Today, we are going to learn how to take care and grow the succulent houseplant, Kalanchoe. We will be discussing each in every step in detail. Our planting guide will help you to grow and care for kalanchoe in the best way possible.
Kalanchoe- Understanding the Plant
If you are looking for a succulent houseplant that blooms, well then, the Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a good option. These beautiful plants are easy to grow and care for. You can grow kalanchoe indoors as well as outdoors. They just need proper sunlight and humid conditions to thrive.
Kalanchoe plant is very easy to find. It’s sold in nurseries, grocery stores big box stores, flower shops, and garden shops.
These beautiful plants have flowers in the shades of pink yellow, magenta, red and orange. The foliage of Kalanchoe is quite attractive. The leaves are glossy green and are very big.
Since kalanchoe is very to care for and are resistant to many plant diseases, therefore these are low-maintenance plants. They are a good option to keep in your house. Also, you can even give them as seasonal gifts.
PLANTING The KALANCHOE
Let us have a look at the steps involved in planting Kalanchoes plant one by one.
1. Make a root cutting from an existing plant.
The best and easiest way to grow a kalanchoe plant is by taking a cutting from a fully grown plant.
With the help of a pair of sharp pair of gardening shears, snip off a branch of a fully grown kalanchoe branch. Except for 2 leaves, remove all the leaves present on the lower 2 inches the branch.
2. Let the cutting dry for 3 days.
After removing the leaves, Place the cutting a dry, warm location. You can also place the cutting on a paper towel. Now leave the cutting still for two to three days to dry. This is necessary for the formation of callus at the end of cutting.
3. Dip the end part of the cutting in rooting hormone.
Once the plant cutting has dried, dip the end or bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone. The rooting hormone helps to stimulate the cutting so that the roots develop quickly and healthily.
3. Place the cutting in the soil.
Fill a small pot with well-drained soil. A mix of 60% peat moss and 40% perlite is the best option for potting soil. Make sure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom.
Clay pots are an excellent choice for succulent plants because they provide better circulation of air. After this, make a hole in the soil using a pen or pencil. Place the dried cutting in the hole you made. Cover the cutting with soil up to the first leaf.
Well-drained doesn’t trap too much moisture. Therefore it necessary to make use of it while potting the cutting. You can easily find well-drained soil at nurseries and gardening stores.
Note: Dip the end of cutting only once in the rooting hormone. Otherwise, it may harm the growth of the plant.
4. Water the soil and cover the pot with a plastic bag.
Once you stick the cutting into the pot, lightly water the soil. After that take a large plastic bag, cut few slits in the top, and place the bag over the pot covering it completely.
Using a plastic bag to cover the pot helps in creating a humid environment for the cutting. This ensures proper growth and helps the cutting to flourish.
5. Place the pot near a window receiving indirect sunlight and water occasionally.
Once you have placed the bag over the pot, put the pot on a windowsill or near a window receiving indirect sunlight.
Check the soil once a week to see if it is still moist. If the soil is dry water lightly. Replace the plastic bag back on top of the pot after watering. Until your kalanchoe develops roots, keep it in bright, indirect sunlight. Roots will develop in cutting in 14 to 21 days.
6. Remove the plastic bag off the top after 14 to 21 days.
At this point, you can take the plastic bag off the top of the pot. Even now, you have to keep the pot in a bright sunny place. Water the cutting about once a week or when the soil is dry.
How to Care and Protect Kalanchoe
In part 2, we will tell you about the different steps necessary to protect and care for the kalanchoes
1. Sunlight and Temperature for Kalanchoe
Kalanchoe plants love sunny, bright locations, especially during the summer growing season. They grow very well in moderate to warm temperatures. Also, these plants have no problem growing in indoor temperatures.
During summers, place them near a west or an east window for bright indirect sunlight.
Note: Too much direct sunlight can harm your plant during summer.
During the winter, If the outside temperature drops below 50 Fahrenheit, bring your kalanchoe plant indoors. Now place the plant near a south-facing window for direct sunlight.
2. How often do you Have to Water Kalanchoe?
- Overwatering is the biggest enemy of kalanchoes.
- Water the plant only when the soil is dry. Keep watering the plant until water comes out of the bottom holes of the pot and collects in the drainage tray. Remove the drainage tray and empty it. Again place the tray at the bottom of the pot. Do not ever let the plant sit in water. otherwise, the roots may rot.
- To water again, wait till the soil dries completely. It will take almost a week for it to happen. Water them again by repeating the above procedure.
3. How to Use Fertilizers on Kalanchoe
You can Fertilize your kalanchoe once a month. kalanchoe are self-sufficient plants, but they do benefit from occasional fertilizing. You can use a well-balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20. Read the instructions on the label carefully before applying. Do not over-fertilize the plant. A top-dressing of compost every spring will also do the job.
4. Protect your Kalanchoes from Rain
If your kalanchoes are outdoors, keep them in a place where the rainwater will not enter the pots. Exposure to rainwater may oversaturate them and might even kill the kalanchoe plants.
5. Pruning the Kalanchoe
Once your kalanchoe plant has bloomed, watch out for foliage or dead stalks. If you spot any dead growths, carefully clip them off using a pair of sharp shears just below where the dead growth starts.
For a couple of weeks, reduce the amount of water you give to the plant after cutting dead growths.
Kalanchoe plant tends to get leggy with time. You need to pinch down these plants after flowering. This will help them to keep fuller.
7. Pests and Insects
Kalanchoe is resistant to most insects and diseases. But if raised outside, bugs such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites may infest it.
Also, you can control these insects by applying organic insecticides.
You can also make your own all-natural insecticide by mixing a few drops of sunflower oil, a few drops of dish soap and a liter of water.
Apply the insecticide directly to the infected area.
8. Safe for Pets
My dog is not interested in my house plants. Therefore I do not have have to worry about these plants. But according to the ASPCA website, kalanchoe is toxic to both cats and dogs. Therefore keep these beautiful succulents away from the reach of your pets.
Flowers make this plant very popular. Your kalanchoe plant can flower again in spring or late fall naturally. Just cut the flower stems all the way down. Leave the foliage.
If your kalanchoes are not blooming again, you can force them to do so.
Kalanchoes are photoperiodic. It means that they react to equal periods of light and dark exposure. They need 12-14 hours of complete darkness in order to bloom again.
Put your plants in a room or a closet that receives good light during the day and is pitch black for about 12-14 hours. You have to maintain these conditions for 6 to 8 weeks.
Remember to decrease the watering during this time. When you see buds setting, return these plants to their normal routine.