Flaming Katy – Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Flaming Katy, a popular house plants, will bloom for several months on end. Easy to grow, it is available in a wide range of colors including red, orange, pink, cream and yellow.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, with its clusters of bright flowers, will provide color for several months.
Originally from Malagasy, Flaming katy is a succulent plant with thick fleshy, spoon-shaped leaves. Some leaves develop thin red edges, which add to the decorative interest of this flowering plant.
The leaves from a compact mound from which grow long thin stems carrying dense clusters of flowers.
Flowers and Flowering Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Flaming katy flowers from winter through to early summer. On each flowering stem there are up to 50 tiny flowers. Originally the only color available was scarlet, but now you can buy plants with flowers in shades of orange, red and yellow.
If you reduce the number of daylight hours you can persuade these plants to flower all year. However, once they have stopped flowering it may be difficult to bring them into flower a second year. You can take cuttings from them and grow new plants which will provide color the following year.
Size and Growth
These plants are compact in size, growing usually to about 30cm (12in) high.
Varieties They are available in a range of colors. Dwarf varieties are also available, which grow to about 15cm (6in) high.
Several different colored plants will brighten the gloom of mid-winter. Place them in a copper trough or round copper bowl to emphasize their fiery colors. Right: An attractive display of young purple flowering Kalanchoe blossfeldiana plants. Below: Clusters of the tiny red flowers of Flaming Katy are cheerful in winter.
Making new Plants
You can make new plants by taking tip shoots, side shoots, stem cuttings or leaf cuttings. Tip shoots are the easiest and most successful means of growing new plants.
Take a tip shoot that is 5cm (2in) long. Remove the lowest pair of leaves, moisten the tip shoot and plant in a peat-based rooting compost.
Provide a temperature of 21℃ (70℉) and cuttings will root after about 2 weeks.
Pot the cuttings on in a soil-based compost. To make compact bushy plants pinch out the tips of new shoots. Commercial growers treat plants with a growth retardant to keep them below 30cm (12in) – your plants may grow longer.
Aphids may attack the growing tips and leaf shoots. Inspect regularly.
Treatment: Use soapy water for a mild attack.
A cork-like formation on leaves is a sign of cold.
Prevention: Place in a warmer spot, out of droughts.
Secrets of Success
General Care These plants are easy to care for but difficult to persuade to flower a second year. They are easy to propagate but remember to nip out the growing tips of new plants to make them compact and bushy. Remove faded flowers. Potting: Pot cuttings into a well-drained soil-based potting mixture. Watering Never over-water these plants. Allow the potting mixture to dry out before you water. Feeding: While in flower apply a standard liquid house-plant fertilizer regularly every month. Conditions Light: This plant needs plenty of light or the flowers will become pale and lose their brilliance. A sunny window would suit it well. Temperature: Normal room temperatures will be suitable but don’t let temperatures drop below 15℃ (60℉) in winter.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is available in a wide range of colors. Mix yellow, orange and red for dazzling display.
When to buy
These plants are available for most of the year, and make popular Christmas gift.
What to look for
Buy plants with compact bushy shapes. Check that the leaves look green and healthy, and if possible choose plants with plenty of flower buds.
These plants are usually thought of as throw-away gift plants. They are easy to look after but after flowering once they rarely flower the following year.