Kalanchoe plants are pretty dry garden bloomers known for their bright colorful flowers. They’re great succulent plants for dry landscapes or as houseplants in container gardens indoors. Kalanchoes are in the Crassulaceae or, Stonecrop family. Most varieties are perennial and evergreen.
One of the most popular form of kalanchoe species grown today is kalanchoe blossfeldiana and its many hybrid plants. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana plants grow up to 2 feet tall and as wide. They have large, leathery leaves about 2 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. The leaf edges are usually lightly scalloped and may have a slight tint of red or other color. Some hybrid plants have smooth edges and different colors on the leaf.
Flowers bloom in upright, large clusters from 2 to 3 inches across, and are made up of small daisy like flowers of 5 petals. The stamens are usually yellow and can stand out brightly depending on the flower color. Flower colors can range from white, yellow, orange, red, pink and everything in between. Flowers can also be creamy, dreamy pastels, or have flowers with more than one color, but kalanchoe blossfeldiana are mainly known for neon bright colors. These drought tolerant plants make a bold statement in the garden with their glowing, bright flower colors. Bloom is heaviest in spring, but they can bloom all year with a little feeding of fertilizer after the first bloom.
Care of kalanchoes outdoors is easy in mild winter areas. They are hardy to USDA Zone 10b, or 35 degrees, (Sunset Zone: 17, 21-24), These plants can take full sun to part shade in the garden. Outdoors, if it gets over 100 degrees for more than a few days, or your plants develop brown spots it may be getting sunburn. Either move the pots, or provide a little shade during the hottest part of the day. Indoors they prefer a bright windowsill with lots of light. Indoors, place plants near a bright window.
Kalanchoes are popular gifts during the winter and make nice housewarming presents. If you are lucky enough to receive one the first thing you might want to do is see if the soil is dry. If so, give your plant some water and let it drain in the sink. Then move them outside if you are in a mild winter area, or to a windowsill if it is cold outside.
Seeds saved from hybrid plants will not grow out to look the same as the parent plants. It is much easier to propagate kalanchoe with leaf or stem cuttings. Place the cuttings in damp soil, and keep the soil moist for the first two weeks. After that, let the soil dry out between waterings.
Water requirements are low. They can take average garden water, but will also grow well with much less. In my garden a few plants are out in a section with the natives and other drought tolerant plants and they do quite well. To avoid root rot, let the soil dry out before you water them again.
Kalanchoe plants also do well in container gardens. Since they can handle drought, they are a bit more forgiving than other plants if you forget to water them! They look great on the patio or as a focal point on your table.