The name Kalanchoe designates many succulent plants belonging to the eponymous botanical genus and the family of Crassulaceae. By far the most commonly sold variety is the Kalanchoe de Bossfeld (Kalanchoe bossfeldiana), very appreciated for its generous flowering and its ease of cultivation. Let’s see how to plant and care for this pretty succulent native to Madagascar.
Planter un Kalanchoe
In most of our regions, we generally plant the Kalanchoe en pot to keep it inside. It needs lots of light, but it’s best not to place it too close to a south-facing bay window because behind glass, direct sunlight can end up disturbing even this tough succulent.
Planting the Kalanchoe does not pose no particular difficulty.
- Choose a medium-sized pot with a pierced bottom,
- Lay a drainage layer at the bottom of the pot (gravel, clay pebbles),
- Install the plant in a substrate composed of potting soil for succulents or potting soil mixed with a little gravel or even medium-grained sand,
- Cover the root ball well with potting soil,
- Water moderately.
You can repot your Kalanchoe in the pot of your choice as soon as you buy the plant, but only if it is not flowering.
Entertain a Kalanchoe
The Kalanchoe is undemanding and is therefore suitable for everyone, even people who have little time to devote to their plants.
When the Kalanchoe is totally deflowered, it is recommended to repot it. We choose a pot slightly larger than the previous one. Repotting is essential for the plant to last longer. Ideally, it is repotted every year in autumn.
When the succulent has reached its final size, it is no longer necessary to change the container. Repotting is therefore done in the same pot, it is useful for replace the potting soil devitalized by something new.
It is necessary that add regular fertilizer, at the rate of once every four weeks when the Kalanchoe is about to bloom and during the entire flowering period. Fertilizer must stop as soon as there are no more flowers to allow the plant to enter a period of vegetative rest, between October and February. You can use a flower plant fertilizer to be diluted in the irrigation water.
Take out your Kalanchoe in the summer
This succulent plant does not tolerate frost. We are therefore waiting for the risk of frost to be completely eliminated before placing it outside. until the end of September.
The rest of the time, the Kalanchoe should be placed away from the cold, either at home or in a heated veranda. The ambient temperature must be at least 18°C.
Pruning is only necessary if the plant, after a few seasons, grows haphazardly. In this case, in the spring, you can reduce the length of its largest stems to give a nice shape to your Kalanchoe.
Propagate by cuttings
It is easy to get several plants from 10 cm pieces of stem taken during the spring. We cut just under a knot. The cuttings should be left to dry for 24 hours and then planted in seedling soil or in a mixture of sand and compost. Then place the cuttings in a very bright room where the temperature is of the order from 21 to 22°C absolutely avoiding direct sunlight. The substrate is kept moist but not excessively. When young Kalanchoe plants have several leaves, they can be repotted.
Pests and diseases
here is a easy-going plant because it is not the prey of parasites and is not susceptible to any disease as long as it benefits from good growing conditions. Only excessive watering exposes it to the risk of gray rot.
Watering a Kalanchoe
Although it is a succulent, the Kalanchoe still has need regular watering, but care must be taken to keep a light hand because excess humidity is detrimental to it. It is best to give it a little water at a time more frequently than to drown it occasionally. It is advisable to wait until the substrate is dry before watering it. In winter, watering about every 12 days is enough (a little more frequently in an overheated environment) while in summer, you have to think about watering it every 3 or 4 days.
In case of’forgetting to water, we quickly see its leaves soften and then die. In this type of situation, it is essential to soak the pot in a container of water for a good hour or two and then let it drain. Care is also taken to remove leaves that have suffered from lack of water.
The Kalanchoe placed outside during the summer needs regular watering and appreciates misting its leaves in the evening when it is very hot.
Flowering of the Kalanchoe
In winter and spring, the Bossfeld Kalanchoe is covered with multiple erect corymbs which are declined in many colors : yellow, pink, red, orange, white, mauve… To enjoy its flowering for a long time, it is necessary to remove faded flowers gradually to stimulate the formation of new inflorescences. To do this, gently cut the peduncle of the faded flowers, taking care not to damage the corymbs in full bloom or in formation.
Finally, if you want make a Kalanchoe bloom again abundantly at any time of the year, the plant can be placed in the dark every day from 4 p.m. until the next morning in order to shorten the diurnal period, and until the appearance of the buds.