Kalanchoes are popular succulent houseplants with long-lasting blooms. If you want a succulent houseplant that blooms, well then, let me introduce you to the Kalanchoe blossfeldiana. Perhaps you’ve seen one but never brought it home. I want to encourage you to do that because they’re easy to grow and are in bloom for quite a long time. Here’s how to care for flowering kalanchoes & get them to bloom again.
This popular flowering succulent houseplant, usually called Kalanchoe, Florist Kalanchoe, or Flaming Katy, is very easy to find. It’s sold in grocery stores, nurseries, big box stores, garden shops, and flower shops.
They’re grown in a wide range of colors; most of them are vibrant hues like yellow, pink, magenta, orange, and red. No shrinking violets here! Around the holidays you can more readily find them in white. The foliage makes a statement too because it’s glossy green and the leaves are quite large.
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How to Care for Flowering Kalanchoes
Caring for flowering kalanchoes is no trouble at all but there are a few things you need to know.
These care tips are for keeping your Kalanchoe going for the long haul. I had one for 5 years until it just got too leggy and I had to send it to the compost pile.
Calandivas are a newer cultivar (variety) of the Kalanchoe blossfeldiana. Here is a guide dedicated to Calandiva Care.
Kalanchoes sold in 6″ grow pots usually grow to 12″ tall. They’re also sold in 4″ pots as well as in 2″ pots to go into Dish Gardens.
These flowering Kalanchoes like bright, natural light. A medium or high light situation is best as long as they’re not getting too much direct sun. Be sure to keep them out of any hot windows because they’ll burn.
Yours would enjoy spending the summer outdoors just as long as it’s protected from the hot afternoon sun. I live in the Arizona desert where I grow my Kalanchoes both indoors and out. I keep mine on the patio out of the sun completely because the rays are so strong and the sun shines almost every day. They’d fry in full sun in a few minutes here in summer!
The more light you give your Kalanchoe, the better it’ll look. In lower light conditions the flower buds tend to not open and the foliage gets spindly. If you have low light and you want a Kalanchoe, buy it in as full bloom as you can.
You might find this helpful: How Much Sun Do Succulents Need
4″ Kalanchoes sitting on a bench in the grower’s greenhouse. You can see how glossy & large the foliage is.
These plants are Succulents with fleshy leaves and stems (which they store water in) and you don’t want to keep them constantly wet. They need good drainage.
Water yours well, let it all drain out and then water again when dry. That might mean you water yours every 2 weeks. The frequency will vary depending on your temps, light situation, and the size pot your Kalanchoes are in.
I water mine a bit more often when it’s flowering. They don’t need to be misted or sprayed but if yours is really dirty, give it a good hose off once a year.
If your Kalanchoe comes wrapped in foil or in a decorative pot with no drain hole, remove the plant when you water it. You don’t want water building up in the foil or in a saucer because that will lead to root rot.
Normal home temps are fine. The summer and winter temps really vary here in Tucson and my Kalanchoe outside (in bright shade) does okay. I also grew them outdoors when I lived in Santa Barbara where the temps were much less extreme and they were much happier.
As with any flowering plant, the hotter your home is the faster the flowers will open up, and the shorter the period of bloom will be.
These are the fully open flowers of my Calandiva Kalanchoe. They’re an appealing combo of yellow, apricot & orange.
I don’t use any on this plant. I top dress my Kalanchoes with worm castings and compost every spring; even the ones growing indoors. If you have a balanced organic houseplant fertilizer, you can apply that in spring and summer if you think your plant needs it.
With my other houseplants, I use Eleanor’s vf-11 4-6 times during the warmer months. We have a long growing season here in Tucson.
You don’t want to fertilize houseplants in late fall or winter because that’s their time for rest.
Don’t over-fertilize your Kalanchoes because salts build-up and can burn the roots of the plant. This will show up as brown spots on the leaves. Avoid fertilizing a houseplant that is stressed, ie. bone dry or soaking wet.
RELATED: Here’s my updated routine for Fertilizing Indoor Plants.
When I repot my Kalanchoes, I use 1/2 succulent & cactus mix and 1/2 potting soil. All succulent & cactus mix would be fine with a bit compost mixed in. You can use all potting soil works but it’s trickier to keep on the dry side.
I also mix in a handful or so of organic compost and sprinkle the top with a layer of worm compost when I plant.
