Kalanchoe – Bryophyllum –

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Kalanchoe – Bryophyllum –

There are about 150 species of annuals, biennials, and perennial succulents, shrubs, climbers, and small tree, usually used as interior annual plant, in this genus.  They naturally occur in semi desert or shady areas of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Central Africa, South Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Australia and tropical America.  Some are tree like or shrubby, other are more spreading in habit ranging in size from 6“ tall to 12‘ feet tall and usually bear white, yellow, orange, brown, red, purple flowers in early spring.  Flowers are sometimes followed by small seed bearing capsules.  All have fleshy stems bearing simple to 2 pinnatisect, rarely pinnate, toothed or scalloped, fleshy leaves, arranged in opposite pairs, rarely alternate or whorled.  Diurnal, showy, bell shaped, urn shaped, or tubular, 4 lobed flowers, often swollen in the middle or at the bases, borne in terminal, sometimes lateral, cyme like or corymb like panicles.  Grow as houseplants.

Indoors, grow in soil based potting mix with additional grit, in bright filtered light.  During the season, water moderately and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every three or four weeks, keep just moist in winter.

Prone to mealy bugs, aphids, powdery mildew, leaf spots, crown rot, root rots, bacterial soft rot and fasciation.

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana – Flaming Katy – This bushy, perennial succulent from Madagascar grows 12-16” tall and wide.  It produces oval to oblong-ovate, softly toothed, glossy, dark green leaves, to 3” long, on long stalks.  Tubular flowers, ½” long are borne in from winter to early summer, mostly in crowded, corymb-like panicles.

Many cultivars have been developed, with flowers in white, orange, yellow, pink and more.