Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

kalanchoe-2002.jpgKalanchoe blossfeldiana is a durable
flowering succulent that requires little
maintenance and can be grown either
indoors or outdoors.

Their fleshy, dark shiny green leaves will reach 3 inches (7.7 cm) long by up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) wide with lobed edges.

Floral colors range from the traditional red to yellows, oranges, salmon, to pink and almost any color in between.

They start blooming in December and last 6-8 weeks.

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana need full sun to high interior lighting, with a well drained soil mix.

The plants are well watered and allowed to dry somewhat in between waterings.

During the growing season (spring and summer), the plants are fertilized every month with a balanced fertilizer.

Beginning in the fall, the plants require 14 hours of continuous darkness every day to promote blooming. During this period, no fertilizer is used. I've never used this method and they always bloom like crazy for me . . . even the container plants that live in my carport where the light is never turned off.

After the plants have bloomed, they should be cut back to promote new growth and fertilized every 2 weeks. Keep plants trimmed to encourage compact and bushy growth.

Cut the blooms off the plant when the flowers start to fade . . . air dry to harvest the seeds. My method is to sprinkle seed where I want them to grow . . .

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is easily propagated from cuttings in the spring. Cuttings should be 2-3" long with two pairs of leaves. Leaves are removed from the lower one or two nodes and inserted into the medium . . . no rooting hormone is needed. A good rooting medium consists of 1 part peat to 1 part perlite or sand . . . stick cuttings into final containers.

This is one of my favorite plants because of the brilliantly colored flowers, they are tolerant of neglect and so easy to propagate . . . I'd love to have a mass planting of this and will probably take lots of cuttings and throw out lots of seed this spring so I can.



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