Kalanchoe: A Beginner’s Guide to Caring for the Resilient Succulent

Introduction to Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe, a genus within the Crassulaceae family, is a vibrant and resilient succulent that is favored by both novice and seasoned gardeners alike. With its thick, fleshy leaves and a wide array of flower colors, it adds a splash of color to any indoor or outdoor garden. Originating from Madagascar and tropical Africa, these plants have adapted to survive in harsh environments, making them a forgiving choice for beginners. This article will guide you through the essentials of caring for your Kalanchoe plants, ensuring they thrive under your care.

Choosing the Right Kalanchoe

When selecting a Kalanchoe, consider the variety that best suits your preferences and growing conditions. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, known for its bright blooms, is one of the most popular varieties. There are also types like Kalanchoe thyrsiflora and Kalanchoe tomentosa, which are more focused on foliage. Choose a plant with vibrant leaves and, if applicable, bright flowers. Avoid plants with signs of wilting, yellowing, or pests.

Light Requirements

Light is a critical factor in the successful care of Kalanchoe. These plants love bright, filtered light, and they thrive in a south-facing window if grown indoors. They can also adapt to medium light conditions, but their blooms may not be as abundant. When grown outdoors, provide them with a spot that gets partial sunlight, as too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves.

Watering Your Kalanchoe

Effective watering is key to keeping your Kalanchoe healthy. Overwatering is a common mistake; as succulents, these plants store water in their leaves and require less frequent watering than other plants. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, then water thoroughly, ensuring that excess water drains away. During the winter dormancy period, reduce the frequency of watering even further.

Soil and Potting

Kalanchoe plants demand well-draining soil to prevent root rot. A standard succulent or cactus potting mix will suffice. Always use a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at the bottom. When the plant outgrows its current pot, typically every two to three years, repot it in a slightly larger container to encourage growth.

Temperature and Humidity

As tropical plants, Kalanchoes prefer warmer temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and do not tolerate frost. If you live in a cooler climate, it is best to grow them indoors. They can handle indoor humidity levels but will appreciate increased air circulation, so consider placing them in a well-ventilated area or using an oscillating fan.

Fertilizing and Pruning

Feeding your Kalanchoe will provide the necessary nutrients for it to flourish. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength, and apply it monthly during the spring and summer growing seasons. Refrain from fertilizing during the fall and winter when the plant is dormant. Pruning is also beneficial; after the blooming period, trimming back the flowering stems encourages bushier growth and helps the plant conserve energy.


Propagating Kalanchoe is relatively easy. You can propagate by leaf cuttings or offsets that grow at the base of the plant. Simply place the cuttings or offsets in soil and keep the medium slightly moist until the new plants have established roots. It’s a wonderful way to expand your collection or share with friends and family.

Common Pests and Problems

Kalanchoe plants are hardy but not immune to problems. Common pests include aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs, which can be controlled using insecticidal soap or neem oil. Ensure good air circulation and avoid overwatering to prevent fungal diseases. Color fading in leaves might indicate too much direct sunlight, while leggy growth suggests insufficient light.


With their low-maintenance nature and stunning appearance, Kalanchoe plants are an excellent choice for beginners. By following the simple care guidelines outlined here – providing appropriate light, infrequent but thorough watering, well-draining soil, and proper temperatures – your Kalanchoe will not only survive but also thrive, offering you a bounty of beauty with minimal effort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *