Keeping up with the kalanchoes

Unlike some drama queens, this plant is the best! Rarely an issue to tell of. I keep propagating it and giving it away and growing more for myself.

Baby, Clio Amélie, and Clifford in a family photo outside
  • Binomial name: Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
  • Given names:
    Mature-ish lady: Clio Amélie
    Young buck: Clifford
    Baby: Baby
  • Native to: Madagascar
  • Given: May or June 2016; housewarming present. In the same pot as Virginia blue rabbit’s foot fern and dracaena marginata
  • Grown in: Canada
  • Repotting: used 1/2 [1/4 regular potting mix + a little cactus mix, 1/4 perlite, 1/2 coco coir] + 1/2 [cactus mix]
  • Soil:
    Clio Amélie, Clifford, Baby: moist, but just watered, so that’s OK
  • New growth:
    Clio Amélie: no new growth, but more leggy
    Clifford: has three full tiers of leaves; starting on a fourth (so tiny!); a little leggy
    Baby: no new growth, but more leggy
  • Signs of pests: none
  • Signs of care issues:
    Clio Amélie: some crispy tips on leaves (were there for some time; probably not indicative of current state)
    Clifford: happy in terracotta pot; needs more sun; moved to kitchen windowsill

Atmosphere

  • Light: bright, indirect; too much can scorch leaves; becomes leggy in low light
  • Humidity: dry air is fine
  • Temperature: 12 to 27 degrees C; avoid drafts

Water

  • Preference: water when dry; water more when flowering

Soil, fertilization, and pots

  • Soil type: 1/2 cactus mix and succulent mix with 1/2 premium potting soil; can mix in a little bit of compost; needs good drainage
  • Soil pH: acidic
  • Fertilization: top-dress with worm castings and compost in spring; apply balanced houseplant fertilizer in spring if needed
  • Repotting: not more than 2 inches wider than the root ball; clay pot

Lifestyle

  • Grow style: slow
  • Maturity: two to five years, 30 to 45 cm; can last up to seven years, but they may get leggy
  • Blooms: any time of year, but needs equal times light and complete darkness for six to eight weeks (they are photoperiodic). Flower colour: orange (as told to me by someone I gave a cutting to). Remove faded blooms and provide minimal watering after for a few weeks.
  • Common problems: aphids, mealybugs, powdery mildew if they are too wet
  • Propagation:
    Stem cuttings: 10 cm long, remove bottom leaves; let end dry for one week; plant in succulent and cactus mix; roots in 3 weeks. Can also develop roots in water.

Research sources: GardenBeastJoy Us GardenGrower Directthe spruce