Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
When winter gets us down, the solution is a touch of color in the indoor landscape. Thatís when the bold and brassy kalanchoe comes in handy. This flowering pot plant is available year round. It even makes a great Christmas plant if you purchase red flowered ones.
The flowering kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is so popular. It has become one of the best-selling indoor flowering potted plants in America. During the winter months I often see them for sale in chain stores. When we are feeling garden-deprived, who can resist those vivid, long-lasting flowers?
When it comes to buying a kalanchoe, most of us just go by flower color. Though red and orange may be the most commonly available, other colors are available. Letís take a look at the Calandiva series. It includes white, white & pink, pinkish-red, and purplish-red as well as true orange.
Typically when we see them in stores for sale they will be covered with masses of blooms. The flowers can last for about six weeks.
Like mums, kalanchoes are called short-day plants. To produce flower buds during the fall and winter months, they must receive twelve hours of light. For greenhouses, this is easy to provide.
Some people will discard their flowering kalanchoe after it quits blooming, while others may choose to keep them. Growth will tend to be uneven and bushy, so I just try to keep them neatly pruned. I feel theyíre worth keeping since the foliage retains its attractiveness even if the blooms are no longer present. I should explain that if you are looking for a foliage type kalanchoe, there are better species available. These would include felt-bush (Kalanchoe beharensis), and panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa).
So far as its origins are concerned, the flowering kalanchoe and most of the foliage kalanchoes as well are native to the island of Madagascar.
Regarding care, the flowering and foliage kalanchoes need the usual minimal care as other succulents.