The kalanchoe are actually a group of plants that consists of more than 125 different plant species, which makes it possible to find very particular and different varieties. In spite of everything, the majority of the kalanchoe can be considered evergreen shrubs that usually do not exceed one meter tall (with exceptions such as the Kalanchoe beharensis , originally from the island of Madagascar and capable of reaching six meters in height). On the other hand, it is a group of plants that are widely associated with traditional medicine, especially for their abilities in curing diseases of muscles and bones such as rheumatism.
If you want to know the care of the kalanchoe plant, its types and what it is for and what you have to do to make this plant grow strong and healthy, keep reading succulentandcactus.com and we’ll tell you.
Kalanchoe plant: characteristics and description
As mentioned, the Kalanchoe plant is actually a group of plants that includes more than 125 different species , which have been identified to this day. They can be found in a natural state in continents such as Asia, Africa and Europe. However, at present, they have also been artificially moved to both America and Oceania, where some species grow in the wild after having successfully adapted to the various climates of these continents.
The leaves of the plants of the Crassulaceae family , the crassulaceae, store water, which is why they are considered succulent plants . In addition, in most cases, they have a terminal inflorescence (that is, the flowers of the kalanchoe appear at the end of the stem), in the form of corimbo or panicle.
Another of the most particular characteristics is that most of its flowers have petals that appear fused in a state of bulb, from whose interior emerge the stamens and the pistil of each one of the flowers. The flowering can vary according to each of the species, although the most common is that the flowers of the kalanchoe appear from the beginning of winter until the middle of spring.
The Kalanchoe is also known as ” short-day plant ” because it blooms at the time when the day is shorter. Therefore, if the flower is covered so that it has fewer hours of sunlight per day, its flowering could be extended over time.
Do not sprinkle water on the flowers, it is not recommended . The flowers that are dry pick them with hand.
Kalanchoe: types and what is it for?
As we have said, the amount of species of the Kalanchoe genus is very broad. However, it is also true that some of them are better known than others. This is due, in particular, to the fact that many of them are associated with certain medicinal properties , which has meant that they are species that have been cultivated more than their relatives. Some of the most common types of kalanchoe are the following:
Also commonly known as devil’s backbone, it is a species of endemic kalanchoe from the African island of Madagascar and which, today, is in a threatened state due to the few remaining specimens. It is one of the Kalanchoe that has the most medicinal uses. This is because it contains daigremontiana, a medicinal substance that is used in the development of drugs against heart failure .
Also called panda plant or cat ears, it is another variety of kalanchoe from Madagascar. It is characterized by being covered with a thin white hair that looks like a velvet covering its entire body, including leaves. Its main medicinal use is that, in its leaves, there are substances that can be synthesized in the laboratory for the production of medicines that fight the spread of cancer cells . In the image below of this section you can see one of these plants.
This species of kalanchoe is original of South Africa, and is characterized by forming a basal rosette from which leaves leave, large and with a velvet similar to that of the Kalanchoe tomentosa . Another of its most particular characteristics are the red edges of the ends of its leaves, very characteristic and easy to identify. As with the Kalanchoe tomentosa, it contains substances that can be used in the production of anti-cancer drugs . In addition, its sap contains healing elements, so it can be applied directly on the wounds to accelerate its healing.
Better known as kalanchoe elephant ear due to the large size of its leaves, it is the largest kalanchoe species of all. Original of Madagascar, it can reach up to six meters in height and withstand temperatures of up to 7 degrees centigrade. It contains substances that also make it useful in the development of medicines to fight against cancer. In the case of being applied directly on the skin, its sap relieves muscle pain and rheumatism.
It is a kind of kalanchoe that also has its origin in Madagascar. However, thanks to its easy cultivation and the aesthetics of its flowers, nowadays it has become an ornamental plant widely spread throughout the planet. It can measure up to 40 centimeters in height, and offers flowers of different colors ranging from white to warm colors such as orange, pink or yellow. In this case, the properties of this plant are usually associated with problems of the gastrointestinal system, since it contains substances that can be used in the manufacture of medicines to alleviate gastrointestinal problems . In the case of applying it directly on the skin, it helps to heal wounds and, above all, to cure superficial burns.
Where to put the Kalanchoe plant at home
The Kalanchoe or Kalanchoe blossfeldiana comes from the tropical zones of Africa. This considerably conditions its location, since it is a plant that likes to be in sunny places, although it is not good to expose it directly to the sun, especially when the rays are stronger or it is full summer.
The best place to put it is in a sunny place inside the house where there is plenty of natural light . In any case, if the ambient temperature is not very high, there is no problem in the direct sunlight on the leaves.
