Kalanchoë: houseplant of the month for July
Full sun, high summer, areas of high pressure? Colour your life, your home and your garden with Kalanchoë – the easiest, most colourful plant ever!
Fabulous jungle fever
Unusual leaves, flowers in funky colours and fantastic shapes – Kalanchoë offers you the tropics at their most beautiful. It’s a diverse, exotic family with an extravagant nature. There are Kalanchoës that you particularly choose for the foliage, because they have flaming colours or for their strokeable hairy leaves. The lavishly blooming Kalanchoës have single funky flowers or romantic double ones, in sparkling colours. And then there are tall specimens with exotic oval spheres that open into elegant bells. So there’s plenty of choice, whether you like grey, green colour or a mad mixture.
Kalanchoë’s jolly madness and brilliant colours are the perfect addition to the new interior style in which all conventions go by the board. Where you can unwind with mad contrasts and undiluted cheerfulness, just for fun. Combine the unusual shapes and the many different sizes of the plants with playful pots and exotic patterns: it can be as gaudy and intense as you like, to celebrate life and summer.
Caring for Kalanchoë
● Full sun or dark spot: Kalanchoë makes everywhere more beautiful.
● Avoid wet feet – the soil can dry out slightly between waterings.
● A splash of plant food once every two or three weeks is enough.
● You can leave wilted flowers in place – nice and easy! – since the new buds will simply grow over the top. Leaving them on the plant encourages further flowering.
● If the weather is good (above 10°C) Kalanchoë can also be displayed on your balcony or patio, and in the garden both in containers and planted in the soil.
● If you’re patient, a Kalanchoë can offer produce a second flowering, particularly outdoors.
Ideal holiday plant
Kalanchoë originates from Madagascar, and is a ‘short day’ plant which only produces flowers when the days are shorter than the nights. There are more than 200 species, in many shapes and sizes. In the wild specimens can reach a height of 6 m, but the houseplants are considerably more compact. They will happily grow anywhere apart from cold regions. All Kalanchoës need very little looking after. They’re succulents that store moisture in the fleshy green leaves, so that they’re still looking good when you get back from your holidays. They also flower for a long time: you can enjoy them for at least eight weeks.
● Kalanchoë symbolises persistence and affection.
● In China, red and purple Kalanchoës are incredibly popular for celebrating Chinese New Year.
● Kalanchoë is a fairly new houseplant which only arrived in Europe in 1932 and took half a century to achieve its international breakthrough.
● Kalanchoë is a Latin corruption of the Chinese word ‘Kalan Chauhuy’, which freely translates as ‘what falls and grows’. That’s because a fallen Kalanchoë leaf is often able to produce its own roots and form a new plant, or baby plants form along the leaves. When those babies drop off, they become new plants.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 29 June 2017