Kalanchoe blossfeldiana var. alba

Family: Crassulaceae

Countries: Africa, Madagascar

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana var. alba is tender perennial from Madagascar that’s often grown as a houseplant, in the UK.  I think this plant’s common name is Flaming Katy, but I am sure Kalanchoe blossfeldiana has many other common names.  I find that these plants are very drought tolerant and low maintenance, making them great gifts for both experienced and new gardeners.  Due to the fact that these plants are so easy to grow and they don’t need to be watered every week, Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a perfect plant to give anyone that’s not overly interested in plants!

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana make long-lasting reliable houseplants for semi shaded areas – what do I mean by this?  It’s not always easy to describe lighting; this plant thrives in what I would class as a regular room – a room that’s not dark and shaded but also isn’t lit up by intense sunlight.  My previous home was shaded, so my plant lived fairly close to my window sill, but if your home isn’t as dark as mine, your plant will be happier near the centre of the room.  Now I have moved this plant to a brighter room in my new house, I have stationed my Kalanchoe blossfeldiana var. alba much further from the window.  Harsh sunlight is likely to scorch Kalanchoe blossfeldiana’s tender and succulent leaves, so avoid placing your plant on window sills or anywhere where the lighting is intense.  While I was living in homes that had very light and bright rooms, I grew my Kalanchoe blossfeldiana plants on the shelf above a fireplace and on a bookcase, where my plants were always very happy.  In another particularly sunny room, I grew Kalanchoe blossfeldiana on a coffee table, near the centre of the room.  Plants can be moved nearer the window in the winter months and then placed a little further away in late spring and summertime, when sunlight is brighter.

I have a large number of house plants, so I have strategies to manage all of my plants efficiently and keep them all happy; I tend to grow plants that thrive in similar conditions together in groups, as this makes watering and plant care easier.  Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a tender plant that should never be exposed to temperatures below 13C (55F).

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a drought tolerant succulent.  These plants really don’t need much attention, they’re very easy.  When it comes to irrigation, run water through the compost from the top of the pot.  I never sit Kalanchoe blossfeldiana in a saucer of water; I always water my plants from the top and allow water to escape out of the base of the pot.  When you’ve watered your plant and tipped all the excess water away, your Kalanchoe blossfeldiana plant will only need watering again when the compost around the roots is dry.  The top of the compost dries out more rapidly than the compost around your plant’s roots; if you’re unsure whether to water or not, tip your plant out of its pot and see what the compost is really like inside the pot.

I grow all of my plants in peat-free compost.  If your Kalanchoe blossfeldiana plant has outgrown its container and needs re-potting, the best time to repot Kalanchoe blossfeldiana plants is in springtime.  Select a container with a hole at the base that will allow water to run out of the pot; choose a container that’s just one or two sizes larger that your plant’s current pot, and use peat-free compost.  My Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is potted in a peat-free mix of coir and homemade compost.  I’ve even grown Kalanchoe blossfeldiana in loamy soil from my garden mixed with spent compost when I’ve run out of compost and my Kalanchoe blossfeldiana was very happy indeed!

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