The inevitable Kalanchoe marnieriana

I saw this plant listed online at House of Plants and couldn’t stop thinking about it for three days. So I finally went in to get it–and when I saw it in person, it was cute, but I was just not quite sure if it was what I wanted. After chatting with the owner, she mentioned that most people would probably find the peperomia hope an easier plant–due to the likelihood to overwater the kalanchoe. So I went home with a peperomia hope, which is also trailing and has these round, succulent leaves. And I was like, This is maybe an even cuter plant and I shall be content.

But then, on the drive home, I was tempted three times to do a U-turn and go back for it. I resisted.

The next day, I was tempted to drive over again, walk through the doors, and give a fake, light-hearted, “Ha ha! I am back! I just can’t resist that plant!” and imagined getting a half-smiled “ha-ha sure…” in response (because clearly I care too much and am pretending not to). And again, I resisted.

Finally, either that night, or the one after, I had a nightmare, a legit nightmare, that I could no longer get the plant. Not getting the plant led to some pretty dark stuff. There was even an imposter plant. And this time, when I woke up, I decided that resistance is futile and I just really like kalanchoes, OK? So I went back and got it and now it’s all mine.

You remind me of the babe…

  • Binomial name: Kalanchoe marnieriana
  • Given name: Jareth, because at this point, why not
  • Native to: moist, rocky environment in northeast Madagascar
  • Bought: July 28, 2021 at House of Plants
  • Original pot: 6 inch plastic hanging pot

Field notes–Aug 27, 2021

  • Soil: moist; last watered 11 days ago. Needs better draining soil.
  • Light:
    • Noon: ~200 FC
    • 3:20 pm: ~500 FC
  • Longest strand: 42 cm long (already grown since date of purchase)
  • Number of strands: 6 main hanging, 11 new upshoots
  • New growth: Yes! Some little offshoots have grown much larger.
  • Signs of pests:
    • mealy-bug, I think, on a stem
    • red-orange spidery mites in the soil (good or bad?)
    • thrips larvae in the soil? Something there, at any rate.
  • Signs of care issues: wilted leaves, probably due to overwatering
  • Propagation: About three weeks ago, I clipped off some broken stems and set them in a container to propagate. I also started propagating from leaves. The leaves are coming along, but it’s hard to tell how the stems are doing.
  • Repotting:
    • After taking the above pictures, I repotted the plant into a cut-down plastic pot inside a new glazed ceramic hanging planter. I hope if there’s any water in the bottom part of the soil, the ceramic will help to leech it away so it can dry better.
    • 2 parts cactus/succulent mix : 1 part perlite
    • Topped with diatomaceous earth, in case any pests are lingering in the soil that remained on the roots.
A mealybug

Research notes

Atmosphere

  • Light: a lot, but avoid direct sun from later morning to early afternoon
  • Humidity: low
  • Temperature: 20 to 29 degrees Celsius is optimal; do not go below 0

Water

  • Preference: soak and dry method; do not overwater; do not put water on leaves
  • Frequency: when fully dry, when leaves are slightly wrinkled

Soil, fertilization, and pots

  • Soil type: rich in organic matter and well-draining. Mix of clay, sand, pumice, perlite, or something rocky
  • Fertilization: biweekly balanced liquid fertilizer in summer
  • Repotting: after purchase, when prone to infestations, if soil is poor. Otherwise, every 2 years. Glazed or terracorra pots are preferable.
    1. Gently remove from pot and shake to remove excess soil from roots.
    2. Place in fresh medium and don’t water for at least 2 days.

Lifestyle

  • Grow style: fast
  • Maturity: 30 to 60 cm tall, 60 to 90 cm wide (outdoors)
  • Common problems:
    • mealybugs, slugs, snails
    • overwatering
    • too much light (signs: leaves browning)
  • Pruning: not necessary; as desired. Aerial roots can be removed.
  • Propagation:
    • Stem cuttings:
      1. Snip a stem and allow callus to form in a warm, dry place for a couple days.
      2. Place in well-draining soil; water when completely dry.
    • Leaf cuttings
      1. Place cactus/succulent soil on a shallow tray.
      2. Place fallen or snipped leaves on the soil.
      3. Place in indirect light. New growths will form at the edges of leaves.
      4. Water or mist soil to add moisture as needed.

Research sources: Gardenia, Succulents and Sunshine, kalanchoe succulent, Summer Rayne Oakes, Smith Kingston Houseplant Guru Extraordinaire,

Field notes — August 25, 2021

Oxalis triangularis, Leija

Unhappy due to the slight disturbance of having the top layer of soil replaced. Cry cry cry wilt.
  • Soil: moist; watered a couple days ago and then isolated after having seen pests in soil
  • Light: ~500 FC at 3:20 pm
  • Signs of pests: shiny things in the soil
  • Signs of care issues: none
  • Repotting:
    • removed top 1/2 inch of soil
    • refreshed with 1 part perlite : 1 part African violet mix : 1 part worm castings
  • Other care:
    • topped soil with diatomaceous earth as a pesticide

Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’, Argus

Elegant in temporary pot until the wall-mounted one is installed.
  • Light: ~240 FC at 3:20 pm
  • Signs of pests: none
  • Signs of care issues: none
  • Repotting:
    • moved from original pot into custom pot from bubble tea cup (to fit in ceramic wall pocket)
    • 1 part perlite : 1 part African violet mix : 1 part worm castings

