The Kalanchoe is a succulent originating in Madagascar, but the creeping varieties originated in the rainforests of Brazil and Southeast Asia. There are 125 species of this plant and depending on the variety you choose, they can grow to heights of 2 inches to 8 feet with an equal spread.
Kalanchoe plants are hardy in U.S. Department zones 9 though 11. For those of us who live in zones below 9, this plant can indoors as a houseplant. Originally, the flowers were orange or red. In 1980, Danish and Dutch growers created the plant that graces most households today. The flowers now come in a variety of colors like pink, purple, white and some blooms are even bi-colored. People like to grow this houseplant because in the winter months it blooms a long time.
Before you begin to repot your Kalanchoe, fill a pitcher with tepid water. Allow the water to sit for an hour or so. Kalanchoe plants prefer water that is the same temperature as the environment.
Find the right sized pot. Don’t plant the Kalanchoe in a pot that is too big. Most of the popular Kalanchoe plants sold will fit nicely in a 4-inch pot, but you can grow 6 or 3 plants in a 6-inch pot. Although they prefer a small pot, a larger one gives the plant larger leaves.
Prepare the Pots
Fill the bottom of a clay pot with small pebbles until it is 1 inch deep. Combine potting soil that is contains equal amounts of peatmoss , perlite, and sand. You can also buy cactus potting soil at most garden supply stores. Pour 1/2 inch of potting over the sand.
Remove the Kalanchoe from its container, being careful because the leaves break off easily. Insert the rootball into the pot. Check to make sure that the top of the rootball is 1/2 inch below the rim of the pot. Adjust the soil until you have it at the right height. Fill in around the rootball with the soil mixture. Lightly firm the soil in place to remove air pockets.
Give the Kalanchoe a good soaking with the water you set aside. Allow the excess water to drain away. Even though the Kalanchoe is a succulent, they still need water to survive, but not too much or the roots will rot. To know then the soil needs moisture, feel it with your finger. Water the soil when it feels dry. Do not allow the soil to completely dry out or it will compromise the plant’s growth.
Grow your Kalanchoe in a bright location. During the summer months, take the plant outdoors. Find a sheltered location, out of direct sunlight to prevent sunburned leaves. When the weather cools to 50° Fahrenheit range, take it indoors and place it in a bright window with some direct sunlight until the early spring.
Cut off any spent or faded flowers. After the Kalanchoe has finished blooming, it goes into a period of resting or dormancy. Reduce the amount of water you usually give the plant. When you notice the plant growing, or if you see new buds forming, start watering more frequently.
To increase flower production during the winter months, the Kalanchoe has to through a certain amount of light and dark times. Put the Kalanchoe under a grow light or in a bright window for 8 to 10 hours a day. Then cover the plant with a box, or place the plant in a closet or dark room so it has 10 to 14 hours of darkness. Keep a watch on your plant and when you see flower buds appear, return the plant to it’s normal schedule, and do not cover.
Feed the Kalanchoe with a liquid fertilizer once a month when it is actively growing. Do not fertilize during the dormant months.
University of Vermont Extension: Kalancho blossfeldiana
The “The House Plant Expert”; Dr. D. G. Hessayon Hessayon ; 1980
Ventura County Star: Calandiva Kalanchoe is Simply Irresistible
Super Floral Retailing: Foliage Plant of the Month Succulents
Online Gardener: Caring for Holiday Plants