Kalanchoe ( Kal -an- Ko- ee) Bossfeldian is better know as Flaming Katy.
This popular plant makes an ideal and cheerful flowering gift which, in general, is very esy to maintain and requires very little attention.
Although most people discard them after flowering they can be kept from year to year to reflower. Although it can be a challenge to make it flower again it’s not impossible.
A succlulent plant with bright green, thick, juicy leaves with serrated edges creating a neat, waxy rosette. From this clusters of vibrant coloured, long lasting, small, flat flowers in vribrant colours of scarlet, orange, yellow or lilac grow.
Place the plant in full sun, if possible, as like all succulents it thrive in direct sunlight. If you only have moderate light the plant should not be affected.
In warm dry areas a Flaming Katy can live outside but don’t allow it to get too wet. They will tolerate coastal areas despite the ocean or sea spray.
Whether you have them in or outside do try to avoid overcrowding as this can damage the foliage.
Despite being an easy going plant they do demand a light, quick draining potting mixture. Heavy ones just aren’t suitable. Mixes containing, sand or coir are quick draining and ideal for this plant.
Flaming Katys can be planted outdoors in very mild climates but will still need a quick draining soil. It should tolerate a soil that is alkaline.
Kalanchoes are likely to rot if watered too often and like most succulents don’t need a lot of water. So once every fortnight or so should be sufficient. It is important to allow the potting mix to dry in between each watering. To help this, plant in a clay pot as this help the soil to dry out. During the winter reduce the frequency of watering and keep the plant drier.
Before you think about feeding the plant check the label on the plant pot or compost bag as many include a slow release fertilizer that can last for 1 – 3 months. If none is in the soil you will only need to feed your plant, at the the most, montlhy.
Leaf spots may appear in humid weather. To avoid this position your plant in a well ventilated area and allow sufficient space between pots to allow for air circulation..
Leaf scorch can be caused by hot sun or sudden cold. Although the plant thrives in direct sun try to avoid leaving it near a window that gets direct sun at the hottest part of the day.
Mealy bugs will occasionally hide down in the base of the leaves.
Caterpillers will try to attack the plant due to the juicy leaves. It is advisable to regularly check both sides of the leaves for the tell tale egg masses. Remove them before they hatch.
Remove dead, or faded stalks and flowers before they become unattractive. This will encourage the plant to continue flowering.
Once the kalanchoe has lost all signs of flowering you can either discard the plant or keep it for its foliage with the hope of getting it to reflower in the following winter. As mentioned earlier it may be a challenge but it can be done.
1) Once all the flowers have gone continue caring for it in the normal way and try to increase the amount of bright light it receives.
2) In September start to move the plant out of the light into the dark (e.g a cupboard). In the morning place it back into the light. They must have less than 12 hours of light to optimise their chances of reflowering.
3) Reduce the watering right down so the plant is kept much drier.
4) Keep the plant in a temperature below 65 degrees F. (18 degrees C)
5) Follow ths routine for six weeks and then return to the previous conditions and hopefully it will flower again.