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Indoor Plant Care Guide: Kalanchoe

Indoor Plant Care Guide: Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe plants originate from Madagascar and are widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, reflecting a diverse range of adaptations to different climates. Their hardy has made Kalanchoes a symbol of persistence and strength. An excellent addition to your indoor plant garden, these perennials are easy to care for and bloom in the late summer and early fall. Although many species of Kalanchoe bloom during the winter months, making them symbols of renewal and new beginnings, as they bring color and life to otherwise dormant periods.

The Kalanchoe comes in various types, each with its own unique color and flower shape. The colors of these flowers can also carry symbolism – for instance, red for love and passion, yellow for friendship and joy, and so on. In Feng Shui, the Kalanchoe is thought to bring positive energy into the home. It's often used as a decorative element to enhance the energy flow and create a more harmonious living space.

In traditional medicine, various parts of the Kalanchoe plant have been used for medicinal purposes. They're believed to have properties that help in the treatment of infections, gastric issues, and are even thought to be an effective muscle relaxant when applied topically. However, these uses are more folklore than scientifically proven.

Looking for a gift to give a loved one? In some cultures, giving a Kalanchoe plant as a gift is considered a gesture of wishing someone well, symbolizing care and thoughtfulness. The ease of their care and beauty makes them an ideal present. Keep reading for instructions on keeping a Kalanchoe, either for yourself or for a fellow plant lover you want to share the joy with!

How do I care for my Kalanchoe?


A Kalanchoe does not need a lot of water to survive. Succulents are notoriously easy to care for, and this is due to their waxy leaves. Waxy leaves allow the plant to retain more water, which allows them to go longer periods of time without needing more water. 

However, since these plants are so drought-tolerant, they are also prone to root rot if overwatered. If you plan to keep your plant indoors, it is likely you will need to water only every 2-3 weeks, depending on how dry the soil is. If the top 2 inches of soil are dry, it is time to water.

It's best to water them deeply. Always use well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes to prevent water accumulation and encourage healthy growth, as this will allow the soil to dry out completely before the next watering. During winter, reduce watering as the plant enters a dormant phase.


Being native to Madagascar, Kalanchoe plants thrive in bright, indirect light, since they are used to high levels of sun and hot temperatures. These conditions are crucial for their growth and flowering. Inadequate light may cause leggy growth and fewer blooms.

A location near a window that receives several hours of sunlight, especially in the morning, is ideal. Direct afternoon sun can be too harsh and may scorch the leaves, so providing some shade during peak hours is beneficial. If natural light is limited, a grow light can supplement their needs- We recommend the Aspect™ hanging pendant grow light for most growing setups. Rotate the plant regularly to ensure even exposure. Remember, the intensity of light influences flowering; more light encourages more vibrant and abundant blooms in these delightful succulents.


Kalanchoe plants require well-draining soil to thrive, as they are susceptible to root rot in overly moist conditions. A cactus or succulent potting mix, which typically contains a blend of coarse sand, perlite, and organic matter, is ideal for ensuring proper drainage and aeration. These components prevent water from lingering around the roots, a crucial factor for Kalanchoe health. The soil should also be slightly acidic to neutral in pH, ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. Adding perlite or pumice can further enhance drainage. Regularly check the soil's condition and repot every couple of years to prevent compaction and maintain nutrient levels.


The best part about the Kalanchoe plant are the flowers. They provide bright and vibrant colors to lift the mood of any room. Normally people will buy Kalanchoes and discard them once their original bloom has died off. However, it is possible to keep these as perennial plants. You just have to let it be dormant for a bit.

In simpler terms, you will need to let your Kalanchoe “hibernate”, this process will allow the plant to regain the energy required for blooms. In around mid November, begin the dormancy period by putting the plant in sunlight for 9-10 hours and then complete darkness for 14-15 hours. No grow lights, no normal lights, just pure darkness.

Limit the water you give it (about once every 3 weeks), don’t give it any fertilizer, and lower the temperature to around 60 degrees F. After about 6-8 weeks of this, you’ll start to see buds forming on your Kalanchoe. Once you switch it back to normal watering and light conditions, your Kalanchoe should bloom its beautiful flowers.

What Is The Best Way To Keep My Kalanchoe Indoors?

If you live in a place where the temperature changes drastically, it would be in your best interests to keep your Kalanchoe indoors. And why wouldn’t you? It is a lovely plant with beautiful blooms that show it can be a real centerpiece of a plant. Keeping it in a spot that gets a good amount of light is important as well. The Grove™ grow bar light will allow you many storage options on shelving and countertops!

Propagating Kalanchoe

Select a healthy, mature stem or leaf from the Kalanchoe plant. Ensure the stem or leaf is free of any diseases or pests. The stem should be a few inches long with at least two leaves, and the leaf should be large and healthy. Use clean, sharp scissors or clippers to make a clean cut. After cutting, allow the stem or leaf to dry for a few days in a bright, indirect sunlight area. This process allows the cut end to callus over, which is important to prevent disease infection.

