How To Care For Christmas Kalanchoe

Unhappy looking Kalanchoe

Unhappy looking Kalanchoe

Before I start cutting stems from my two and a half year old Christmas Kalanchoe and plunking them into dirt in an attempt to propagate it I figure I should find out how to properly care for it in case I’m successful.

As mentioned in my previous post the Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana (aka Christmas Kalanchoe, Florist Kalanchoe and I love this name – Flaming Katy) is a succulent native to Madagascar. It was introduced in Potsdam, Germany in 1932 by Robert Blossfeld thus it’s name. It produces clusters of small flowers above dark green, waxy leaves in single and double flowering varieties. The flowers come in many brilliant colours such as white, pink, fuchsia, red, yellow, orange, etc.

Basic Tips For Maintaining Healthy And Happy Kalanchoe

• Use a good draining potting mix like cactus or succulent soil.
• Allow the soil to dry to the touch before watering thoroughly.
• Place in very bright indirect light or even full sun if it’s unavoidable.
• Fertilize once a month (except during the darkness phase if you’re trying to re-flower). A balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer is ideal but make sure to dilute it.
• Prune back as much as you like after flowering season to encourage compact and bushy growth.

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Hope For My Christmas Kalanchoe Plant

Colourful Christmas Kalanchoe plants.

Colourful Christmas Kalanchoe Plants.

My Spindly Kalanchoe.

How a Kalanchoe should not look!

I had a beautiful leafy, bright red flowering Christmas Kalanchoe (pronounced “kal-un-KOH-ee”).  Note past tense “had”.  I was first attracted to the vibrant clusters of flowers at the nursery but they never reappeared after I brought it home. After three years that lush plant is now spindly and not so easy on the eyes.  Deep down I’ve hoped the Kalanchoe would somehow “fade away” so I wouldn’t have to be responsible for it any more.

It’s trying hard to stay alive so my guilt is preventing me from tossing it out (it could also be the separation anxiety I suffer from when disposing my things).  But, after some coaxing from my boyfriend to put it out of it’s misery and grow new plants from cuttings I’ve decided to give my brown thumb another test.
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Testing My Brown Thumb With
Beefsteak Tomatoes

Overcrowded and mangled Beefsteak Tomatoes 1 month.

Overcrowded & mangled beefsteak tomatoes after a windstorm.

I’m attempting to grow a few beefsteak tomato plants in containers on my patio this year to test my brown thumb again.  How does one kill cacti?  Couldn’t tell you.  It just happens 🙁  Up until last year I’ve managed to keep only five spindly green houseplants alive longer than a few years.

Things may be taking a turn for the better though.  Last year a wonderful neighbour gave a bunch of us ladies in the building seedling cherry tomato plants to kick off the summer solstice.  Gulp!  I panicked.  Could I nurture this living organism to maturity?  Or would I have to bare facing my neighbour as the person who puts her summer solstice gesture out to pasture?  Continue reading

Hello World from the Unscripted Mind!

You may be wondering what the Unscripted Mind is all about but it’s just reflections of whatever’s on my mind and whatever I’m into at the time.  It could be me on my soapbox raving about something you or I experienced; be it a new movie, the latest song by the Hiptones, snowboarding in Whistler, my hometown Vancouver, a great deal on a LCD TV or container gardening.  It could be me ranting about the inhumanity going on around us from the tar sands and toxins in our food supply to shark finning or from overly air conditioned buildings and aging to dirty bird pooping pigeons!  Oh, where is the humanity!

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