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This article is written by Kunsang Choden.

Kalanchoe is a wonderful indoor plant that has around 100 different species. This plant like the Japanese holly fern is popularly known because of its succulent leaves. 

This succulent plant has its origin from Madagascar. Madagascar is greatly known as the producer or habitat of thousands of plant and animal species. Currently, the plant is found in India, Nepal, China, South Africa, East Africa and Brazil.

Flower: Kalanchoe is known by its succulent leaves and flowers. The bloom takes up to 6 to 12 inches. It is not difficult to take care of this plant and at the same time, the lasting effect of its flower is what mostly attracts the plant lovers. This plant adds an extra touch of beauty and goodness to the home environment. This plant gives rise to bloom in different color such as yellow, pink, white and red. It is found that this plant blooms in almost every season. The bloom takes placed based on the daylight period.

It is not necessary for you to throw away the plant once the bloom fades. The plant will re-grow in the following season and give rise to a welcoming plant. So, do  not throw away the plant but keep it in a good environment preparing it for the coming season of growth.

Growing: It is easy to plant the kalanchoe plant provided you understand the basic conditions required by this plant. To give rise to a healthy bloom, you are suggested to stay aware of these conditions. 

Water: Water is life to every living organism. The plant, kalanchoe requires a moderate amount of water for its healthy growth. You are suggested to water the plant during its active growing stage especially during the summer and spring months. Although some amount of water is required during the winter months, you will need to reduce the amount of water during this season. Make sure that the plant is not left dry. This means, the plant prefers growing in a moist condition. In case of lack of water, you will see that the leaf of the plant turning weak and will show some sign of dryness over its shiny succulent leaves.

In your process of watering, make sure that you do not over water or the plant will start rot away. 

Light: Light is also considered as one of the basic necessity of a plant life. No light equals to no life. So, when it comes to planting kalanchoe plant, it is important to know that  this  plant has more preference to sunny locations and bright environment. It is always good to keep the plant out in the sunlight during the summer and spring months yet during the cold winter months, you will need to bring the plant indoor to a window that is facing south. Nothing in excess is good, the plant will dry out if the direct sun exposure is too much. 

Fertilizer: Most of the plants grow well with some amount of fertilizer. Fertilizer equals vitamin to a plant. Kalanchoe will grow well if you provide some amount of liquid fertilizer at least once a week during its active growing months. Once the growing period gets over, you can fertilize the plant once a month or start fertilizing once the new growing time starts. 

Temperature: Kalanchoe prefers to grow in a warm temperature. With that being said, the plant will grow with the temperature above 55 degree F. If you fail to maintain good temperature, the plant will show some signs of weakness. 

Soil: It is always good to make the right choice of soil when it comes to gardening or planting in a nursery environment. Almost all the plants prefer growing in a humus and compost manure rich soil. This kind of soil nourishes the plant well. Kalanchoe is not that bad a fussy plant, it will grow well in  a normal type of soil also making sure that the soil is rich with manure.

Propagation: Kalanchoe produces tiny plantlets and from these plantlets rise now life. So, one of the methods of  propagating this plant is by planting these plantlets in a newer location. The other method of propagating this plant is through the cutting method. It is important to locate this plant in a well lighted sunny environment especially during its propagation months. Also, maintain good moisture by watering the plant in alternative days and during the super sunny season, you will be suggested to water in the mornings and in the evenings. 

Planting kalanchoe through the propagation method—cutting method

Unlike the other plants, the cutting end of the kalanchoe plant needs to be left outside for around three days to dry out. After the drying period gets over, you will now need to dip this cutting in a rooting hormone. This will make the plant grow healthy and in a quicker manner. 

After rooting the hormone, place the plant in the soil that is rich in compost manure and has a well drainage system. You will now need to follow the natural planting method from there like watering the plant occasionally. It has been suggested that you cover the plant with a plastic bag, it will create an environment that is humid in nature and make the growing process a bit faster.

Now place the plant in the sun and water whenever the soil gets dry. Occasional watering is always suggested. 

You can take off the plastic from the plant after a couple of weeks like say after two to three weeks time. The plant is growing in a healthy manner. 

Care: The kalanchoe plant requires a little attention from you at times.

The leaves will die out as the season fades, you are suggested to clip off the dead leaves to have a fresh appearance in the leave as well as to create an open air. 

Although water is a necessity to this plant, it is suggested that you keep the plant away from direct rainfall as far as possible. It has been found that rain at times over saturates the plant. 

The plant gets attacked by spiders and aphids sometimes. In order to combat this problem, you will need to follow some natural insecticides instead of the chemical insecticide. Some of the natural insecticides include canola drops or sunflower oil or even a liter of water. If you happen to use a chemical insecticide, do read the instructions carefully. 

Rest: Plant needs some rest after the growing period gets over. In the same manner, the kalanchoe plant needs at least two months rest. During the rest period, make sure that the plant is kept in a shady location at the same time making sure that the soil is dry. After the resting period, bring the plant once more to the sunlight and start watering. 

Pests: The kalanchoe plant is often found pest resistant, but when they are kept outdoor, they get attacked by mites, aphids or scale. During such an attack, you a natural pest manager such as sunflower oil, neem oil or insecticidal soap or spray some water on the attacked parts. The plant is quite sensitive towards the chemical fertilizers. 

Disease: The Kalanchoe is often found harmed by the fungus, a spot on the leave or seeing a powdery mildew on the leaves is the sign of disease in this type of plant. You can prevent this problem by keeping the leaves dry and allowing good air circulation to the plant. 

Caution: There are hundreds of species of kalanchoe. It has been found that the kalanchoe plant is a poisonous houseplant. This poison is harmful to our heart. Thus, make sure you know what kind of plant can be consumed and cannot be consumed before you gulp anything plant down. It is important to research or even consult a plant biologist. 

Uses: Kalanchoe is greatly used by the gardeners and florist for trading purpose. It looks beautiful inside the home environment. An extra beauty of décor is added by the succulent leaves. 

It is a beautiful household plant that grows both indoor and outdoor as long as you maintain the basic requirements of this plant. This plant is often used as a gift because of its lasting effect—the plant grows in every new season. And it is suggested that you do not throw away the plant after the bloom ends. It will grow new in the coming new year. 

The medicinal use of kalanchoe plant is found commonly in Asia, Africa and Latin Africa. Although the kalanchoe plant is considered harmful for human consumption, it has some health related uses too. The plant over many years has been used in curing diseases such as cancer. The leaves are used as salads, in fruit juice etc to cure cancer. The plant has the ability to fight dead cells, injured areas and of course cancer. 

The plant is planted in a desert area to help in bio fuel production. 

Kalanchoe pinnata, kalanchoe/aranto, and gastonis bonnieri kalanchoe are often used for tumor, hypertension, diarrhea, psychological illness or renal colic. 

However, access consumption of this plant can result harmful. Not more than 5grams can be consumed in a day. The sight effect of excess consumption leads to failure in uterine contraction, miscarriage. It is harmful for cattle or pet consumption as it affects the heart of human or animal. 

The leaves when smashed/crushed and mixed with oil has healing effect, it also acts as anti-inflammation, astringent and has good healing effect. Traditionally, the plant has been used in curing ulcer, bruises, insect bites, burns, skin diseases, coughs etc.


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