I love the diversity and beauty of hardy desert plants that are available to gardeners in California. One of these plants that keep showing up in my little garden are kalanchoes. Since I have several of these in varying stages of growth, I thought I would write a blog about kalanchoe care.
I’ve seen several variations of these plants. I will be focusing on the types of kalanchoes with pretty little flowers, some that look like tiny roses. During my research I’ve discovered there are many types of kalanchoes.
This blog will be about the popular houseplant kalanchoes. I keep these outside but see many indoors as well. I may write about the other types in the near future as well.
Kalanchoe plants are originally from the small island of Madagascar, off the coast of Eastern Africa. They are also native to many parts of Africa. Somehow, they made their way to sunny Southern California.
There are over 100 species of Kalanchoe and this hardy plant comes in a variety of colors. They can be bought at different life stages and sizes. I personally like buying these as small as possible, so they have plenty of time to grow in my small balcony garden.
I love being able to spend only a few dollars to add beauty and color to my balcony garden by purchasing small plants such as these. Since my blog is all about saving money and space, I highly recommend purchasing a kalanchoe and see how you like it!
In N Out
Kalanchoe plants can be grown indoors or outside. Some grow better in either area, based on what zone they are in. Make sure to take note what growing zone you live in before planning on where to place your kalanchoe.
You may also want to experiment with how your kalanchoe responds to indoor light verses outdoor light. They might prefer one setting over the other.
To Pot or Not to Pot
Kalanchoe grow well in the ground and in pots. Since my garden is a container only garden, I will only focus on how to grow kalanchoe in containers.
Containers need to have holes in them for water drainage. Also make sure the soil you use is the well draining kind.
For most of my plants I use Miracle Grow’s soil for flowering potted plants. I’m sure others work just as well, but I have the most luck with this soil. I also have Miracle Grow’s soil for succulents and may try this in the future too.
Kalanchoes can grow in any sized container. Make sure the container is large enough to let the kalanchoe grow. This may be part of my problem, as I have all my kalanchoes in smaller pots since I bought them when they were small and most are starting to get a little big for their containers.
Sunny Days are Here
Kalanchoe care also includes plenty of sun, either direct sunlight or near a window with lots of sunshine. I may need to move mine in the shade or indoors, since too much sun seems to dry them out too much.
Kalanchoes are popular house plants and many nurseries sell them in their indoor and outdoor garden sections. I keep mine outside since my cat is known for sneaking a few bites from plants I’ve had indoors.
I love color and one of the many things I like about Kalanchoes are the many colors the flowers can come in. My kalanchoes are red, yellow, white and orange, but they also come in pink and variations of the colors I already have. I recently found some at Home Depot that were two colors and beautiful!
Since kalanchoes are drought tolerant plants, they do not need to be watered frequently. I have heard its best to let them dry out between watering them. I am still trying to figure out how many times a week to water my kalanchoes, since a few are drying out with no flowers while the others are thriving.
Just like other plants, kalanchoes need to be fertilized periodically. I use fertilizer sticks that easily dissolve when the soil is wet. I might need to switch to a succulent friendly fertilizer for my kalanchoes, since the fertilizer I use is for flowering plants and not specifically for desert plants.
More Flowers Please
Its best to keep kalanchoes in as much sunlight as possible to continue to produce flowers. I’m still trying to figure this out, since several of my kalanchoes have stopped growing flowers. I would move the plants that have no flowers in a sunnier place, but other kalanchoes in the same area are still producing flowers.
I’ve heard that I might need to trick my kalanchoes into flowering again, based on the amount of sunlight I give them. I’m still trying to work out how to do this with some of my plants.
UPDATE: All but one of my kalanchoes are blooming for me again! They have had partial to full sun all year, with light watering from time to time. One is still being stubborn!
Its best to prune the plants once the flowers wilt. Cutting off the dead flowers will encourage new growth of the plant in general and new flowers. The plant will then be able to focus on new growth (hopefully).
As I said before, kalanchoes can be purchased in various stages of growth and size. I bought and planted my red kalanchoe at the beginning of the year, and then it was only about 3 inches tall. Kalanchoes can grow to be over a foot tall. They can also spread out if planted in the ground.
Kalanchoes are great and diverse plants that grow wonderfully indoors and out. They make a great addition to a succulent garden, as well as any garden. I’m all about color, so these little plants go well in my colorful container garden.
I hope you learned something new about kalanchoe care. I’m still learning as I go. If you know something about how to care for kalanchoe plants that I did not include here, then feel free to add your own tips in the comments section below.