Kalanchoe is the name of a group, or genus, of succulent plants in the family Crassulaceae. There are over 125 species of kalanchoe, ranging from small plants to vines and large shrubs, all from arid regions that are frost-free.
Florists use Kalanchoe blossfeldiana as a colorful, small potted plant year round, but especially in winter and spring. Although this species is perennial, lasting for several seasons, it does not tolerate freezing winter temperatures common in most outdoor gardens in the United States. Many varieties of this species are available, with an array of flower colors, leaf shapes and tones.
Herb-like Perennial Plants
Mother-of-thousands, Kalanchoe delagoensis, and chandelier plant, Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri, are two examples of perennial species. These two plants are herbaceous, never growing woody stems or trunks. They prosper in warm, fast-draining sandy soils in full sunlight exposures. They flower copiously in winter, creating many seeds.
Taller growing kalanchoe that can form wood or firm, wood-like stems or trunks are regarded as shrub-like or a "small tree." Also intolerant of freezing temperatures, the felt bush, Kalanchoe beharensis, is particularly ornamental because of the silvery, felted leaves and antler-like branches.
Although more than 100 species exist of kalanchoe, few are encountered in garden settings. Some of the more common ornamental kalanchoe include lavender scallops (Kalanchoe fedtschendtkoi), yellow kalanchoe (Kalanchoe grandiflora), panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) and flapjacks or pancake plant (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora).
Historically, the plant genus Kalanchoe was once called Bryophyllum, a name no longer used as the botanical classification, but can still arise in literature or discussion. For example, air plant, Kalanchoe pinnata, was once only referred to as Bryophyllum pinnatum.
- "Tropical Flowering Plants;" Kirsten Albrecht Llamas; 2003
- "A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants;" Edited by Christopher Brickell and H. Marc Cathey; 2004
- Learn2Grow.com: Kalanchoe species and cultivars
kalanchoe, succulents, arid plants
About this Author
James Burghardt became a full-time writer in 2008 with articles appearing on Web sites like eHow and GardenGuides. He's gardened and worked professionally at gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He holds a graduate diploma in environmental horticulture from the University of Melbourne, Australia and a Master of Science in public horticulture from the University of Delaware.