How to grow and care for Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) Indoors

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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. Flaming Katy is native to Madagascar.

There are many varieties of Flaming Katy 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 (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

Light for Flaming Katy

Flaming Katy grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day. An East or west-facing window are ideal. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Flaming Katy

Water your 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.

Ensure that the pot for your Flaming Katy has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting. Use tepid water to avoid shocking the plant. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Flaming Katy

Average warmth with a minimum of 150C is ideal for your Flaming Katy. Protect Flaming Katy from cold draughts. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Flaming Katy

Average room humidity is adequate for your Flaming Katy. The plant has no need for high humidity. Clean the leaves of your Flaming Katy by wiping with a damp soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Flaming Katy

Feed your 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.

How to repot Flaming Katy

Repot your 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 prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot. Use rich, free-draining soil.

How to prune Flaming Katy

Pruning your Flaming Katy involves removal of dead flowers to maintain your plant clean and neat. Prune the tops after flowering is over and place pot in a shaded 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 for your Flaming Katy.

How to Propagate Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

Flaming Katy can be propagated from stem-tip cuttings or leaf cuttings at the beginning of the growing period.

How to propagate Flaming Katy from stem-tips cuttings

Take a stem-tip cutting of about 4-6 in. from your Flaming Katy. Ensure it has 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where new growth will come from. Strip off the lower leaves.

Insert the stem-tip cutting into moist free-draining soil. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Place the set up in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out. Cover the set up with transparent polythene to raise humidity inorder to hasten rooting and establishment.

How to propagate Flaming Katy from leaf cuttings

Take a leaf cutting from your Flaming Katy. Ensure it petiole is intact as this is where new growth will emerge from.

Insert the petiole into moist free-draining soil. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Place the set up in a warm shaded place 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 (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

  • Why are the leaves of my Flaming Katy wilted and discolored?
  • The reason for wilted and discolored leaves in your Flaming Katy is overwatering during the cold period; significantly reduce watering in the cold season and maintain the soil almost dry.

  • Why are there brown soft spots in my Flaming Katy?
  • The cause of brown soft spots in your Flaming Katy is Leaf spot disease which is enhanced by poor air circulation. Ensure there is free air circulation for your Flaming Katy at all times.

  • Why is my Flaming Katy losing its leaves?
  • Sudden loss of leaves in your Flaming Katy is due to watering with very cold water which has caused shock to your 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.

  • Why does my Flaming Katy have brown dry spots?
  • Underwatering during the growing season is the cause of brown dry spots in your Flaming Katy. Water thoroughly during the growing period while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Never allow the soil to dry out completely.

  • Why are the stems of my Flaming Katy elongated stems and breaking?
  • Elongated stems and breakage in your 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 for elongated stems and breakage in your Flaming Katy is too little light during the growing season. Flaming Katy prefers bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day during the growing season.

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

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

    Is Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) toxic?

    Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) like other Kalanchoe Plants contains Calcium glycosides which are toxic to animals. Keep Flaming Katy away from the reach of children and pets.

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