Kalanchoe is a popular plant for landscapes and indoor gardening. Most of us know it as the compact plant with small, bright blooms that we find in garden centers each spring. Kalanchoe is actually a large group of many different succulent plants.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is the variety commonly found in most garden centers. Different cultivars of this plant produce blooms in various colors including pink, red and yellow. The small flowers appear atop foliage of succulent stems and leaves. Depending on the cultivar, this plant usually reaches 1 ½ feet in height. This variety of kalanchoe needs little water and grows best where it can receive full sun. In particularly hot and sunny climates, this variety requires some shade to protect it from sunburn. Fertilize with a product approved for use in houseplants and keep the plant dry over winter. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a slow grower; it may take a year for the plant to fill a 5-inch container.
Bryophyllum daigremontianum, also known as Mother of Thousands, is a lesser known variety of kalanchoe that produces slender, violet-orange flowers with yellow rims. The blooms are just over ½-inch long and the plant dies after producing them. The plant can reach 3 feet in height and has 6-inch, triangular leaves with bumpy edges. This variety of kalanchoe grows best in light shade and is exceptionally heat resistant. Water it regularly and protect it from frost. In some areas, particularly in frost-free locations, Bryophyllum daigremontianum is considered a weed.
Panda plant, also called pussy ears, is a subshrub variety of kalanchoe. It produces 2-inch long leaves with fuzz and blotches on the leaf edges. The fuzz color varies with some varieties producing yellow fuzz and some producing brown fuzz. Some varieties produce yellow-green flowers. Grow panda plant in an area of light shade. In particularly hot climates, plant it in a shady location to protect it from too much sun. Panda plant requires little water and should be kept dry over winter.
Bryophyllum uniflorum is a trailing variety of kalanchoe. It can reach 16 inches in height with colorful, inch-long flowers that appear at the end of winter. Place it in an area of light to full shade. This variety requires only infrequent watering, but should be watered thoroughly each time. Bryophyllum uniflorum is a popular plant for hanging baskets.