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Growing Kalanchoe for Multi-Seasonal Pleasure

Written by Mindy on November 22nd, 2012

A kalanchoe is a unique plant that can be found in nurseries during the holiday season and in the bedding plant section of many superstores as a landscape and/or container plant.  This plant is considered a succulent that can be used not only as a houseplant and a landscape plant but also in hanging baskets.

The kalanchoe itself can be propagated in several ways.  It is easily grown from seed, can be started through a leaf or tip cutting and in some varieties can be started from plantlets that form along the leaf margin.  Regardless of how you start the plant, placing it in a well-drained soil is one of the keys to growing success.

Once your kalanchoe has started, move them to a brightly lit window that is south-facing during the winter months.  In the summer, your kalanchoe will need to be placed in a sunny location.  When choosing a location or planning to move your plant outdoors, keep in mind that this plant does not do well in temperatures that dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since the kalanchoe is considered a succulent, watering can be an issue.  During the summer months, this plant should be watered depending on the amount of natural rain available.  In the winter, water should be reduced so that the plant has a chance to dry out between watering but watch the leaves for a clue on the plans needs.  Leaf dropping can be an indication of too much water while wrinkling up can be an indication that the plant needs to be watered.

Kalanchoe will need to be feed a balanced fertilizer during the spring and summer months.  Fertilizing during this time should only occur every two weeks.

After your plant has bloomed, prune back the flower stalk and continue with its care.  If you bring your plant indoors during the winter months and want it to bloom again take care in the amount of light it receives.  Kalanchoe blooming schedule is triggered by the amount of sunlight that it is exposed too.  In this example, the kalanchoe is what is called a short-day plant.  To force a kalanchoe to bloom is easy but it does take some time.  You will need to count back the number of weeks before you want your plant to bloom.  If you want it to bloom for Thanksgiving, as an example, count back six weeks from this date.  Once you have the date, allow the plant to dry out a little and cover with a cardboard box.  Do not use a plastic bag.  This will cause the plant to sweat and rot.  Keep it covered for at least 14 hours, and then allow it to have sunlight.  Continue to do this until you begin to see blooms form.  Once you see this, place the plant in a sunny location and continue with its care.

What makes a kalanchoe a wonderful landscape plant is the same thing that makes them a great houseplant.  This wonderful characteristic is their colorful blooms.  With a little care and time, your kalanchoe will reward you with many years of colorful blooms.


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