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.
Kalanchoe Care FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions all about how to best care for kalanchoe house plants.
How do you care for kalanchoe indoors?
Kalanchoe care indoors can be quite straightforward when you follow some essential guidelines. These beautiful succulent plants are known for their vibrant flowers and relatively low maintenance requirements.
- Light: Adequate light is essential for kalanchoe care. Place your kalanchoe near a bright, sunny window where it receives indirect sunlight. A south or west-facing window is usually ideal.
- Temperature: Maintain a comfortable room temperature for your kalanchoe, ideally between 60-85°F (15-29°C). Avoid exposing it to extreme temperature fluctuations, as kalanchoes are sensitive to cold drafts.
- Watering: Proper watering is crucial for kalanchoe care. Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering. Use a well-draining potting mix, and ensure that the pot has drainage holes. When you water, do so thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain away. Avoid leaving your kalanchoe in standing water, as this can lead to root rot.
- Humidity: Kalanchoes are naturally adapted to arid environments and do not require high humidity. Indoor humidity levels are typically sufficient for their needs.
- Fertilization: Feed your kalanchoe with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer) about once a month. Reduce or cease fertilization during the dormant winter months.
- Pruning: Trim dead or faded flowers to encourage more blooming and a neat appearance. Additionally, remove any damaged or leggy growth to maintain the plant’s shape.
- Repotting: Kalanchoes generally prefer slightly crowded root conditions, so repotting is only necessary when the plant has outgrown its container, typically every 2-3 years. Choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one.
- Pest and Disease Control: Keep an eye out for common succulent pests like mealybugs and aphids. If you notice any infestations, treat them promptly with natural pest control methods or insecticidal soap.
- Seasonal Changes: Kalanchoes have a natural growth cycle. They tend to go dormant in the winter, during which they require less water. Reduce watering during this time, but don’t let the soil completely dry out.
- Propagation: If you wish to propagate your kalanchoe, it can be done through stem or leaf cuttings. Allow the cuttings to callus for a day or two before planting them in a well-draining soil mix.
Remember that, like all plants, individual preferences and needs can vary, so closely observe your kalanchoe for any specific care requirements it may have.
How do you keep kalanchoe blooming?
To keep your kalanchoe blooming and vibrant, it’s essential to provide proper kalanchoe care that naturally encourages its flowering cycle. Here are some key tips to ensure a continuous display of those beautiful blooms:
- Optimal Lighting: Adequate light is crucial for kalanchoe care and blooming. Place your kalanchoe near a south or west-facing window to ensure it receives sufficient natural light. The right balance of light is a key factor that triggers kalanchoe to produce flowers.
- Temperature Control: Maintain a consistent temperature as part of your kalanchoe care routine. Kalanchoes tend to bloom best when they experience a temperature drop of about 10-15°F (5-8°C) at night. This natural temperature fluctuation can help trigger blooming.
- Prune Spent Blooms: Regularly deadhead or trim faded flowers as part of kalanchoe care. This encourages the plant to redirect its energy into producing new blooms, rather than seed production.
- Appropriate Fertilization: Fertilize your kalanchoe naturally with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the active growing season in spring and summer. Too much nitrogen can encourage excessive leaf growth at the expense of flowers, so use a fertilizer with balanced nutrients or a slightly higher phosphorus content.
- Watering Routine: Water your kalanchoe properly to support blooming. Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between waterings. Consistent overwatering or underwatering can stress the plant and hinder flowering.
- Seasonal Care: Be mindful of the plant’s natural growth cycle. Kalanchoes often go dormant in winter, during which time they require less water. Reduce watering during this period but maintain the balance for the rest of the year to encourage blooming.
- Control Pests and Diseases: Pests and diseases can stress your kalanchoe and disrupt its blooming. As part of kalanchoe care, regularly inspect your plant for pests like mealybugs and aphids. Treat any issues promptly to ensure optimal health.
- Repot Sparingly: Avoid repotting too frequently, as kalanchoes tend to bloom better when their roots are slightly crowded. Only repot when the plant has clearly outgrown its current container.
- Consider Daylength: Some kalanchoe varieties are sensitive to daylength. To trigger blooming in these plants, you can limit their exposure to light during the day by placing a box or cover over them for about 14-16 hours daily for a few weeks. This simulates shorter days and can induce blooming.
- Patience and Consistency: Remember that kalanchoe blooming can be influenced by natural factors like season and temperature. Be patient and consistent in providing the right care, and your kalanchoe should naturally reward you with colorful flowers.
By following these kalanchoe care practices naturally, you can help your plant consistently produce its striking blooms, adding a touch of beauty to your indoor space.
Does kalanchoe need full sun?
Kalanchoe care involves providing the right amount of light to ensure healthy growth and flowering. While kalanchoes do require ample sunlight, they don’t necessarily need full sun all day. Here’s how you can balance their light requirements naturally:
Kalanchoes thrive when they receive bright, indirect sunlight. A south or west-facing window, where they get several hours of natural light but are shielded from the harsh, direct rays of the sun, is ideal for kalanchoe care.
This allows them to benefit from the necessary light intensity without the risk of scorching their leaves, which can happen with full, unfiltered sun exposure.
In regions with intense summer sun, providing a bit of protection during the hottest part of the day can be a natural part of kalanchoe care.
A sheer curtain or placing the plant slightly away from the window can help filter the light. You can also consider rotating the pot occasionally to ensure even light distribution and prevent one side from becoming pale.
Is a kalanchoe plant indoor or outdoor?
Kalanchoe plants can be both indoor and outdoor plants, and the choice depends on your climate and kalanchoe care preferences. Let’s explore the natural considerations for each setting:
- Indoor Kalanchoe Care:
- Indoor Setting: Kalanchoe is commonly grown as a houseplant. It thrives indoors, where you can more easily control its growing conditions, including light, temperature, and humidity.
- Light Requirements: Indoors, you can provide the bright, indirect sunlight that kalanchoe care demands. Place them near a sunny window, ideally facing south or west, to ensure they receive the right amount of light without direct sun exposure.
- Temperature Control: Indoor environments allow you to maintain a consistent temperature, which can be especially beneficial during the colder months.
- Protection from Harsh Weather: Growing kalanchoes indoors offers protection from extreme outdoor conditions like frost, heavy rain, or scorching sun, which can stress or damage the plants.
- Year-Round Enjoyment: Indoor kalanchoes often bloom in late winter or early spring, providing natural beauty during the duller months.
- Outdoor Kalanchoe Care:
- Outdoor Setting: In regions with a mild, dry climate, kalanchoes can be grown outdoors. They make attractive additions to gardens, patios, or balconies.
- Light Requirements: When planting kalanchoes outdoors, ensure they receive bright, indirect sunlight or partial shade. Too much direct sun can be detrimental to their health.
- Climate Considerations: Kalanchoes can be outdoor plants in areas with mild winters and low humidity. They are sensitive to frost, so it’s important to protect them during colder seasons.
- Natural Rainfall: Outdoor kalanchoes can benefit from natural rainfall, reducing the need for frequent watering, provided the soil is well-draining.
Kalanchoes can thrive in both indoor and outdoor settings, but the choice depends on your location and the natural kalanchoe care conditions you can provide.
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.