Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to Grow a Kalanchoe

This red-blooming kalanchoe belongs to my friend, Gina. She is a plant enthusiast and it shows.This 2-year old is blooming again under her good care. It sits in plenty of light and is regularly fertilized. It blooms for a couple of months or so every year.
Kalanchoe is sometimes pronounced as kal-en-ko-e and sometimes as ku-lanch-oh. This lush succulent with its vivacious colored blooms is quite easy to grow. You will find it for sale with red, yellow, pink or white blooms. 
Their natural blooming time is during the winter although growers have their way of "forcing" blooms by mimicking the conditions they are grown in. Plants sometimes seem to have a mind of their own so yours may bloom at any time.

These beauties are natives of Madagascar and Tropical Africa. 

They are easily propagated from a leaf or stem cuttings. Stem cuttings can be rooted in water, potting soil or perlite. A leaf can be rooted by placing the end of the leaf that has been detached from the plant into a small pot firmly filled with potting soil. Insert the leaf about 1/8" or so and keep the top of the soil on the moist side for the next month. After it starts showing new growth it can be watered normally.

Care Instructions--
  • Requires direct sun for the strongest growth. Tolerates bright indirect light for awhile.
  • In a 4" (10cm) diameter pot, water it when the top of the soil is quite dry. About 1/2-3/4 cup of water should give it a thorough soak..
  • In a 6" diameter pot  (15 cm) I let dry out about 1/4" below the soil line and water it thoroughly with about 1 pint or up to 1/2 liter of water.
  • Plants in larger pots should dry out a 1/2"- 1" (about 1-3 cm) below the soil line. Kalanchoes do like a good soak when necessary, especially when blooming. They should not sit with water in their saucer for more than a few hours.
  • Fertilize regularly for the best growth and blooms. You may want to stop fertilizing briefly, if it is in bloom.
***To see a variety of video clips on YouTube about houseplant care from my 90's TV series, 


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