perhaps I'm drowning my Kalanchoes. I'll try letting them get bone dry between watering, since my office plants seemed to like that abuse.
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
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jojoe
Mar 10, 2013 8:23 AM CST
When i brought my Kalanchoe in for the winter they were young and had already started producing babies but they stopped when i brought them in & held back on the water as i do with all my succulents in the winter.It's now getting close to spring and when i started watering again and it's getting more sun it's back to making babies.

In other words i have no idea what could be your plants problem.Is it old enough to have gone through "the change" Whistling maybe in their old age they stop making babies Confused Rolling my eyes.

sorry not much help Sad















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A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
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bitbit
Mar 10, 2013 9:05 AM CST
Thanks Jojoe.

I'm starting to think it's just plain old overwatering. Looking more closely at the plants, the leaves are "fleshier" than I'm used to, if that makes sense, and the purple markings have faded somewhat. I'm going to let them really dry out between waterings, and see if that makes a difference. I had been letting the pot go pretty dry (and the ones in my old office were dry most of the time), but I think I subconsciously picked up the pace when my Hoya flowered for the first time last year... now it looks better than ever and they're suffering, so obviously they weren't meant to share a pot. I need to get over my "succulents are succulents" mindset and figure out their individual needs *Blush*

I want to say these plants are about two years old, but they could be three. I've only had the Hoya for four years, and let it get established before I used them to fill in the gaps in its pot. I've had Kalanchoes (clones of these plants) produce after just a few months and for at least six years, so I'd lean toward conditions rather than age being the culprit.

It sounds like you're in a similar climate to me... when you put your plants out for the summer, do you need to keep them under some kind of cover to avoid the rain overwatering them for you? I've been scared to expose my Kalanchoes to the dangers of the world after losing my oldest and biggest plant, but it sounds like most people do it successfully, so maybe I'll give it a go this summer. Thumbs up
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
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sheryl
Mar 10, 2013 10:20 AM CST
Bit, I had this plant once. I discovered it after I bought a home in Tucson - and have no idea how long it had been there without any care in a very arid area. It was not getting a *ton* of light, being under a tree or two and between houses. But we have very strong light in AZ, being unimpeded by humidity combined with a southern latitude. So, any it did get was pretty strong.

Anywho, it was extremely prolific, to the point that I hated it. Ah well, I was young and not as fanatical as I've grown to be ... nodding But I'd also wonder if your plant is revving up for a bloom cycle? Maybe that would slow it down. Or if it is warm enough, and sunny enough. I'd put it out, not in much direct (maybe eastern) light once you warm up a little. Mine was surviving outside, but I wouldn't test that past 35-45ยบ.
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Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
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bitbit
Mar 10, 2013 10:38 AM CST
Yes, I've heard they can be invasive in the southwest. I gave out plants in cute pots as wedding favors, and my aunt from west Texas explained that she couldn't take one home because she liked her gardens Hilarious! She's back in Virginia now and has many of them in pots inside where they behave fairly nicely.

We may well be past our last frost, but I have about a month to go before I'm comfortable putting anything tender out - this time of year is unpredictable around here. I think I'll refrain from watering in that time, and see how the plants look. I hadn't thought about blooming... would all six plants be heading that direction at once? I've never had a bloom in my 10 years of keeping Kalanchoes, but there's a first for everything.
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
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jojoe
Mar 10, 2013 10:54 AM CST
I water my Hoya's through the winter and don't water my succulent much at all.I did notice my Kalanchoe is starting to get babies where it hasn't all winter,maybe they have an internal sense as to when spring is close.I have a Kalanchoe 'delagoensis' but i think they all live to reproduce!! Lovey dubby

I purchased a huge pot of succulents that had been marked 50% off,i had seen them in the store for months but they wanted so much for it they weren't selling i guess.I got me one when they marked them down.I got a lot of succulents from that pot all of which had been neglected of course and where growing wild.There wasn't a Kalanchoe plant in it though there was something dead,i am guessing that was the Kalanchoe not being able to live without water for so long as the other succulent could.After i had the pot for awhile slowly cutting & removing plants from it i noticed all these little tiny plants started popping up after i had given it a good watering.I took some of them put them in a pot.I had no idea what they where and they are still in the same pot.This spring i am going to re-pot them.I'm not sure if each such have their own pot or what but i do now know i have more than i need.
Thumb of 2013-03-10/jojoe/ca76e9
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 10, 2013 11:07 AM CST
So which type of Kalanchoe did you have on your experiment? I have different types of it and they do have different seasons of active growth.

