Kalanchoe blossfeldiana – Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe, an attractive succulent plant of South African origin, is a Christmas favourite and deservedly so. The growth is compact and erect, and the thick squarish stems are surmounted by large heads consisting of many small florets of a brilliant scarlet. By artificially shortening the days from early October, the plant can be forced into bloom for Christmas. A number of hybrids offer different heights and colours, but Kalanchoe blossfeldiana retains the most popularity.

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana - Kalanchoe

Temperatures:

  • Growing season 12-15 °C (53-60 °F)
  • Minimum winter 4 °C (39 °F)

Soil: A well-drained soil-less compost.

Where to position: In a bright, sunny position protected from hot sun. It tolerates some draughts and temperature fluctuations.

Watering requirements: Keep the soil moist and springy to the touch. The lower the temperature the drier the plant should be kept, but do not allow the soil to dry out completely. No spraying or humidity provision is required.

General care: Give weak liquid fertilizer once monthly. Keep soil moist and give plenty of light. It can look rather artificial on its own; in company with foliage plants, it can look sensational when in bloom. Remove flower heads as they fade.

Rest: It rests when flowering is ended. Reduce the water until the soil is almost dry; then cut plant back to half its height. Give a little water if the leaves tend to wrinkle. In May, gently stage up watering as growth increases, later feed cautiously.

When it looks sick:

  • Leaves show corrugations : The plant is too dry. Water to restore soil condition.
  • Leaves begin to yellow : Almost certainly over-feeding. Stop at once.
  • It is floppy in its pot and looks sick : Root-rot due to over-watering or bad drainage. It is doomed but re-potting is worth a try.

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