Botanical name: Kalanchoe beharensis
Common names: Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe, Felt Bush, Velvet Elephant Ear
Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe beharensis) also called Felt Bush or Velvet Elephant Ear is one of the popular foliage Kalanchoe that is grown for its large velvety foliage which is covered by brown hairs.
The Felt Bush leaves are olive-green, traingular shaped, arranged in pairs at right-angles to each other with margins that are doubly crinkled. Each leaf is about 4 in. long and 2-4 in. wide.
The stem in Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe is about 3-5 ft long, slender and knotted. The leaves are about 4 in. long and 2-4 in. wide.
Kalanchoe beharensis (Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe) is native to Madagascar.
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Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe beharensis) thrives in bright light to full sunlight, average warmth, moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil and monthly feeding during the growing season.
Felt Bush requires repotting only when it becomes pot-bound. Pruning is necessary to keep the plant neat and tidy as well as discourage pest and disease infestations. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe grows best in bright light to full sunlight. However, do not expose it to hot direct sunlight to prevent scorching.
Should you choose to take the Felt Bush outdoors, gradually acclimate it and place it in a shaded place to avoid scorching the leaves.
Velvet Elephant Ear can also grow under a grow light where the natural light is not sufficient.
Water Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Water very infrequently in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and death of the plant.
Avoid wetting the leaves of Felt Bush as it can lead to rotting. Water from the bottom instead.
Being a tropical plant, cold water will cause it to go into shock. Therefore, always water it with water that is at room temperature.
Average warmth between 16-260C is ideal for Kalanchoe beharensis. The sudden change in temperature between day and night is excellent for this succulent plant as it mimicks its natural environment. Keep it away from cold draughts to avoid sudden drops in temperature as they can lead to leaf drop.
Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is adequate for this plant.
Feed Velvet Elephant Ear monthly during the growing period with a balanced, liquid fertilizer for a lush growth.
Stop feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.
Repot Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe only when the plant becomes pot-bound. Use a shallow rather than a deep pot as the plant has shallow roots.
The pot should be only 1 size larger than the current one. Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.
A clay pot is preferable as it is porous which allows the soil to dry out faster, therefore, preventing it from getting soggy.
The best soil for Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe should be rich in organic matter, loose and free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out fast enough. Cactus and Succulents soil is ideal for Felt Bush.
Pruning Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe requires the removal of dead and diseased leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy and also discourage pest and disease infestations.
Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe beharensis) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from leaf cuttings as they root easily.
Take leaf cuttings together with about an inch of the leaf petiole from a healthy Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe.
Allow the leaf cuttings to dry (callus) for 1-3 days before planting to prevent rotting.
Insert the leaf petiole into moist, free-draining soil while ensuring that the midrib of the leaf also comes into contact with the soil.
Cover the set up with transparent polythene to raise humidity inorder to hasten rooting and establishment.
Position the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight to avoid cooking the plants. Water sparingly, only when the soil is dry.
Ensure the rooting container has adequate drainage to avoid getting the soil soggy as it can lead to rotting of the leaf cuttings.
Once the Felt Bush plantlets have grown at least one set of leaves, remove the plastic cover, carefully seperate them and pot in individual pots.
Place the new Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe plants in a warm, well-lit place and begin routine care.
Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe beharensis) problems indoors include dropping leaves, drooping leaves, leggy growth, rotting, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.
Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe falling (dropping) leaves are due to incorrect watering; either overwatering or underwatering.
Water the Felt Bush liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Significantly cut down on watering during the cold season but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.
Avoid soggy soil by ensuring that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.
Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe drooping leaves is due to underwatering. Immediately water the plant thoroughly and it should perk up.
Thereafter, water the Velvet Elephant Ear thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.
During the cold season, water very infrequently to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe leggy growth is an indication that the lighting is inadequate. This is an attempt by the plant to reach for the light.
Move the Felt Bush to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light with some direct sunlight or instal a grow light to supplement it if the natural lighting is not adequate.
Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe rotting at the base followed by yellowing and shriveled leaves is an indication of basal stem-rot disease which is brought about by overwet conditions. Avoid soil soggy by ensuring that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining.
Common pests in Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe are Mealy Bugs and Scale Insects. Isolate the affected plant to reduce spread to other houseplants and treat it with appropriate products like Neem oil or Insecticidal soap.
Kalanchoe beharensis (Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe) like other Kalanchoe Plants contains Calcium glycosides which are toxic to animals as listed by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Keep the plant away from the reach of pets to prevent any mishaps.