Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.) is a family of flowering plants with soft, succulent leaves. These plants, which are tropical in nature (the most popular, K. blossfeldiana, is native to Madagascar) are most commonly cultivated as potted, indoor houseplants, according to Auburn University. There are several types, or species, of Kalanchoe, which are desirable for their ease of care, hardy nature, interesting foliage and winter blooming.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is noteworthy for its umbrella-shaped clusters of small, bright flowers that tower over the glossy green leaves. The flowers, which bloom in shades of red, orange, pink or yellow, last a long time--especially for a houseplant, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden website. K. blossfeldiana grows to a height of between 6 inches and 18 inches. This plant thrives in full sunlight and is very drought-tolerant. In fact, K. blossfeldiana should be allowed to dry out between each watering.
Kalanchoe daigremontiana, like K. blossfeldiana, is native to Madagascar, where it can reach up to 3 feet tall in the wild. The plants blooms sporadically with 1-inch long purple flowers. Like most kalanchoes, K. daigremontiana prefers sunny conditions and well-draining soil. This kalanchoe is commonly called "mother of thousands" because its thick, succulent, leaf-like branches are lined at the margins with hundreds of plantlets, or baby plants. The plantlets form roots that drop off the branches and establish themselves in the soil. They can easily be plucked off and established in new pots. Take care when handling this plant, however, as it is poisonous, according to the University of Oklahoma, and should not be grown around young children or pets.
K. beharensis is often called the "elephant's ear" kalanchoe for the shape of its large, flat leaves. This is one of the largest kalanchoe species, reaching up to 12 feet in height when grown in its native environment on Madagascar. The small yellow flowers are insignificant in light of the distinctive foliage, which is rusty-colored on top and silvery gray underneath. This plant thrives on neglect, according to the University of Oklahoma. In fact, over-watering is one of the main causes of injury to this kalanchoe. The plant should be kept in full sunlight and left to thoroughly dry out before it is watered.
This kalanchoe is distinctive in that, rather than having clusters of flowers, it features single blooms that hang from gracefully arching branches. The leaves are small--only a half-inch to an inch in diameter--and not nearly as showy as the flowers, which are a bright, reddish-orange in color. This plant, which needs a lot of sun and well-draining soil like all kalanchoes, is also desirable for the fact that it blooms profusely. For these reasons, K. uniflora is often used in hanging baskets.