How to grow and care for Flaming Katy Indoors

Houseplant, Flaming Katy, Christmas Kalanchoe, Florist Kalanchoe

Botanical name: Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Family: Crassulaceae

Flaming Katy is a popular and easy to grow succulent bushy plant which can be induced to flower at any season. The leaves turn reddish in sunlight and the large flower-heads last for many weeks. White, yellow, orange, lilac, red or pink blooms are borne on 1-2 ft tall plants. The plant is also known by the names Christmas Kalanchoe, Florist Kalanchoe and Madagascar Widow's-thrill. It is native to Madagascar. There are many varieties available like Bali with red flowers, Mistral with lilac flowers, Fortyniner with yellow flowers, Tarantella with orange flowers and Vesuvius with red flowers. Miniatures which are compact growing to about 6 in. high and bearing red flowers are also available. They include Compact Lilliput, Tom Thumb and Margarethe. and there is one that can be raised from seed, the Vulcan hybrid.

A few Kalanchoe plants are grown as houseplants for their striking foliage. They include Kalanchoe tomentosa (Panda Plant), Kalanchoe beharensis (Velvet Leaf Plant), Kalanchoe marmorata (Pen Wiper Plant) and Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Paddle Plant) among others.

How to Grow Flaming Katy

Light

Flaming Katy grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day. An East or west-facing window are ideal. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Water Flaming Katy thoroughly and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold months and maintain the soil almost dry. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to rotting. Use tepid water to avoid shocking the plant. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 150C is ideal for Flaming Katy. Protect the plant from cold draughts. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is adequate for Flaming Katy. The plant has no need for high humidity. Clean the leaves by wiping with a damp soft cloth.

Feeding

Feed Flaming Katy with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks when the plant is actively growing (during the growing period). Withhold feeding during the cold season as the plant is in the dormant stage.

Repotting

Repot Flaming Katy every year after the rest period (cold season). Use a pot one size larger than the previous one. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to avoid waterlogging which can lead to root-rot. Use rich, free-draining soil.

Pruning

Pruning Flaming Katy involves removal of dead flowers to maintain your plant clean and neat. Prune the tops after flowering is over, place pot in a shady place. Keep the soil almost dry for a month and then put the plant in a well-lit spot and water normally. Doing so will initiate more flowering.

How to Propagate Flaming Katy

Flaming Katy can be propagated from leaf cuttings or stem-tips at the beginning of the growing period. Stick the cuttings in moist free-draining soil. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to avoid waterlogging. Place the set up in a warm shaded spot and maintain the soil moist through out. Cover the set up with transparent polythene to raise humidity inorder to hasten rooting and establishment.

Common Problems in Growing Flaming Katy

  • Leaves wilted and discolored
  • The reason for wilted and discolored leaves in Flaming Katy is overwatering during the cold period; significantly reduce watering in the cold season and maintain the soil almost dry.

  • Brown soft spots
  • The cause of brown soft spots in Flaming Katy is Leaf spot disease which is enhanced by poor air circulation. Ensure there is free air circulation at all times.

  • Sudden loss of leaves
  • Sudden loss of leaves in Flaming Katy is due to watering with very cold water which shocks the plant. Water with tepid water. Underwatering could be another reason for sudden loss of leaves in Flaming Katy; do not allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

  • Brown dry spots
  • Underwatering during the growing season is the cause of brown dry spots in Flaming Katy. Water thoroughly during the growing period while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

  • Elongated stems and misshappen
  • Elongated stems and breakage in Flaming Katy are due two reasons. One reason is overwatering during the cold season; significantly reduce watering in the cold season and maintain the soil almost dry. The second reason is too little light during growing season; Flaming Katy prefers bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day.

  • Rot at base followed by yellowing and shrivelled leaves
  • Rotting plant base followed by yellowing and shrivelled leaves in Flaming Katy is an indication of basal stem-rot disease which is brought about by overwet conditions. Avoid overwatering, ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Flaming Katy are Red Spider Mites, Scale Insects and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to other houseplants.

    Toxicity

    Kalanchoe Plants contain cardiac glycosides which are toxic to animals. Keep them away from the reach of pets.

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