Melinda's Low Maintenance Plants: Kalanchoe


Bright colors with the minimal care of a succulent...

Beauty, durability and low maintenance make kalanchoe a perfect choice for your home or office.  Its colorful red, magenta, pink, orange, yellow or white blooms are sure to brighten your day, while its easy care nature requires minimal effort.

Grow your kalanchoe in a cool bright location out of the reach of pet cats, dogs and birds. You’ll prolong flowering with cool temperatures between 50 and 70° F during the day and cooler, 45 to 60° F, at night.

Trim flowers once they fade and wait a few weeks. You just might be rewarded with a second flush of blooms.

Water these succulents thoroughly but only when the potting mix is dry. Overwatering these drought tolerant plants leads to root rot and eventually death.  Make sure the plant does not sit in excess water that collects in the decorative foil, basket or saucer.

Once the plants are done flowering you can grow them as a houseplant in a sunny window.  Transplant them into a slightly larger container filled with a well-drained potting or cacti and succulent mix.  Remove the old flower stems and trim back taller stems, making the cut just above a set of healthy leaves.

Watch for weak spindly growth that indicates your plant needs more light. Consider supplementing with artificial lights if your houseplants are struggling in the limited light indoors.

Summer your plants indoors in a sunny window or outdoors in a lightly shaded location. Check the soil moisture daily and water thoroughly whenever the soil is dry. Fertilize actively growing plants with a dilute solution of flowering houseplant fertilizer.

Move the plants back indoors, if needed, before the first fall frost.

Rebloom your kalanchoe just like you would a poinsettia. Grow in a sunny window during the shorter days of fall and winter.  Make sure plants are kept in total darkness for 14 to 16 hours each night. Cooler nights, slightly drier soil and the dark treatment will initiate flowers.  Once you can see the flower buds through the foliage you can stop the dark treatment.  Begin forcing kalanchoes into bloom in early October for flowers the following January.


And if this sounds like too much work, find a gardening friend to adopt your kalanchoe for their indoor garden. That way you can try a new variety or two to enjoy.


Kalanchoe at a Glance

Name: Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe species and hybrids)

Size: Miniature to 12”

Light: Full sun, near a sunny south-, east- or west-facing window

Water: Thoroughly when top few inches of soil are dry

Fertilizer: Once or twice a year in spring then summer needed

Soil: Well-drained potting mix or Cacti and succulent mix