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(also ka-LAN-ko-ee and ka-LAN-cho)
Flaming Katy, Flaming
Flaming Kathy/Cathy (also Madagascar widow’s-thrill, Kalekana
and Brilliant star)
shrublike plants, with branching clusters of tiny tubular four-petaled
flowers atop stems that grow as long as 12 inches and rise out
of a dense base of thick waxy dark-green leaves.
Hues include pink, hot
pink, red, red-orange, orange, salmon, coral, yellow, lavender,
purple and white.
Longevity varies by cultivar and is dependent on environment and
care. Bloom cycles last from two to six (or more) weeks, but
plants typically can live and rebloom for two or three years
Kalanchoes are available
year-round; however, they were originally introduced as winter
flowering plants, available from December through February.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
Indoors, Kalanchoes require bright light, including some
exposure to direct sun (which
can cause the plants’ leaves to
turn reddish). Outdoors, these plants need filtered sunlight.
Because of Kalanchoes’ succulent nature, the soil should
be kept on the dry side:
Drench the soil thoroughly, then allow
the surface to become dry before watering again.
Indoors, Kalanchoes prefer moderate temperatures—60 F to
75 F. Outdoors,
they can tolerate temperatures from 50 F to 90
F, depending on season.
These plants do not require high humidity levels; do not mist
Feed Kalanchoes with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer
every two to four weeks
while they’re in bloom and/or from May
Snip off bloom-bearing stems after the flowers fade.
Repot every year in late spring/early summer (June-July).
Before Kalanchoes will form new flower buds, they must be
kept in complete
darkness for 14 to 16 hours every day for at least two
weeks (and as long as two months)—
preferably beginning in early fall. The plants can
receive moderate light for only eight to 10
hours each day during this period.
are sensitive to ethylene gas, but the degree of sensitivity
varies by cultivar. Exposure to ethylene can cause blooms to
fade, dry out or fail to open and
foliage to turn yellow or fall
off. Keep these plants away from sources of ethylene (fruit,
cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust), and make sure they are
treated with an ethylene
inhibitor at the grower level or during
Aphids, mites, scale and mealybugs can become problems. The
first three can be
eradicated with insecticidal soap if the
infestations are caught early on; mealybugs can be
cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Gray mold (Botrytis) can develop if plants are kept too
wet and too cool.
These maladies are generally the result of
to sunlight or exposure to ethylene gas.
WHAT'S IN A
The genus name Kalanchoe has Chinese derivations;
hence, its four
syllable pronunciation. The specific epithet
blossfeldiana was given in honor of Robert
a German hybridizer who, in around 1932, introduced the
plant in Potsdam
from its native Madagascar.
is a member of the Crassulaceae (orpine) family.
Relatives include jade
hen-and-chickens (Echeveria), stonecrop (Sedum)
is native to the African island of Madagascar. The
discovered there in 1927 by French botanist Perrier de la Bâthie.
Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner
Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network®,
Complete Guide to Conservatory Plants, The, by Ann Bonar
Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, The, by Barbara Pleasant
Dictionary of Plant Names, by Allen J. Coombes
Flowering & Foliage Plants, Book 2, by Debra Terry Graber/The
John Henry Company
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Houseplant Encyclopedia, The, by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Kruger
House Plant Expert, The, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
New Pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names, by Florists’
SAF Flower & Plant Care, by Terril A Nell, Ph.D. and Michael S.
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T.
Photo courtesy of The John Henry Company