If in the area where you leave it will have that sun exposure, do not be scared if you see that the leaves darken and begin to have a certain coppery color. It is not that it is drying because, in addition, its fleshy leaves are an excellent reserve of water.
With light you do not have to be especially careful. The brighter the place, the better. And it is that the light is fundamental so that the flowers bloom but also so that they last longer those that have already left and the leaves maintain their green color.
And, although it is a plant that normally lives inside the house, it is also possible to keep it in perfect conditions outdoors . To do this, you should look for a sunny and protected or sheltered place so that it does not give air or freeze when temperatures drop.
The ideal temperature for the Kalanchoe
The temperature is important to take care of the Kalanchoe plant . During the winter, you must be especially careful not to freeze or be affected by low temperatures because you could die.
It is best to try to maintain an ambient temperature between 15ºC and 18ºC . Under no circumstances is it appropriate to be in an environment where it is less than 10 ºC.
In summer, it is also recommended that you watch the temperature. In this case, it is not good that it is subjected to a lot of heat. Ideally, the thermometer in the area where you live does not exceed 21 ºC.
Irrigation care for the Kalanchoe plant
One of the cares for the Kalanchoe plant that is key is irrigation. In general, it does not need to be irrigated very often or in a large quantity, although it is important to differentiate that their needs are different depending on the time of year.
- In the summer it is advisable to water it more frequently and more abundantly because of the high temperatures and sun rays that are stronger to prevent it from drying out. Learn more about how to water plants in summer in this other article.
- In the winter, on the contrary, the irrigation does not need to be with much periodicity because the own hydric reserve that they have in its leaves prevents that it wilts for lack of water. And, surely, you are wondering how you can know if it is the right time for watering. You will notice it quickly in your land. If the land is dry, you have to give it away.
Other care for the Kalanchoe plant
Although, as you have seen, is a plant that does not require much care, it is important to know that the Kalanchoe must be paid during the period of time between the month of April and September. The subscription is applied approximately every fifteen days.
And can the Kalanchoe be transplanted ? The answer is affirmative, every so often it is convenient to transplant the plant to a larger pot. Now, you have to do it after flowering, which occurs coinciding with spring. To have more plants of this type, you will need to make cuttings that also have several leaves developed to grip the soil and grow.
With this care for the Kalanchoe plant it will be easier for you to have it pretty all year round and full of its characteristic flowers. From a COMO we recommend that, if you have any questions, consult an expert or the florist about their care according to the weather in the place where you live.
How to reproduce or multiply the Kalanchoe plant.
For the multiplication of the Kalanchoe, it is best to act in spring, with a temperature of 20 ° C and through cuttings.
To transplant from pot , also in spring, after flowering.
Take into account that the shoots that come from the leaves, they light very easily and for this the best thing is to put them on peat or compost to the effect, to cause the appearance of new leaves on the leaves.
We will have to wait until the second year, to have planted them, to take out the children. Those that detach, usually take root in a couple of days.
They admit to being planted at any time of the year.
However, if you want to transplant an already established specimen, you should wait and do it only in the spring.
The cuttings of Kalanchoe that we must prepare, will be of about 7 cmm to 8 cm.
We should let the cuttings rest, for at least a couple of days, so that the cutting area is healed.
We will plant them in substrate with sand making sure that there is a loose mixture, and avoiding that the sun gives them directly and they remain at a temperature between 18º to 20º C.
When they have taken root, we will transplant them to pots with compost to the effect, for cactus.
They can also be reproduced by seeds and we will do it in spring, keeping them at a warm temperature at about 20º C.
What diseases and insects affects the Kalanchoe
The Kalanchoe, can suffer bacterial diseases , by attack of fungi, Botrytis , Mildew , in addition to viral.
Although it is resistant to pests and diseases, excess irrigation water can cause rotting of the roots and / or stems.
In addition, it can suffer attack of insects and among these they emphasize the following, attack of caterpillars , that devour the flowers preferably and also of red spider , that use the plant and its flowers to make its nest there.
In that case they wither the flowers and spoil the plant.
In both cases use insecticides to the effect and follow the guidelines of use indicated by the manufacturer.
What medicinal uses does the Kalanchoe have ?
In some species of Kalanchoe their leaves are edible raw or in infusion and as a medicine to fight cancer, certain tumors, abscesses, hypertension, renal colic, diarrhea, etc.
However, it can be toxic if more than 5 grams / day are ingested per kilogram of the person’s weight.
They are also toxic to dogs, cats and cattle.
They are also used as a poultice or cataplasm with crushed leaves for ointment, anti-inflammatory, anti-hemorrhagic, astringent and healing.
In any case, the Kalanchoe has a series of active ingredients, which apparently can serve as medicines for the treatment of certain ailments.
This must be accepted by the medical community and registered by the Health of the Nations services.