You'll find kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana), a brightly colored houseplant, for sale during the late winter and early spring. This popular potted succulent needs very little attention. Its dark-green, scalloped, waxy leaves set off clusters of small flowers in a range of colors. The kalanchoe originally is from Madagascar. It prefers full sun (though it will tolerate bright light) and a well-drained potting soil. Because kalanchoe is a succulent, water only when the soil is dry to the touch. Too much water will rot the plant. Kalanchoe can grow in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11, but anywhere cooler it must remain a houseplant.
Red and Magenta
Red kalanchoe varieties include Arjuno (red), Kawi (rose red), Nemo (dark red) and Zion (orange red). Magenta varieties include Pellinore (fuchsia), Mount Rushmore (purple pink) and Bromo (violet).
Orange varieties include Carmen (orange), Klabat (orange with a yellow eye), Patty (orange pink) and Zion (orange red).
Pink varieties include Brava (pink), Keruna (light pink), Nadia (salmon) and Shasta (light pink).
Yellow varieties include Beta (yellow), Riet (golden yellow), Runa (yellow), Milos (yellow-orange), and Yellow Josefine (yellow).
White varieties include Sig, Simone and Snowdon.
Prepare a flower bed or pockets in a rock garden that receives full sun with afternoon shade and has sandy soil. Pop transplants out of their nursery packs in late fall or early winter when temperatures are not expected to drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Kalanchoe bloom for about six weeks, then rest until prompted to bloom by winter's cycle of short days and long nights. Slide your hand over the top of the potted kalanchoe with your fingers parted around the central stem of the plant and your hand against the rim of the pot. Turn the pot on its side gently and pull back the pot. Flowering kalanchoes grow relatively slowly and do not often need repotting. Fill a terracotta pot 2 inches larger in diameter than its current pot with pebbles and a soil mix intended for potting cacti. Pinch off any dark brown or black mushy roots. Firm soil around the pot and water well. Place the pot in a sunny window where it can receive at least four hours of direct sun each day.
- Clemson Extension: Kalanchoe
- JL Plants: Kalanchoe Varieties
- Univerisity of Florida Extension Miami Dade County: Flowerbeds: Some Water-Wise Choices for Miami Dade
- University of Illinois Extension: Plant Palette - Kalanchoe
- Purdue University Extension: Indoor Plant Care
- Bachman's: Kalanchoe
- University of California Marin County Master Gardeners: Low-Water Succulents Offer Textures, Shapes, Colors and Sizes to Enhance Any Garden
- Bluebird Nursery: Rock Garden or Alpine