July 2022 – Kalanchoe

image Sandra Reid

FAMILY Onagroideae
GENUS Fuchsia

Kalanchoe, or kal-un-KOH-ee, or kalun-kee, also written Kalanchöe or Kalanchoë, is a genus of about 125 species of tropical, succulent flowering plants in the family rassulaceae, mainly native to Madagascar and tropical Africa.

Kalanchoes are the ultimate winter plant, whether in garden beds or pots. These glorious plants flower from June through to September; sometimes even longer. Kalanchoe flowers are best described as masses of small bouquets of starry, four petalled flowers that develop at
the end of a stalk.
Thanks Wikipedia

Being in the grip of winter we are looking for something to give us a burst of colour and interest in our gardens. Well look no further, as hardy Kalanchoe make for a wonderful splash of colour with many vibrant shades available.

Kalanchoe are a bush succulent and belong to the stonecrop (crassulaceae) family [as mentioned by Editor Sue] which are surprisingly in the same family as the common jade plant – or money tree. Kalanchoes are the ultimate winter plant, whether in a garden plot or in pots.

These little beauties flower from June right through to around September/October on the Coffs Coast. Their flowers can be best described as small masses of starry, four petalled flowers that develop at the end of a ‘wirey’ stalk – see the beautiful image from Sandra Reid above.

Give a shot at mass planting to really make a statement in a garden bed or plant them in a pot either hanging or not, take your pick!

So all is not lost folks if your thumbs have a slightly brown tinge, these plants will flower and look absolutely glorious no matter where you put them. Their demands are not great and don’t require a lot of water and really they prefer it dry rather than moist anyway – a good watering once or twice a week will be sufficient to keep these beauties happy.

The vivid colours – bright yellow, brilliant orange, hot pink and intense red make a real statement. Until recently only single flower forms were available but there are now some stunning double flowering Kalanchoe in many ‘hot’ colours.

They are compact in growth and their leaves are oval with pretty scalloped edges. They usually have lush, green foliage but there are some which have grey leaves – these grey-leafed forms can add a brilliant contrast to a dull corner. Kalanchoes are extremely hardy (even I can’t kill mine) and they are very forgiving in that their demands for sun are not set – they will do nicely in either full sun or shade so a very versatile little doer for our gardens.

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