Pronounced ‘kah-lank-oh-ee’, the kalanchoe is a simple way to add colourful flowers to your home. It’s an easy-care plant that very rarely needs watering and, if you give it lots of light, it should produce blooms in late winter through to spring.
The reason kalanchoes very rarely need watering is that they’re succulents, a type of plant that stores water to see it through periods of drought. As long as you give it a drink when the soil has completely dried, or when the leaves look wilted, it should be very happy. There are about 125 different species, mostly native to Africa and Madagascar, which can grow up to six metres tall. This one won’t reach much more than 20cm, so it’s perfect for a window ledge.
It needs a lot of light to flower, so keep it somewhere bright, especially in winter, when days are shorter. In summer, it’s best to move it somewhere bright but out of direct sun. Harsh sunlight can burn it. Give it a monthly feed in spring and summer, to encourage lots of flowers.
Did you know?
Kalanchoe was one of the first plants to be sent into space, taking a trip on a mission to the stars in 1979.