The Plant: Kalanchoe Plants are a wide range of evergreen, succulent perennial plants found in many different parts of the world. One thing in common, being that they are all succulents, with a minimum requirement for water. In the natural habitat, many grow into large shrubs or small trees.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is the most common of the group grown as house plants. Flaming Katy is no longer a good common name, for a wide range of colours due to hybridization includes pure white, pinks assorted, orange shades and of course the scarlet red!
Bright green fleshy leaves with serrated margins form a neat rosette; above which are borne clusters of vividly coloured, long lasting, small flowers .
As with all succulent plants, minimum watering is preferred to normal or saturation watering! It's Madagascar origins have insisted that it evolved as a succulent - capable of long periods of drought and hot temperatures.
Its flower production is dependent upon day-length. The commercial grower can provide them in flower at any time of the year - simply by blocking out, or adding, daylight or artificial light to trick it into flower out of natural season!
This cheerful plant needs strong light including some direct sun. The general potting mix with added soil, should afford good drainage. Normal humidity but protect from frost, ideally keep the winter temperature above 1 2C.
Care: Water well every week through the growing season, and include feed, but reduce watering in winter. Allow the compost to dry out fully before the next watering - even for a few days or a week.
Remove the faded flowers regularly to ensure long flowering period.
Take care not to place the Kalanchoe by a window which gets the winter chill or the direct sun during the hottest part of the day in summer as both these extremes will cause leaf scorch.
Good for: Flaming Katy makes an ideal winter-flowering gift. A very easy to maintain, cheerful plant. Although they can be kept from year to year most people discard them after flowering. If you are growing your own Kalanchoes they will only produce flower buds when the day length is less than 12 hours , so unless artificially manipulated, Kalanchoe Plants will not product flower buds in summer.
It can also suffer from Downy Mildew - often as a result of excessive watering or feeding.
Semi Ripe Cuttings are the easiest way - taken in mid-summer - though it is also possible to buy assorted colours seeds.