Kalanchoes are beautiful soft succulents, easy to propagate from cuttings, with showy flowers. It's a highly diverse genus, so to help you make sense of it, I've divided Kalanchoe (kah-lahn-KOH-ee) into informal categories:
- Mother of millions. Baby plants frill leaf edges, then drop off and root. Another name for kalanchoes with this characteristic is "bryophyllum."
- Fuzzies. Covered with short hairs, these often have cute names like "panda plant." Mainly gray with brown. Most are pot plants, but this also includes the only kalanchoe that's a tree (K. beharensis). See the article: Fuzzy Kalanchoes: Varieties, Uses and Tips
- Paddles. Perhaps the best known, and highly prized for its overlapping oval, bright red leaves, is Kalanchoe luciae. See my article: Should You Let Your Flapjack Plants Bloom? Reflective silver ball and Kalanchoe luciae
- Pretties. These spreaders have pastel leaves and masses of pink or coral flowers.
- Synsepalas. Hanging plants with arrowhead or enlongated-oval leaves send forth pendant, leafless stems tipped with baby plants. See my video: Kalanchoe synsepala, a Great Succulent for Hanging Pots (0:33).
- Glossy floppies. Large leaves and thick stems make these shrubs lovely...until they flop over in an attempt to spread.
- Vining. Not much to look at, so usually overlooked. Thin green leaves.
- Minis. Collectible pot plants have intriguing, sometimes variegated foliage.
- Supermarket. Bred for brilliant flower clusters, these are sold and seen everywhere---including the last wedding reception you went to.(K. blossfeldiana)
Mainly from Madagascar off the coast of South Africa, kalanchoes thrive in mild, summer-dry maritime climates. Most can't handle freezing temperatures or desert heat.
With a few exceptions, most want several hours of sun daily and bright shade for the remainder. Learn more on this site's Shade Succulents page.
Plant in potting soil or cactus mix, and keep soil about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Watch for mealy bugs in leaf axils.
Are your Kalanchoes leggy?
It's normal for new growth to be from the top, and old leaves to fall off leaving naked stems. When kalanchoes need refreshing, take cuttings and replant.
- Snip off the rosettes, leaving an inch or so of stem each.
- Keep the cuttings and discard headless stems and roots.
- Add fresh soil. Insert cuttings so they stand upright.
- In a few months they'll fill in and look better than ever.
Great for Coastal Gardens!
Like aeoniums, kalanchoes are on my list of Succulents for Coastal Southern California Gardens.
See kalanchoes in my videos
Ten Terrific Colorful Succulents (9:11) See why Kalanchoe tomentosa is perfect for succulent container gardens. (From my presentation at Roger's Gardens Nursery.)
Kalanchoe synsepala, a Great Succulent for Hanging Pots (0:33) Baby plants hang from stems, grow roots, and are ready to go!
See kalanchoes used beautifully in my video: A Colorful Succulent Garden to Copy (3:51). This three-dimensional showcase of succulents is superbly suited to mild, frost-free areas.
In How to Pair Succulents with Hanging Pots (5:45) I take art pots to Oasis Nursery, see how various kalanchoes and other succulents look with them, then plant them up.
Enjoy more kalanchoe articles on this site
Fuzzy Kalanchoes: Varieties, Uses and Tips. Their pet-me texture contrasts beautifully with smoother leaves and glossy pot glazes. Good starter plants for kids and great gifts.
Supermarket Kalanchoes: Succulents You Grow for Their Flowers. You've seen and bought these popular indoor plants. Now learn more about them.
Should You Let Your Flapjack Plants Bloom? I'm saying no, but it's not that cut-and-dried (no pun intended)...
Kalanchoe photo gallery
I've identified and labeled photos for you according to genus and species, and common name if available. If you think I've ID'd any incorrectly, kindly let me know. — Debra Lee Baldwin