Kalanchoe blossfeldiana belongs to Crassulaceae family. It is an attractive plant with fleshy, scalloped leaves that bear clusters of star-like flowers and comes in a myriad of vibrant colors. Given the right growing conditions this low-maintenance plant will bloom up to 10 weeks. It blooms naturally in late winter to late spring but growers can make it available any time of year as long as it gets 6 weeks of 14 hours of darkness. This succulent plant can tolerate dry soil and low humidity which makes them an ideal indoor plant during the winter.
Kalanchoe needs bright light, full sun (south window) in the winter and some shade during the heat of summer (east/west window). The fleshy leaves will blush red when exposed to full sun. Grow it in well-drained soil consisting of peat, sand or perlite and sterile soil. Cooler temperatures and bright light will prolong blooming. Remove spent flowers for a neater appearance. When all flowers are spent, enjoy your Kalanchoe as a houseplant.
Water thoroughly, then allow the soil to dry. They are drought tolerant so allow the top half to dry out before watering again. Don’t over water, soggy soil will cause stem and root rot. If the lower leaves start to shrivel and yellow, then the soil is too dry.
Feed a balanced liquid fertilizer every 3 weeks when actively growing and when in bloom.
Problems: Scale, mealy bugs and root mealy bugs , mites.
Disease: Fungal-powdery mildew, phytophtora, pythium (root rot)
Reblooming : Some feel it is hardly worth the effort. It is difficult but can be done. To rebloom, remove all dead flower stalks and when new growth appears start feeding with a 15-30-15 fertilizer at 1/2 strength in March-October. Kalanchoe, like Poinsettias are short-day flowering plants which require 6 weeks of 14 hr nights and bright light during the day with temperatures of 60F at night and 70F during the day. Blooming should start within 4 months after treatment.
You can also propagate your plant from tip cuttings taken in spring. Root them in a mix of peat moss and coarse sand and place in bright filtered light.
An exciting new variety is the Calandiva, a double-flower that looks like a cluster miniature roses and comes in a variety of colors. It has the same growing requirements as the Kalanchoe.