Tradescantia zebrina, Audrey Tautou

Well that’s a, erm, haircut for you.
  • Soil: moist; watered a couple days ago and then isolated after having seen pests in soil
  • Light: ~500 FC at 3:20 pm
  • Signs of pests: shiny things in the soil, some leaf damage
  • Signs of care issues: some leaf damage (perhaps due to rough handling), yellowing leaves
  • Propagation: snipped ends off nearly all strands, as they’re quite leggy and I would like a dense little plant. Will be doing water and soil propagation as an experiment.
  • Repotting:
    • removed most of soil, but let what clung to the roots remain
    • refreshed with 1 part perlite : 1 part African violet mix : 1 part worm castings
  • Other care:
    • topped soil with diatomaceous earth as a pesticide

Kalanchoe marnieriana, Jareth

This is a deliberately not-sexy photo because I have such lovely ones coming up for the introduction post for this plant.
  • Soil: moist; watered nine days ago. Aerated soil today with a chopstick.
  • Light: ~500 FC at 3:20 pm
  • Signs of pests:
    • one mealybug
    • shiny coppery tiny things moving in the soil
    • orangey spider mites only on the soil (the mite might have checked on one of the coppery things as it was walking past? So it seemed).
  • Signs of care issues: Some leaf damage (perhaps due to rough handling or watering issues), yellowing, wilted leaves (likely due to overwatering and poor light previously)
  • Other care:
    • topped soil with diatomaceous earth as a pesticide

Grow lights and SAD lamps

I brought up my grow light from downstairs, where it’s usually installed on a shelf for seed-starting and is typically only used in early spring. I thought it would feel make-shift and that I’d dislike the purple-pink cast of the light as it shines over my desk, but it’s not bad!

I’m just happier with something there so that I’m not starving my hoya; I doubt it receives enough light from the nearby window.

I also received three new succulents in the mail yesterday and put the two smallest into this glass cage, which may refract the light they receive and increase it for them? Unsure, but it’s pretty and nice to look at from my desk. Maybe it will encourage me to stretch my neck and look up more often.

Hoya, two succulents, a grow light (mostly hidden), SAD lamp (for me, cause I need light too, OK!), some leaf props in a tray, photo of my grandma and her sisters, and Futurama figurines

I doubt the SAD lamp helped the hoya much, but I am glad for it for myself. Who wants to sit at a desk in so much darkness?

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

Plants. Plants. Plants. Oh my god, plants.

In the modified words of Liam Kyla Sullivan:

Let’s get some plants.
Let’s get some plants.
Let’s get some plants.
Let’s get some plants.

Maybe I got too many? I mean, this whole weekend was all about

Plants.
Plants.
Plants.
Oh, my God, plants.

Like, I:

  • brought my humidifier to the dining room and set it up for the plants. And then my essential oil diffuser (sans oils).
  • checked root systems, removed crunchy leaves/rotting roots, and repotted soleirolia soleirolii, aloe vera, divided oxalis, pothos props, spider plant props, kalanchoe props, and string of dolphin props into terra cotta pots to improve evaporation rate of water
  • repotted calathea lancifolia and philodendron brasil into custom planter pots to fit inside wall-mounted cachepots
  • moved plants around to desired light/humidity areas
  • started eleven other plant-bio stories (since I was already researching ideal light, humidity, and soil conditions, I noted them down and filled out some other bio areas, including capturing photos for most plants)
  • went out to by glass covers for soleirolia soleirolii, salaginella, and calathea ornata (but calaethea ornata didn’t quite fit the container I bought it and might not really need it, so OK for now)
  • searched amazon to order: humidifier, humidistat, activated charcoal for eventual terrarium for salaginella, yellow sticky paper to trap infesting insects, 3-in-1 moisture/light/pH soil meter (surprise! Husband already had just the one I wanted! And he gave it to me.)
  • determined there are spider mites on my jade; treated it and the nearby-sitting string of turtles with a pray bottle of rosemary essential oil + water; moved them to isolation (they should have started in isolation; will know that for future purchases)
  • added cinnamon to wounds on leaves to promote healing (will it work? Recommended by a friend. Excited to see.)

Plants.
These plants rule.
These plants suck.
These plants rule.
These plants suck.

I love them. They are amazing. I hate them. My obsession is killing me. I have no thoughts, no life, except:

Plants.
Plants.
Plants.
Oh, my God, plants.
These plants rule.
Having few plants sucks.
Having not enough plants sucks.
Not buying even one plant that I want sucks!

I also researched more plants to buy. I didn’t… I only added to my online shopping cart in three local stores…

I think you have too many plants.
Shut up!
I think you have too many plants.
Shut up!
I think you have too many plants.
Shut up!
I think you have too many plants.
Shut up!

But… I might have too many plants. They’re all I could think about this weekend. But I’m also happy. So shut up!

Stupid boy.
Stupid boy.
Let’s get some plants.
Let’s party.

Husband is indulging me after years of denying me plants.
I am buying so many.

These plants are three hundred dollars.
These plants are three hundred dollars.
These plants are three hundred fucking dollars.
Let’s get ‘em!

I mean, aren’t they beautiful? I also watched several hours worth of YouTube videos about plants. And rare plants. And plant care. And plant trends.

Um…your room runs small. I don’t think your plants are gonna fit.
I mean, these plants are kinda big.

So I’ll just stick them on more walls! I can put them on the floor — just walk around them! More shelves! More hanging pots! More! More Moooaaaar!

Oh.
Oh.
Oh.
Oh, by the way betch,
FUCK YOU
FUCK YOU
FUCK YOU
FUCK YOU
plants
those plants are mine betch
betch
betch
gimme those fuckin’ plants betch
betch
betch
betch
betch