Celebrated for their long-lasting flowers and beautiful foliage, kalanchoe plants are perennial evergreens. They typically grow about 2 feet tall and wide with scalloped leaves. Kalanchoe flowers sprout large, upright clusters of small flowers that range in color from shades of orange and red to smooth, creamy sherbet and pink colors. Kalanchoe is the perfect plant for container gardening, but it is prone to certain problems.
Kalanchoe plants show tremendous sensitivity to cold temperatures. Too-low temperatures can cause the blooms and leaves to become soft and damaged; too-high temperatures can cause wilting. Kalanchoes grow best when temperatures remain in the 60 degrees F to 85 degrees F range; a few, short hours of temperatures in the 40 degrees F range can mean a quick death for this plant. The best approach is to plant it in a pot or other container. This way, you can move the plant inside when cold temperatures arrive. Repot the plant each year with fresh soil in the late spring or early summer.
Kalanchoe plants are super-sensitive to ethylene gas. Sources of ethylene gas include cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust, and fruit. This gas can be detrimental to the health of your kalanchoe. It causes the blooms to fade and dry out or fail to open altogether. Ethylene gas can also cause the foliage to turn yellow and begin to drop. Protect the health of your kalanchoe by keeping it safe from ethylene exposure.
Kalanchoe is a light-loving plant. Inadequate light can cause the leaves to look drab. Place your kalanchoe in an area of bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid leaving the plant in direct summer sunlight for extended periods of time, as this can cause the leaves to burn. Allowing kalanchoe to receive direct sunlight from fall to early spring will not harm it.
Kalanchoe requires plenty of water, but overwatering can be injurious to the plant. Water kalanchoe when the soil feels dry, just until it feels moist to the touch, and avoid wetting the leaves with the water as this can cause bacterial and fungal problems. Keep a close eye on the condition of the soil moisture to prevent it from becoming very dry. A dried-out kalanchoe will take time to look nice again.