Check out This Diy Recipe for making your own succulent & cactus mix. It’s now the mix I use for all my succulents and love it.
I’ve done a general Guide To Repotting Plants geared for beginning gardeners which you’ll find helpful.
I can’t remember my Kalanchoes ever getting any. They’re subject to aphids & mealybugs so keep your eyes open for those critters. You’ll see what they look like & what can be done if you click on the link.
Catch them before they multiply – houseplant pests can be hard to control if not controlled from the get-go.
White, red & pink Kalanchoes waiting for a home. These would be good to use for a party or some other event. The bloom period won’t last as long if you buy them fully open.
Safe for Pets
My kitties don’t bother any of my plants so it’s not a big concern for me. According to the ASPCA website, Kalanchoes are toxic to both dogs and cats. You can check their website for more info on this subject and see in what way the plant is toxic.
Most houseplants are toxic to pets in some way and I want to share my thoughts with you regarding this topic.
I grew many different types of Kalanchoes in My Garden In Santa Barbara. There are over 200 species found the world over. Many of them tend to get leggy over time. You need to pinch them down after flowering to keep them fuller. As I said above, mine that was 5 years old (you see it towards the end of the video) wasn’t worth trying to save.
Many Succulents Grow Long Stems and Kalanchoes aren’t an exception.
You can propagate Kalanchoes by seed, division, or stem cuttings. I’ve never done it by seed but that method takes the longest.
Division can be done if you easily find a way to separate the plant into 2 or 3 separate ones. Some have multiple plants in 1 pot so they won’t be hard at all to divide.
I’ve taken stem cuttings, about 4-5″ long with the bottom leaves few leaves removed, and then healed them off (dry over at the ends) for a week or so. I planted them in succulent & cactus mix and they’ve rooted in about 3 weeks. Be sure not to mist the foliage while they’re rooting.
Both these methods are best done in spring or summer. Avoid propagating a plant while it’s flowering.
Another Calandiva – love this rose/salmon color.
The masses of flowers are why this plant is so popular. Yours may flower again in spring or late fall naturally by cutting the flower stems all the way down. Leave the foliage be.
If yours isn’t blooming again, you can force it to. Kalanchoes are photoperiodic (like Poinsettias) which means they react to equal periods of light and dark exposure. They need 12-14 hours of complete darkness to bloom again.
Chances are, if you have them in your home, they’re in a room that isn’t getting that amount of complete darkness. You have to put them in a closet or a room that’s got good light during the day and is pitch black for 12-14 hours.
And yes, they need that every night for 6 to 8 weeks. Be sure to cut back on the watering during this time. Once the buds begin to set you can return them to their normal routine.
Mine that was growing in the guest bathroom bloomed a couple of times a year. There’s a skylight so it got nice bright, overhead light during the day and was completely dark at night. I got off and on blooms all year long from the ones growing outdoors.
Good To Know
Kalanchoes are succulents which means the can handle the dry air in our homes just fine.
The foliage is so big and dense that sometimes I remove a bit of it so the flowers show more.
Calandiva and Grandiva are relatively newer cultivars (or varieties) with multi-petals that resemble roses. The Grandiva flowers are even bigger.
Note: I’ve done a post dedicated to Caring For & Growing Calandivas.
This could be a problem: Kalanchoes are subject to powdery mildew if you keep them too wet. The foliage is very dense and fleshy – that’s why you don’t want to mist or spray this plant.
Me hanging out in the greenhouse with my purdy kalanchoe friends.
Kalanchoe flowers are long lasting and the foliage is rich, shiny green. They come in so many colors that surely you can find one you love. They’re a great blooming plant to brighten up your home!
More information on succulents:
- Winter Houseplant Care
- How Much Sun Do Succulents Need?
- How Often Should You Water Succulents?
- Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix for Pots
- How to Transplant Succulents into Pots
- Aloe Vera 101: A Round-Up of Aloe Vera Plant Care Guides
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Note: This post was updated on 8/19/2020. It was originally published on 11/20/2017.
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Nell, the founder of Joy Us garden, was born into a gardening family and grew up in Connecticut’s countryside. After living in Boston, New York, San Francisco, & Santa Barbara, she now calls the Arizona desert home. She studied horticulture & garden design, working in the field all her life. Nell is a gardener, designer, blogger, Youtube creator, & author. She’s been gardening for a very long time & wants to share what she’s learned with you.