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kalanchoe

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BOTANICAL NAME
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
(kal-an-KO-ee  blos-feld-ee-ah-na)
  (also ka-LAN-ko-ee and ka-LAN-cho)

COMMON NAMES
Flaming Katy, Flaming Katie,
Flaming Kathy/Cathy (also Madagascar widow’s-thrill, Kalekana and Brilliant star)

DESCRIPTION
Kalanchoes are compact shrublike plants, with branching clusters of tiny tubular four-petaled flowers atop stems that grow as long as 12 inches and rise out of a dense base of thick waxy dark-green leaves.

COLORS
Hues include pink, hot pink, red, red-orange, orange, salmon, coral, yellow, lavender, purple and white.

DECORATIVE LIFE
Longevity varies by cultivar and is dependent on environment and care. Bloom cycles last from two to six (or more) weeks, but plants typically can live and rebloom for two or three years (see “Reblooming”).

AVAILABILITY
Kalanchoes are available year-round; however, they were originally introduced as winter flowering plants, available from December through February.

IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Indoors, Kalanchoes require bright light, including some exposure to direct sun (which
     can cause the plants’ leaves to turn reddish). Outdoors, these plants need filtered sunlight.

WATER Because of Kalanchoes’ succulent nature, the soil should be kept on the dry side:
     Drench the soil thoroughly, then allow the surface to become dry before watering again.

TEMPERATURE Indoors, Kalanchoes prefer moderate temperatures—60 F to 75 F. Outdoors,
     they can tolerate temperatures from 50 F to 90 F, depending on season.

HUMIDITY These plants do not require high humidity levels; do not mist them.
FERTILIZER  Feed Kalanchoes with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer every two to four weeks
     while they’re in bloom and/or from May through September.

GROOMING Snip off bloom-bearing stems after the flowers fade.
REPOTTING Repot every year in late spring/early summer (June-July).
REBLOOMING Before Kalanchoes will form new flower buds, they must be kept in complete
     darkness for 14 to 16 hours every day for at least two weeks (and as long as two months)—
     preferably beginning in early fall. The plants can receive moderate light for only eight to 10
     hours each day during this period.

CHALLENGES
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Kalanchoes are sensitive to ethylene gas, but the degree of sensitivity
     varies by cultivar. Exposure to ethylene can cause blooms to fade, dry out or fail to open and
     foliage to turn yellow or fall off. Keep these plants away from sources of ethylene (fruit,
     cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust), and make sure they are treated with an ethylene
     inhibitor at the grower level or during transportation.

PESTS  Aphids, mites, scale and mealybugs can become problems. The first three can be
     eradicated with insecticidal soap if the infestations are caught early on; mealybugs can be
     removed with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol.

DISEASES
Gray mold (Botrytis) can develop if plants are kept too wet and too cool.
FADED BLOOM COLORS/YELLOW LEAVES
These maladies are generally the result of
     insufficient exposure to sunlight or exposure to ethylene gas.


 
 

fun facts


 
 


WHAT'S IN A NAME The genus name Kalanchoe has Chinese derivations; hence, its four
     syllable pronunciation. The specific epithet blossfeldiana was given in honor of Robert
     Blossfeld, a German hybridizer who, in around 1932, introduced the plant in Potsdam
     from its native Madagascar.


FAMILY Kalanchoe is a member of the Crassulaceae (orpine) family. Relatives include jade
     plant (Crassula), hen-and-chickens (Echeveria), stonecrop (Sedum) and houseleek
     (Sempervivum).


HOME SWEET HOME K. blossfeldiana is native to the African island of Madagascar. The
     plant was discovered there in 1927 by French botanist Perrier de la Bâthie.

 


 

Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network®, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
Complete Guide to Conservatory Plants, The, by Ann Bonar
Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, The, by Barbara Pleasant
Dictionary of Plant Names, by Allen J. Coombes
Flowering & Foliage Plants, Book 2, by Debra Terry Graber/The John Henry Company
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Houseplant Encyclopedia, The, by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Kruger
House Plant Expert, The, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
New Pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names, by Florists’ Publishing Company
SAF Flower & Plant Care, by Terril A Nell, Ph.D. and Michael S. Reid, Ph.D.
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T. Stearn

Photo courtesy of The John Henry Company
 

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.