How to Take Care of Kalanchoes

Overview

Kalanchoe, also known as flaming Katy, is a perennial plant valued for its attractive clusters of flowers and relatively low maintenance requirements. The plant blooms during winter and spring, producing flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow and white. Native to Africa, kalanchoe thrives in USDA zones 10 through 11 outdoors, but is commonly grown as a houseplant in the United States. Gardeners often discard kalanchoe plants after the first flowering, because of the difficulty of forced reblooming. It can be accomplished, however, with proper adjustments to lighting and temperature.

Step 1

Place the kalanchoe in a location that receives six to eight hours of full sunlight throughout the day. Use a growing medium made of well-drained, fertile potting soil. Maintain a temperature of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Step 2

Water once every week, permitting the soil to dry slightly between applications. Never allow the soil to become soggy, as permanent root damage may occur. Apply water directly to the soil to minimize the plant's risk of developing fungal diseases.

Step 3

Feed kalanchoe once per month during spring and summer to provide proper nutrition for root and flower development. Use an all-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer at the rate described by the manufacturer's instructions. Water before and after fertilizing to prevent burning the roots with the influx of nitrogen.

Step 4

Re-pot the plant in a slightly larger container immediately after flowering ends. Use a potting soil consisting of three parts peat moss and two parts perlite for adequate drainage. Remove all old flower stems and cut back tall growth by several inches.

Step 5

Transfer the plant to a sunny, warm window and water once per week throughout winter and early spring. Move kalanchoe to a bright, lightly shaded location outdoors for summer if desired, or leave indoors in bright sunlight. Bring the plant back indoors just before the first frost of fall.

Step 6

Place the plant in a room that receives no artificial lighting beginning on October 1. The only light the plant receives should be natural sunlight. Maintain temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at this time, as temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit can stunt bud formation.

Step 7

Move kalanchoe back into its original location when flower buds are visible above the foliage, after about six weeks of reduced daylight. Resume regular care procedures for the remainder of the plant's life.

Things You'll Need

  • Houseplant fertilizer
  • Container
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite

References

  • Clemson University Extension: Kalanchoe
  • "Florida Gardener's Guide;" Tom MacCubbin and Georgia Tasker; 2002

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: flower kalanchoes, kalanchoe flowers, kalanchoe plants

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.