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Kalanchoe Plant Care Guide

Close-up of a kalanchoe plant with red blooming flowers

Many houseplants light up indoor spaces with bright vegetation or cascading leaves, but kalanchoe plants bring beautiful foliage and flowers indoors. These plants feature thick, succulent-like leaves and stems topped with clusters of small flowers. And not only are kalanchoe plants beautiful, but they’re also easy to care for! Keep reading to learn our helpful tips on kalanchoe plant care.

About Kalanchoe Plants

Kalanchoe plants consist of multiple species of plants in the Kalanchoe genus. Many of these plants are native to Madagascar, but some originated in other tropical areas in Africa.

Although there are many Kalanchoe species, one reigns supreme when it comes to houseplants. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, also known as flaming Katy, Christmas kalanchoe and widow’s thrill, is beloved due to the numerous flower clusters it produces and fleshy leaves with scalloped edges. And since it remains between 12 and 18 inches tall, it’s small enough to fit on bookshelves, desks, and windowsills.

Since kalanchoe plants are native to tropical regions, they can’t tolerate cold or frost. Therefore, people often grow them as potted houseplants rather than garden plants. However, you can grow them outdoors if you live in USDA hardiness zone 10 and above.

It’s important to note that all parts of kalanchoe plants are toxic to both dogs and cats. So exercise extreme caution if you have critters at home.

Kalanchoe Care Indoors

If you want to grow a kalanchoe plant indoors, select the proper environment and provide the right care. We’ve outlined a bunch of tips and tricks on the best kalanchoe care below:

Select a Container

Since kalanchoe plants grow just over a foot tall and a foot wide, you can get away with growing these plants in relatively small pots. Select a container that is about a foot tall and a foot wide, and check to make sure it has drainage holes. The planter’s material isn’t important—these plants grow well in terra cotta, glazed ceramic, plastic, and more.

Choose a Well-Draining Potting Mix

Due to their succulent-like leaves, kalanchoe plants can withstand dry soil and periods of drought. Yes, that means they’re perfect for forgetful plant parents! However, they hate sitting in wet soil and will protest wet conditions with limp and discolored leaves.

That means that you must plant your kalanchoe plant in a well-draining soil mix. While these plants may grow okay in a generic houseplant potting mix, they are happier in a mix designed for succulents and cacti.

Provide Lots of Light

Kalanchoe plants will look their best when they receive lots of light. While these plants can survive in darker areas, they’ll likely become leggy and experience difficulty producing flowers. Therefore, supply at least eight hours of bright, indirect light. Indoor plants are often happiest next to a south-facing window. However, you can also place them near a west-facing window or in a sunroom.

If you don’t have a bright enough spot for these plants, you can supplement light with a grow light. Leave the light on for eight to ten hours each day, and turn it off at night.

Keep Soil on the Drier Side

Remember that kalanchoe plants can tolerate a fair bit of drought, so you don’t have to worry about keeping their soil constantly moist. Instead, you should let the soil dry out a bit in between waterings. Although the temperature, humidity, and soil mix can all impact how often you should water, aim to water your kalanchoe plant about once every one to two weeks.

You can use your finger to check the soil moisture level and determine if you need to water. If the top two inches of soil feel moist, hold off on watering. And if the soil feels dry, go ahead and water.

When you water your kalanchoe plant, provide a slow, steady stream of water until all of the soil is moist. Empty any water that’s escaped from drainage holes and collected in a catch dish.

Provide Warmth

Kalanchoe plants aren’t too picky when it comes to humidity, but they like warm temperatures. Keep the plants in an area with an air temperature between 60–85°F and avoid any drafts. That means keeping the plants away from poorly insulated windows, AC vents, and fireplaces.

Take Note of Daylight

While many plants produce flowers in the spring or summer, kalanchoe plants bloom in the winter. That’s why these plants often go by the name Christmas kalanchoe.

So, what causes the plants to flower? Although you may guess cold temperatures trigger flowering, long nights are the cause. These plants require six weeks of 14-hour nights before they can flower. So if you utilize a grow light, make sure to keep it on for no more than 10 hours in the winter.

Common Kalanchoe Pests and Diseases

While kalanchoe plants are pretty easy to care for, they’re still susceptible to various pests and diseases. Keep an eye out for the following problems and act when necessary.

Sap-Sucking Pests

The most common pests of kalanchoe plants are tiny sap-sucking critters like aphids, thrips, spider mites, and scale. Although these pests are different species, they all use their mouthparts to pierce kalanchoe plant leaves and suck their sap. A few pests won’t cause major issues, but larger numbers can lead to discolored leaves and weakened plants.

If you notice these pests on your plants, wipe them off with a soapy rag. You can treat larger infestations by spraying them with insecticidal soap or neem oil. 

Root Rot

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: kalanchoe plants hate sitting in wet soil. If these plant’s roots sit in moisture, they are more likely to develop a fungal infection known as root rot. Although various pathogens can cause root rot, they all lead to discolored and soft roots. These infected roots cannot take up water and nutrients, so plants often appear wilted.

While the plants may appear dehydrated, the last thing you want to do is water them more. Instead, you should remove the plant from its planter and inspect the roots for signs of damage. Trim off infected portions and repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil mix. Decrease the amount you water, and your plant should recover.

Types of Kalanchoe Plants

Although Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a common houseplant, it’s not the only type of kalanchoe plant you can grow indoors. The following species in the Kalanchoe genus also make excellent houseplants.

Kalanchoe tomentosa: Also known as the panda plant or chocolate soldier, this kalanchoe has fuzzy mint-green leaves with maroon dotted edges. Its leaves grow in a rosette around the stem.

Kalanchoe daigremontiana: More commonly known as mother of thousands, this kalanchoe plant produces hundreds (or thousands) of planets along its leaf margins. Each leaflet can grow into a mature plant, meaning you can develop an impressive collection of plants.

Kalanchoe beharensis: The bottom of this plant’s large leaves are covered with short hairs, leading to the common names felt bush and elephant’s ear kalanchoe.

Enrich Your Life with Plants

Whether you’re looking to brighten your home office with a touch of nature or want to add beauty to your living room, a potted plant is always the right choice. Now that you know the best kalanchoe plant care tips, you’re ready to add one to your home! However, they’re not your only option when it comes to houseplants.

We offer a variety of plants for delivery, so you can find an option that fits your environment, taste, and budget. If you’re looking for a seasonal favorite, order a poinsettia and learn all about caring for poinsettia. And if you want a plant that shines throughout the year, check out our guide on anthurium plant care. No matter what plant you end up with, The Bouqs Co. is here for you on your journey.

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