For example my Kalanchoe delagoensis has more active growth and flowering during warmer weather, and absolutely hates the rain and cold. Then there is Kalanchoe thrysiflora which can tolerate cold showing nice red stressed colors but if you make them wet and cold, it may kill it. It grows actively and nicely during summer. Then there is the other Kalanchoe blossfeldiana which in my area thrives happily during our cold season and rests during warmer season. Kalanchoe tomentosa endures cold, slower growth and goes active again as the warmer weather comes back.

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 10, 2013 11:11 AM CST
Oops, sorry I did not see right away that your Kalanchoe is the Kalanchoe daigremontiana..that one is the one I call Kalanchoe delagoensis. It makes more babies during warmer weather. Very drought tolerant. Loves the sun. During winter it slows down in growth especially if grown outdoors like I do mine, and our cold wet weather tempers down its baby making, but this year our winter has been relatively dry so it just continued with its babies.
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
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jojoe
Mar 10, 2013 12:52 PM CST
Tarev,I'm glad you finally poked your head in here! Smiling I knew you had said once you grew them.I am also glad to know there are some that are maybe not cold hardy but tolerant.I thought the cold killed them all.But you have shown us that just about any plant can be cold tolerant if in the right conditions.

Sorry BitBit not trying to hi-jack your thread.I did google your plant or the name you gave and had a hard time figuring out exactly what your plant looks like.Do you have any pictures of it or a link to a site with pictures of which plant your talking about?Does it look anything like the ones in my picture?I didn't know there were so many different ones with different shaped leaves (not enough research on my part)If as Tarev said it is the same as the one i have,mine took a break this winter i believe i already told you that.But is starting back i noticed a few starting on the claw looking tips of the leaves the other day.

Is there anything to them dying off after blooming or reproducing for so long? Can they stop when they get old?

BitBit how old is your plant?
Okay i'm finished,got carried away,sorry, i love mine and would really love to get some cold hardy ones!!!
A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
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bitbit
Mar 10, 2013 12:55 PM CST
Thanks for all the info, Tarev!

My house has been rather chilly this winter (ongoing furnace issues), so along with the overwatering, I've probably just been discouraging reproduction. Things will be warming up, and I've vowed to quit watering for a while (it's tough, I like to baby my plants Whistling ). Not sure why they weren't producing in the summer, but perhaps they're younger than I had thought.

I have a plan Hurray! It might take a few months to see results, but I'll report back to you guys when I do Thumbs up
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
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bitbit
Mar 10, 2013 1:06 PM CST
Jojoe, I was about to post another reply to Tarev with similar questions. My plant is definitely not the same as yours. I think you have K. delagoensis, with skinny leaves and plantlets only at the tips. My K. daigremontiana has triangular leaves with plantlets all along the margins (well, when it has them)... I'm no expert on Kalanchoe taxonomy, but I don't think they're synonyms.

I don't have a photo handy, but this is a perfect match: http://www.cosmoflowers.com/wp-content/uploads/Kalanchoe-dai...

The undersides of the leaves usually have bold purple markings like this: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oEkqAaNibno/TzfjSk29mCI/AAAAAAAAFE... but are faded right now to almost solid green.

