With the onset of winter, we sometimes need a kick start to get out in the garden. The vibrant shades of the hardy Kalanchoe make them the perfect winter warmer.
Kalanchoes are some of the prettiest bushy succulents around. They belong to the stonecrop (Crassulaceae) family which is the same family as the jade plant or money tree. Kalanchoes are the ultimate winter plant, whether in garden beds or pots.
These glorious plants flower from June through to September; sometimes even longer. Kalanchoe flowers are best described as masses of small bouquets of starry, four petalled flowers that develop at the end of a stalk. The vivid colour of the flowers — hot pink, bright yellow, brilliant orange and intense red make a dramatic statement during the bleak cold of winter. In the past the flowers have only been available in single form but in recent years a double flowering Kalanchoe has been released and is available in all the vibrant colours, hot pink being my favourite.
Kalanchoes have a compact habit and their leaves are oval with scalloped edges. They usually have lush, green foliage but some varieties have grey leaves. The grey-leafed forms can add a lovely contrast to a dull spot in your garden or brighten a boring pot.
Kalanchoes can grow anywhere and are extremely hardy. They don’t mind whether they are in full sun or shade, so they’re perfect for shady balconies or the western side of the house. They don’t mind being left inside while flowering or spending their life outside. They look magnificent mass planted in the garden or as a specimen plant in a pot. They even look fantastic in a hanging basket. These plants will flower and look glorious no matter where they are planted.
Whether you have brown or green thumbs, Kalanchoes are sure to survive at your house. These beauties don’t need much water and would much prefer to be dry than wet. A good watering once or twice a week is all that is needed to keep these plants looking beautiful. They don’t like to sit in water so make sure that potted specimens don’t sit in saucers of water. If planted in the ground, make sure they have good drainage. Planting in a clay pot with Searles Cacti & Succulent Mix can help ensure the roots are aerated. Sometimes roots of kalanchoes in plastic pots will sweat during the warmer months and this can lead to an untimely death.
Apply 5IN1 Organic Plant Food Pellets every three months and feed with Searles Flourish Soluble Fertiliser every two weeks. If by chance insects attack your kalanchoe, trim off the affected foliage and spray with Searles Conguard. Don’t fret though — these plants are tough and should survive with very little attention.
Flowering kalanchoes brighten any cold winter’s day, so get outside and enjoy the colours of summer while wearing your ugg boots!