Species: Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora
Common name: Desert cabbage
The genus Kalanchoe includes more than 100 plants, but only a few are regularly seen in cultivation. Kalanchoes are native to arid areas, and they are popular succulents. Modern hybrids are valued for their interesting leaf-forms or for their flowers. Like poinsettias and holiday cactus, kalanchoes are staples of the holiday and florist trade.
Flowering Kalanchoes are available in red, pink, yellow, or white. Because they bloom in response to the length of daylight, they can be encouraged to bloom even during the darkest days of winter. Like many succulents, these are not difficult plants to grow, providing you are careful with the water, especially in the winter.
Water moderately throughout the summer and reduce watering in the winter. Let the soil surface dry out between waterings, and in the winter, the plant can almost dry out – they thrive in the low humidity of winter households. Watch the fleshy leaves for signs of water distress.
Every 5-7 days
They prefer bright, sunny locations, especially during the summer growing season. During the winter, consider a south-facing window.
An ordinary potting soil mix is fine.
Temperature and humidity
They prefer warmth. Do not let fall below 55 F.
Feed bi-weekly in the summer with a liquid fertilizer, or use slow-release pellets.
Many kinds of Kalanchoe will produce tiny plantlets along the leaf margins that can be individually potted up. These types include K. pinnata—the air plant—and K. beharensis. The more popular Kalanchoe—K. blossfeldiana and K. manginii—can be propagated by leaf cuttings or tips. To propagate by cuttings, sever a section of a few inches long at the beginning of the growing season and replant in warm, moist soil. Consider bagging up the cuttings to increase their chance of rooting and keep in moisture.
K. blossfeldiana: By far the most popular Kalanchoe, with large flower heads in a variety of colors. They are forced into flower throughout the year, although they naturally flower in spring.
K. manginii: Bears large, pendant flowers.
K. porphyrocalyx: Also bears pendant flowers. It makes an excellent hanging plant.
K. beharensis: Prized for its large, velvety, donkey-eared leaves in pale silvery green.
K. pinnata: Fleshy, green leaves that bear tiny plantlets along the margins. Known as the Mother of Thousands.
Pests and diseases
The plant has leaves that aphids find appealing, as do mealybugs (photo 1) and scale (photo 2) insects. The mealybugs can be removed with a swab and rubbing alcohol. Scale insects and aphids (photo 3) must be picked off.
This plant also hates having soaking-wet soil for long, as this can cause it to develop root rot.
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