Plant the calloused cutting in the prepared soil, placing it so that the first leaf is just above the soil. For leaf cuttings, the cut end should be in contact with the soil. Additionally, you can also try propagating Kalanchoe in water. In this method, only the bottom half of the stem or leaf should be submerged in water. This can be a bit more challenging compared to soil propagation.

Once the cuttings have developed roots (usually a few months), they can be transplanted into their own pots and treated like regular plants.

What Issues Can I Have With A Kalanchoe?


If you notice your leaves or blooms soft, wilted or damaged, it can be for a variety of reasons. Kalanchoe is sensitive to water levels. Overwatering can lead to root rot, causing the plant to wilt. Conversely, too little water can dehydrate the plant, also leading to wilting. Nutrient deficiency, pests, or illnesses can also be to blame. 

Another common culprit is temperature. The proper range for a Kalanchoe is 60-85 degrees F. An extended period of time outside of this range will lead to wilting, damage or death. If you notice any of these symptoms, repot the plant in a room within the proper temperature.

If you have repotted a plant for any of these reasons, or because the plant has simply outgrown an old pot, remember that transplant shock may occur. As well, the growth cycle of a plant will mean older foliage dies as it ages. Do not jump to any drastic measures, start with small changes first.


As stated previously, light is important to the health of your Kalanchoe. One of the most common causes of sunburnt leaves is over exposure to direct sunlight. Despite their love for sunlight, too much of it will be bad longer term. The most common indicator of sunburn is leaves turning yellow, white, or a pale color. 

Sunburnt areas may also appear as brown or black spots, especially on the edges or tips of the leaves. Affected leaves might feel dry and brittle to the touch, unlike the usual succulent and plump texture of healthy Kalanchoe leaves. These leaves may wilt, indicating that the plant is trying to reduce its surface area exposed to the light. In severe cases, sunburn can cause blister-like bumps or scorch marks on the leaves.

In extreme cases, prolonged exposure to excessive sunlight can lead to stunted growth or cause the plant to drop leaves as a stress response. If you notice these signs, move your Kalanchoe to a location with less direct sunlight, such as a spot with filtered light or partial shade. Gradually acclimate the plant to any new lighting conditions to prevent further stress.

Stem Rot

The most apparent sign of stem rot is a stem that feels soft or mushy to the touch, indicating the tissue is breaking down. Affected areas may turn dark brown or black, as opposed to the healthy green or light-colored stems. Rotting tissue often emits a foul, decay-like odor. If you notice a bad smell around your plant, it's a strong indicator of rot.

Initially localized, the rot can spread up the stem and even to other parts of the plant if not addressed. In some cases, you might see fungal growth or spores on the surface of the stem, indicating a fungal cause of the rot. 

If you suspect stem rot, it's important to act quickly. Isolate the affected plant, remove the rotten parts with sterilized tools, repot into fresh, well-draining soil, and adjust your watering practices to prevent recurrence. Avoid overwatering and ensure good air circulation around the plant. Your plant will be susceptible to other bacterial infections if it has developed stem rot, and if you notice further symptoms it is best to just discard the plant.

Was the first plant in space a Kalanchoe?

No, the first plant in space was not a Kalanchoe, but rather a type of seedling from the genus Arabidopsis, specifically Arabidopsis thaliana, also known as thale cress. Arabidopsis was one of the first plants to be sent into space in the late 20th century, due to its small size, rapid life cycle, and well-understood genetics, which make it a model organism for plant studies.

The use of Arabidopsis in space research has provided valuable insights into how plants grow and develop in microgravity, helping scientists understand potential challenges in growing plants for food and oxygen production on long-duration space missions.

Kalanchoe, however, has also been used in space experiments. In the 1970, the Russian space agency known as Energia were testing different ways to get oxygen to their cosmonauts up in space. Sending up different ships to deliver oxygen tanks was not financially feasible, so they turned their attention to plants.

Plants undergo a process called photosynthesis, where they take carbon dioxide, light, and water to produce glucose and oxygen. While they do consume some oxygen in other chemical processes, they produce about 10 times as much as they need, so the surplus is released. This was a good thought to have as humans produce carbon dioxide, so it seemed like a mutualistic relationship between the cosmonauts and plants. 

Through their experiments, they found that providing their cosmonauts with plants raised their emotional well being and overall crew morale. Energia sent up a mature kalanchoe to Valeri Ryumin and Vladimir Lyakhov in 1979 and they were ecstatic. They named this plant the “life tree”. Later experiments found a more efficient way to provide oxygen to the cosmonauts, but the plants stayed as that “emotional support companion.”


Kalanchoe plants are a beautiful symbol of resilience and vibrance in any home, and are also easy to care for. Amaze your friends with stories of their history, or simply enjoy their beautiful blossoms.