I thought these babies were 2-3 years old, but now I'm wondering if they're younger and just not starting to reproduce yet. They're definitely at least a year, because it was last spring that I gave my mom all the plants out of my old office, so I haven't had a source of plantlets in the meantime.
[Last edited by bitbit - Mar 10, 2013 1:12 PM (+)]
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Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
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jojoe
Mar 10, 2013 3:59 PM CST
Yea,i agree we do not have the same variety of Kalanchoe.Mine is K.delagoensis and only gets babies on the very tips,the tips almost look like claws.Mine will be a year old this summer,they popped up out of the soil last summer and had just started making babies when the weather started cooling off and it stopped reproducing.Now that it's warming up it's started back up making babies.

I don't know what differences there are in the different varieties???

Good luck!!! Thumbs up
A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 10, 2013 11:03 PM CST
My kalanchoe is similar to what Jojoe has. From what I have read in other plant forums both types have very similar needs. It really loves full sun, and quite drought tolerant. Maybe just wait a bit till summer comes. Your plant may finally find more vigor to produce babies by then. But be very watchful those plantlets are easily dropped, very avid volunteers to propagate in any soil, oftentimes becoming too weedy to control.
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bitbit
Mar 11, 2013 5:32 AM CST
Thanks for the warning, Tarev. I don't know that they'd thrive in my soggy climate or survive the cool winters, but I have no intention of letting them land outside of their pots. Still not sure if I'll set them out, but if I do, they'll be well-contained and over a patio rather than soil. Thumbs up
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
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jojoe
Mar 12, 2013 10:19 AM CST
Mine needed watering and to my surprise,she has been busy since the last time i took a close look. Hurray!
I hope the picture is good enough to make out a least a baby or two.I'm not the best with a camera,my hands shake from the MS and even with the anti-shake thing on my camera i still end up with fuzzy pictures sometimes. Confused
Thumb of 2013-03-12/jojoe/f751bb
I just love the way the tips of the leaves look like little tiny claws Hilarious!
A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 12, 2013 12:21 PM CST
Yup the succulents do need to be given a sip or two during winter, and they perk up afterwards. Just do not douse it like watering in summer.

My kalanchoe which is similar to yours Jojoe, did not suffer so much outdoors this winter, and is now also actively making babies, our weather has been warming up fast and most of the winter resting succulents are springing back Big Grin
Name: Jelinda AKA jojoe Ivey
Thomson,Ga. (Zone 8a)
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jojoe
Mar 14, 2013 11:41 AM CST
I found a new one the other day.Sorry the pictures aren't to great,will try to take some better ones.

Tarev if you or anyone know's of a kalanchoe that is cold hardy to zone 8,i would love to plant one in the ground.I did try to leave a couple of mine outside this winter and they were doing pretty good until a hard freeze in Feb.The next day they were almost a pile of mush.That experiment failed but a lot of plant will die in pots but not if in the ground right.Thinking get one good and established until it can be put in a good size pot,plant in ground in spring and keep fingers crossed.I think any babies on the ground around it would die off every winter so it wouldn't take over.First i have to figure out which one is the hardiest.
Kalanchoe tubiflora 'maternity plant'
Thumb of 2013-03-14/jojoe/8732b9
Thumb of 2013-03-14/jojoe/1d3306
click on them and look at all the babies in the pot,if anybody wants some,i will gladly share for postage only.But that's true with all my plants that i can share. Lovey dubby
A green thumb comes only as a result of the mistakes you make while learning to see things from the plants point of view!!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 14, 2013 11:56 AM CST
Hi Jojoe. I think that new kalanchoe you have is the one that bitbit has. It has lots of fun names..Mexican Hat, Mother of Thousands or they also call it Mother of Millions or as yours is called maternity plant..because it is an avid producer of those little babies.

Pretty much any young succulent outdoors that will encounter hard frost is likely to suffer be it grown in-ground or in containers. That is why it is suggested to shelter them or cover them. What I notice is, when the succulents are more mature, like their stems are already like bark, and stiff, they fair better outdoors in winter, come rain or frost. But they still really do big time leaf loss, but they bounce back fast once weather improves and dries out. The younger succulents, often times cannot make it, too young, so it is really better to keep them indoors if there is no protected area where they can just feel cold but not rained on.
[Last edited by tarev - Mar 14, 2013 11:56 AM (+)]
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