Kalanchoe (kalanchoe spp.) and ivy (hedera spp.) are two plants commonly sold together in potted floral arrangements, thanks to the attractive contrast between the ivy's green leaves and the kalanchoe's brightly colored flowers. Both plants are suitable as house plants, and ivy does especially well grown outdoors where it can trail up and over garden structures.
Kalanchoe plants are succulents, meaning they retain high amounts of water in hot conditions. They are characterized by fleshy, thick green leaves and clusters of small, colorful flowers. Kalanchoes usually grow to be several feet tall. Ivy plants are evergreen climbing plants notable for their heart-shaped, lobed leaves, which are either green or variegated green and white or green and yellow. Ivy plants range tremendously in size depending on species, but they can be contained when grown in a pot.
A popular landscaping plant, English ivy (Hedera helix) is a native of Europe. The plant has naturalized throughout the world in temperate regions. Algerian ivy (Hedera canariensis) is a tropical ivy species that hails from North Africa and the Canary Islands. Algerian ivy is a more common sight in subtropical and tropical climates. There are more than a hundred species of kalanchoe, and most species hail from the tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa, particularly Madagascar.
Kalanchoe plants and ivy plants will both grow in partial shade, although kalanchoes generally prefer more sunlight than ivy. Ivy is tolerant of a range of soil types, and both plants will do well in a rich soil with good drainage. As succulents, kalanchoe plants are somewhat drought tolerant, but they should still be watered occasionally. A potted arrangement of both kalanchoes and ivy can be grown indoors in bright, indirect sunlight in a general-purpose potting mix.
Ivy is commonly used as a low-growing groundcover or a trailing vine trained to grow over walls and trellises. Ivy is also frequently used as both an indoor and outdoor topiary plant. Kalanchoe is popular as an ornamental house plant, and the succulent also makes an attractive addition to a rock garden or succulent garden in warm climates.
Kalanchoe and ivy plants are both susceptible to common pests such as mites, mealybugs and aphids. Kalanchoe plants are particularly sensitive to pesticides and insecticides, so treat insect problems with a natural remedy first. Mites and aphids can usually be removed with a steady stream of water, or by dabbing infested areas with a towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. Mealybugs can be plucked off by hand or washed off. Carefully prune away heavily infested leaves, but don't go overboard and harm the plant with over-pruning.