How to Grow Kalanchoes
Pretty flowers + succulent greenery = a houseplant you’ll love.
- Grow in bright light indoors, and bright, filtered light or morning sun outdoors (summertime only).
- Plant kalanchoe in Miracle-Gro® Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix.
- Water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry.
- Feed kalanchoe with Miracle-Gro® Succulent Plant Food.
- Prune spent flowers, dead leaves, and shriveled branches.
- Create more kalanchoes by breaking off pieces and sticking them in soil so they can form roots.
- Keep kalanchoe in the dark 14 hours per day to trigger a re-bloom.
You know those flowering plants with rubbery leaves that keep drawing your eye at the grocery store or garden center? Chances are it's a kalanchoe (pronounced "kal-an-coe-ee"), a succulent known botanically as Kalanchoe blossfeldiana. It's an excellent choice if you're looking for a low maintenance houseplant that gifts you with bright flowers as well as pretty greenery. Kalanchoe plants bloom for a long time, too, plus they actually help purify indoor air. In short, it's a wonderful plant!
Here's how to grow your own kalanchoe.
Where to Grow Kalanchoes
Kalanchoes grown as houseplants are sun worshippers, so give them the brightest light you can for the longest time possible. A south-facing window is ideal, though west-facing will also work. One thing kalanchoes don't like, though, is the cold, so make sure to keep them away from drafty windows and doors.
Want to bring your favorite kalanchoe outdoors for the summer? Wait until nighttime temperatures are above 65 degrees F, then set it outside where it will be get morning sun but be protected from the strong afternoon rays (which are a bit too intense for plants used to softer indoor light). Once temperatures begin to drop again, bring your kalanchoe back inside.
How to Plant a Kalanchoe
1. Choose a pot that's not more than 2 inches wider than the root ball of your new kalanchoe. Make sure it has drainage holes, too.
2. Fill the pot ⅓ full with Miracle-Gro® Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix, which provides the excellent drainage your new plant baby needs, plus a bit of food to start growing strong.
3. Carefully remove the kalanchoe from its original container and place it in the new pot so that the top of the root ball is about an inch below the rim (to leave room for watering).
4. Fill in around the root ball with more potting mix and pat gently.
5. Thoroughly water your kalanchoe, let it drain, then move it to its new home. Be sure to place the pot on a saucer so moisture won't leak onto your furniture.
How to Water a Kalanchoe
Kalanchoes are succulents, which means they store water in their leaves and don't need soil to be constantly moist. In fact, waterlogged soils will cause the stem of your new kalanchoe to rot —and you don't want that! The best rule of thumb for watering a kalanchoe is to stick your finger in the soil every few days. When the top 2 inches of soil is dry (all the way dry, not just sort of dry), it's time to water. Indoors, this will probably mean you'll only need to water every 2 or 3 weeks, but be sure to check regularly. Outdoors during the summer, take care to move your kalanchoe undercover if the forecast is calling for several inches of rain. It's worth knowing, too, that during the winter it will grow more slowly, leading to even more time between waterings.
How to Feed a Kalanchoe
Just like you need regular meals to stay strong, your kalanchoe needs to be fed, too. About a month after planting, it will start to get hungry. Here's what will satisfy its craving: Miracle-Gro® Succulent Plant Food, which is specially formulated to instantly provide succulent plants with just the right amount and kind of nutrition. Simply apply directly to the soil and water as normal. Use 2 pumps for small pots and 5 pumps for larger pots (over 6 inches in diameter). Don't forget to read and follow directions!
How to Grow More Kalanchoes
Kalanchoes, like many succulents, are super-easy to propagate, which is just a fancy word for producing more plants from your original. Just break off a leaf or a piece of leafy stem (not a flower stem), let it dry out for a couple of days, then stick it in a pot of dry soil. When you see new leaves start to form at the base of the stem or leaf and the baby plants put up a bit of resistance when you give them a gentle tug (which means they've developed roots), you can start to water. The result? A bunch of very cool, cost-you-nothing gifts for your besties.
How to Prune a Kalanchoe
You'll mainly want to prune your kalanchoe to keep it tidy. Remove flowers after they dry (a process called deadheading), along with any dry, brown leaves or branches. You may also want to give your plant pal a trim for size and shape once it finishes blooming. If it gets too leggy or grows too big for its pot, feel free to prune each stem back to right above a leaf (don't worry, they'll grow back).
How to Get a Kalanchoe to Rebloom
This is a fun little science experiment! A kalanchoe plant is like an amaryllis in that it needs at least 14 hours of darkness for 6 weeks straight to trigger flowering. Stick it in a closet or cabinet overnight (from 6 PM to 8 AM) and cut back on watering and feeding during this time. After 6 weeks, you should see the beginnings of colorful blooms. At that point, you can start leaving your kalanchoe out at night again. Of course, if this sounds like too much work, you can always just start over with a new plant that's in bloom.