|Kalanchoe thyrsiflora- Flapjack Kalanchoe|
One of the most rewarding succulent groups is the Kalanchoe group, a diverse group of easy to grow spineless succulents. They make excellent container plants as well as good landscape plants. Some of them can grow to be small trees to 10 feet tall, while others are compact groundcovers. So many people are familiar with the modern hybrid Kalanchoes seen in florist shops and garden centers. The genus has so much more to offer than the "thoroughbred" florist types that we should experiment with them far more than we currently do. I believe that Kalanchoes can take some of the sting out of people's reactions when we talk about cactus gardens, since there is often an equation between cactus and "ouch". There are species with colorful flowers and those with elegant foliage, most of which are considered easy to grow. Look at some of the species below and see what you like. Many of these are available by mail order, and require olnly a sunny window indoors, or 6 or more hours of sun outdoors to grow well. As with so many succulents, great soil drainage is important. Clay pots will foster drainage better than plastic ones will, and fertilizing should be light and occasional. Slow-release fertilizer such as Dynamite and Osmocote are good for these plants but in small doses.
|Kalanchoe beharensis 'Fang'|
|Kalanchoe tomentosa- Panda Kalanchoe|
|Kalanchoe beharensis- tree form|
|modern hybrid Kalanchoe|
Most of this group will flower in the early months of the year during the shortest daylength.
With all of these good qualities and their high degree of adaptability, Kalanchoes should be part of the palette of plants you can use to make a great garden.