Kalanchoe is a plant with succulent foliage, native to Africa, Asia and Australia. Since the fleshy leaves contain a lot of water, this plant is particularly suitable for cultivation in apartments, of which the extremely dry climate tolerates without problems. The plants adapt without problems to a Spartan life, with scarce watering and fertilization. Generally, to maintain a lush and beautiful kalanchoe, it is advisable to water regularly, but only when the soil is perfectly dry. From spring to autumn it is generally watered once a week; in cold seasons, watering can be much more sporadic, even once every 10-25 days. If the plants, during the winter months, are left in rooms with temperatures below 10-12 ° C, it is advisable to avoid watering.
The cultivation of Kalanchoe
There are several species of kalanchoe that can be found in the nursery, although very often it is kalanchoe blossfeldiana. This plant is used both as a flowering plant to grow at home, and for garden beds, but only for the summer season, as the kalanchoe blossfeldiana fears frost, which can reduce the foliage in poor condition, even in a very short time . They are plants originating from areas with a warm climate, perfectly adapted to life in places exposed to direct sunlight for many hours a day. So, both at home and in the garden, it is good to place the plant so that it receives the sun, for at least 4-6 hours every day, avoiding the central hours of the day in the hottest periods. otherwise the floral stems tend to stretch a lot and the plant tends to produce an ever smaller number of buds. After flowering, when all the flowers have withered, it is good to cut the stem that carries them, at the base, near the center of the leaf rose.
The kalanchoe in nature lives in not particularly rich and very well drained soils; to ensure that the flowering is continuous and that the foliage is luxuriant, it is good to periodically add fertilizer to the waterings. With plants of this kind it is good not to exceed: they are fertilized from May to September, twice a month. It is good to use a fertilizer for flowering plants, very rich in potassium and fairly low in nitrogen. To check that the fertilizer you are using is of good quality it is good to check that the ingredients also contain microelements, such as zinc, iron and boron. To have a plant that is always beautiful, it is advisable to intervene with repotting, once a year, at the end of winter. A very well drained soil is used, consisting of universal soil mixed with washed sand or perlite, or even expanded clay balls.
Parasites and diseases of Kalanchoe
There are several pests and diseases that can affect kalanchoes, often caused by cultivation in conditions that are not entirely ideal. An always damp soil and excessive watering, or the use of fertilizers with excessive amounts of nitrogen can favor the development of collar rots, which rapidly expand to all the foliage, causing the death of the plant. It is advisable to wait for the soil to dry, using a fungicide against pests. A particularly dry climate can instead favor the presence of the cochineal: an insect that tends to nest above the base of the leaves, often difficult to notice. Against this parasite it is advisable to use special insecticides, performing at least a couple of treatments, after two weeks. Very often kalanchoes are also affected by the so-called gray mold, a fungus that attacks the leaf pages, causing classic dark spots. In this case it is good to decrease the environmental humidity and increase the ventilation from the place where the plant is grown.