Kalanchoe: a Succulent Plant that Produces Beautiful Blooms

Learn all about this easy-to-care-for plant with vibrant and colorful flowers.

Photo of author

By Alex


Kalanchoe is a genus of succulent flowering plants that are native to Madagascar and tropical Africa. These plants are known for their attractive, brightly colored flowers and thick, fleshy leaves. Kalanchoe species are popular as ornamental houseplants and are often grown for their low maintenance and ability to thrive in a variety of conditions.

One of the most prevalent succulent plants, with at least 120 different species, Kalanchoe was introduced to the market in the early 1900s. Since then, it has rapidly spread, owing to the aesthetic appeal of its flowers. Although native to the African continent, particularly Madagascar, it is now found scattered across the globe.

Kalanchoe Care Guide

This plant thrives in direct sunlight, preferably facing south, such as on a windowsill, to encourage abundant flowering. To safeguard it during winter, when temperatures drop below 10°C, consider providing shelter if grown outdoors.

For avid gardeners, it’s essential to note:

  • The soil should be moist, peat-rich, and well-drained.
  • Watering is recommended once a week, except during winter when you can extend the intervals to every 20 days.
  • The roots don’t demand extensive space, making small pots or rock gardens suitable for cultivation.

After the flowering period, maintain the plant by dusting the leaves and removing dried flowers and leaves. Generally, being a succulent plant, Kalanchoe is low-maintenance, making it well-suited for apartment living.

Kalanchoe Flowering

As a short-day plant, Kalanchoe blooms when days become shorter. This characteristic has led horticulturists to time flowering during periods known for vegetative rest. It’s common to witness these plants blooming in winter, adorning gardens and windowsills with vibrant and colorful flowers.

Best known varieties of Kalanchoe

Let’s find out more about the main species widespread in the world:

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

One well-known species is Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, commonly referred to as the “Flaming Katy” or “Christmas Kalanchoe.” It is often cultivated for its clusters of small, colorful flowers, which can be red, orange, pink, or yellow. Kalanchoe plants are generally easy to care for and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor cultivation, depending on the specific species and local climate conditions.

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

Kalanchoe daigremontiana

Commonly known as Mother of Thousands or Devil’s Backbone, is a succulent prized for its anti-inflammatory properties.

This plant boasts long, brown-spotted leaves adorned with numerous small shoots. With a height potential of up to one and a half meters, it has garnered attention for its purported healing potential against tumors, as suggested by some studies.

The flowers typically form in clusters at the end of tall, upright stems. They come in various colors, including shades of pink, orange, and red, adding a burst of color to the plant

Kalanchoe daigremontiana
Kalanchoe daigremontiana

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora

Commonly known as “Flapjack” or “Paddle Plant,” is a striking succulent admired for its distinctive appearance. Native to South Africa, it belongs to the Crassulaceae family. The plant earned its name from the paddle-shaped leaves that are arranged in a rosette formation.

These leaves are characterized by a grayish-green color, often tinged with red or purple along the edges, especially during periods of stress or sun exposure. In favorable conditions, it may produce a tall flower stalk with small, urn-shaped, yellow flowers. Popular as a low-maintenance ornamental plant, Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is well-suited for gardens or as a potted specimen.

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora

Kalanchoe beharensis

This variety is commonly known as “Felt Bush” or “Velvet Elephant Ear,” is a distinctive succulent native to Madagascar. Belonging to the Crassulaceae family, this plant is appreciated for its unique and textured appearance. The large, fleshy leaves are covered in a dense layer of fine, felt-like hairs, giving them a velvety texture.

The leaves are typically green or gray-green, and the plant can develop a tree-like growth habit with a central stem. Kalanchoe beharensis is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens or as a striking focal point in containers, showcasing its intriguing foliage.

Kalanchoe tomentosa

This variety is also known as the Panda Plant or Chocolate Soldier, is a captivating succulent prized for its distinctive features. The cylindrical leaves are thick, covered in soft silvery-white hairs, and adorned with brownish spots, resembling a panda’s coloring. This compact plant, reaching 1 to 2 feet in height, thrives in well-draining soil and indirect light. Its low-maintenance nature and charming appearance make it a popular choice for indoor gardens.

Beyond its decorative appeal, Kalanchoe tomentosa occasionally produces clusters of small, tubular yellow flowers. With a fuzzy texture and delightful aesthetics, this succulent adds character to any succulent collection.

Kalanchoe tomentosa
Kalanchoe tomentosa

Kalanchoe millotii

This last variety is known as the “Penwiper Plant“. It is a captivating succulent prized for its unique features. Its compact growth habit and silver-green leaves, adorned with fine hairs, lend it a velvety texture. The oblong-shaped leaves create an attractive visual display, making it an appealing choice for containers and rock gardens. Occasionally, clusters of small, tubular orange or peach-colored flowers add a delightful touch.

Thriving in well-draining soil and bright, indirect light, this low-maintenance succulent is popular among plant enthusiasts. Its distinctive appearance and ease of care make Kalanchoe millotii a charming addition to both indoor and outdoor settings.

Kalanchoe millotii
Kalanchoe millotii

Common Diseases and Pests Affecting Kalanchoe

The Kalanchoe, despite its hardiness, is susceptible to diseases and parasites. Here are the primary risks:

  • Mealybugs: These tiny pests infest the underside of the leaves.
  • Soft Spots on Leaves: Lighter soft spots on leaves may indicate the presence of the Puccinia fungus, which thrives in high-humidity conditions.
  • Rotten Areas and Wilted Leaves and Stems: Phytophthora fungus can cause areas of decay and wilting in leaves and stems.
  • Necrotic Areas: The Botrytis fungus can lead to necrotic areas on leaves, eventually covering them with mold.

To address these issues effectively, numerous natural pesticides are available. These remedies are entirely harmless to your plants and often come at no additional cost.


The Kalanchoe plant, with its vibrant and colorful flowers, has various symbolic meanings associated with it.

With its profusion of small, clustered flowers, can symbolize abundance, cheerfulness, and positivity.

For its ability to thrive in various conditions and endure periods of neglect, it has often been seen as a symbol of resilience, endurance, and adaptation.

Succulent plants, including Kalanchoe, are often associated with longevity and the ability to withstand challenging circumstances, mirroring their capacity to store water for extended periods. As a short-day plant that blooms when days get shorter, the Kalanchoe can symbolize transformation and renewal, reflecting the changing seasons and the beauty that can emerge after a period of dormancy.

In Chinese culture, Kalanchoe is sometimes associated with wealth and prosperity. The pronunciation of “Kalan” is similar to the Chinese word for “wealth” or “riches.”

Did you know that…?

It’s worth noting that while Kalanchoe is admired for its appearance, some species contain compounds that can be toxic to pets, so it’s essential to be cautious if you have animals in your household. Always check the specific care requirements for the species of Kalanchoe you have, as they may vary.

More on this topic

We also recommend: