When it comes to flowering houseplants, an easy-care kalanchoe is definitely worth its keep. Sporting bright blooms and green, rubbery leaves, they will give an indoor corner, mantelpiece, or table an instant uplift.
'Kalanchoe plants make for an attractive and low-maintenance addition to any home,' says the expert team behind houseplant food, Baby Bio®. And as they tend to bloom in early spring (around February), they're a great addition to follow on from your selection of Christmas plants. Plus, with the proper care, they can re-flower year after year.
3 top tips for kalanchoe care
From where to position one to how often to water plus more, we've rounded up plenty of expert tips on caring for kalanchoe so you can get the most from your houseplant.
1. Place it somewhere sunny
'A member of the succulent family, the kalanchoe is a relatively fuss-free plant as long as you give it plenty of sunlight,' advises the team at Baby Bio® (opens in new tab).
'So, place yours on a south-facing window to allow it to soak up as much direct sun as possible. A west-facing window will also work.
'Remember to rotate your plants regularly to avoid them leaning to one side as they search for sunlight.' You can do this with your other indoor plants too, to ensure they grow evenly.
2. Don't let it get too cold
'Found natively in Madagascar, the kalanchoe doesn't like cold temperatures, so make sure it is kept away from drafty windows and doors during the winter months,' advises the team at Baby Bio®.
Temperatures of around 50–70°F (10–21°C) during the day and 45–65°F (7–18°C) at night are generally best.
3. Plant it in the right type of soil
'As with any succulent variety, make sure it is potted in well-draining soil to prevent its roots from sitting in wet soil,' says the team at Baby Bio®. 'Cactus-specific compost is ideal, or you can add perlite or horticultural grit to a standard houseplant compost to increase drainage.
'Like most succulents, kalanchoe plants prefer slightly acidic soil,' they add. So, using the right feed is essential for maintaining the optimum soil conditions to help your plant flourish. This advice applies when learning how to grow a Christmas cactus, too.
'Feed your plant during active growing periods and make sure you follow the dilution instructions on the label to avoid overfeeding,' they advise.
How do you make a kalanchoe bloom?
'The little bursts of bright flowers, which typically lie dormant in autumn and winter and bloom around February, are what makes the kalanchoe plant so popular. But it can be difficult to get it to re-bloom season after season, and you may also want to ''trick'' your plant into re-blooming throughout the year,' says the Baby Bio® team.
Contrary to its usual sun-worshipping requirements, the process of getting it to flower is similar to learning how to make a Christmas cactus bloom. It must be plunged into darkness for the majority of the day, as the team explains.
'During dormant periods, place your plant somewhere in complete darkness, such as a cupboard, for at least 14 hours each day,' continues the team. 'After six to eight weeks, you should see buds start to appear.
'Reduce watering and feeding during this time, and make sure you prune dead flowers and leaves to encourage growth.'
When should you water a kalanchoe?
'Kalanchoes should be treated like succulents or cacti and only watered when the soil is completely dry, as they store moisture in their rubbery leaves,' says the team at Baby Bio®.
'We recommend trying the finger test before watering,' they say. 'Simply insert your finger or a pencil into the top two inches of the soil. If this is still moist, there is no need to water. If the soil is dry beyond the top layer, aerate the soil to allow for an even distribution of water, again using your finger or something like a pencil.
'Overwatering is the number one killer of these plants and they are incredibly susceptible to root rot, so if your pot has drainage holes, we suggest watering from the bottom to prevent overwatering. If it doesn't, evenly water the soil lightly, and reduce to watering twice or even once a month during the dormant season.' If you've read our guide on poinsettia care, you'll know that overwatering is a common mistake when looking after those plants, too.
'As the kalanchoe's root system is particularly sensitive to temperature, don't use water from the cold tap in the winter, as it can become too cold and shock the root system,' adds the team. 'Instead, use tepid water by allowing it to reach room temperature before watering your plants.'
How do you propagate a kalanchoe?
Learning how to take cuttings from plants is easier than you might expect and is a brilliant way to get new plants for free – and kalanchoes are no exception. Keep them for yourself to brighten up more rooms in your home, or give to friends and family, as the team at Baby Bio® suggests. Their cheerful color and low-maintenance requirements make them a lovely gift.
'Simply cut off a piece of stem using a clean, sharp blade and leave it to dry out for a couple of days, then pop it straight into soil so that it can form a root system. It's as simple as that!' says the team. If you need a new tool for the job, our buying guide for the best secateurs will come in handy.
'There's no need to water your plant baby until it has had the chance to develop roots, as it will live off the nutrients stored in its leaves until roots have formed. You'll know it's ready to be watered when it starts to form new leaves and feels a little more secure in its soil.'
Where to buy a kalanchoe plant
Now you know how to care for a kalanchoe plant (and how simple it is), you probably want one for your own. They're often available in garden centers and even grocery stores, but you can also shop for them online for extra convenience.
Our quicklinks will help you start your search.
Shop kalanchoe plants in the US:
- Shop kalanchoe plants at Amazon (opens in new tab)
- Shop kalanchoe plants at Lowe's (opens in new tab)
- Shop kalanchoe plants at Walmart (opens in new tab)
Shop kalanchoe plants in the UK:
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
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