Botanical name: Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Common names: Flaming Katy, Christmas Kalanchoe, Florist Kalanchoe, Madagascar Widow's-thrill
Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) also called Christmas Kalanchoe is a succulent bushy plant which bears reddish leaves in bright light and long lasting flowers which can be induced in any season.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a popular holiday plant that is also known by the common names, Christmas Kalanchoe, Florist Kalanchoe and Madagascar Widow's-thrill.
Christmas Kalanchoe can reach the height of 1-2 ft and a spread of about 1.5-2 ft in about 2-5 years.
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 of Florist Kalanchoe which are more compact, growing to about 6 in. high and bearing red flowers are also available.
The miniatures include Compact Lilliput, Tom Thumb and Margarethe. and there is one that can be raised from seed, the Vulcan hybrid.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (Flaming Katy) is native to Madagascar.
Various Flaming Katy plants are readily available online at Etsy. Buy beautiful Kalanchoe Plants online from Etsy.
Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) thrives in bright light with some direct sunlight, average warmth and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana requires annual repotting at the beginning of the growing season. Pruning is needed to keep it neat as well as promote flowering. Keep on reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Flaming Katy grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day to encourage flowering.
If light is not enough for Christmas Kalanchoe, it will become leggy with wide spaces between the leaf and will not bloom.
Turn the pot regularly to ensure the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana can be grown under a grow light where the natural light is not sufficient.
Water Flaming Katy thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Cut down on watering during the cold period to maintain the soil almost dry but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.
To avoid shocking this tropical plant which can result in reduced growth, water the Madagascar Widow's-thrill with tepid water (water that is at room temperature).
Average warmth within the range of 15-280C is ideal for Flaming Katy. Keep it away from cold draughts to avoid sudden drops in temperature as they can lead to leaf drop.
Flaming Katy has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is adequate for this plant. Clean the leaves by wiping with a damp soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pest infestations.
Feed Flaming Katy with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks when the plant is actively growing (during the growing period) to promote flowering.
Withhold feeding during the cold season as the plant is in the dormant stage and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn and death of the plant.
Repot Flaming Katy every year after the rest period (cold season). Use a pot one 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 and eventual loss of the plant.
Do not repot a Christmas Kalanchoe that is in flower as the repotting shock can shorten the flowering period.
The best soil for Flaming Katy 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 Florist Kalanchoe.
Pruning Flaming Katy involves removal of dead flowers to maintain the plant clean and neat. Prune the tops after flowering is over and place the pot in a shaded place.
Keep the soil almost dry for a month and then position the plant in a spot with bright light and water normally. Doing so will initiate more flowering for Christmas Kalanchoe.
Flaming Katy is a short day plant. This means that it requires a rest period of short days for 6 weeks to hasten flower bud formation.
To achieve this, place the Florist Kalanchoe in a dark cupboard or cover it with an opaque cardbox for 14 hours per day for 6 weeks. Alternate this with bright light for 10 hours per day during this period.
Keep the plant warm, away from draughts and do not feed or water it during this rest period.
When the flower buds appear, at the end of the 6 weeks rest period, move the plant to a brightly lit place, water and feed it, and resume routine care.
Using this method, you can trick the Flaming Katy to bloom at any time of the year.
Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings or leaf cuttings.
Take a stem-tip cutting of about 4-6 in. from a healthy Flaming Katy. Ensure each cutting has 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where new growth will come from.
Strip off the lower leaves and allow the cutting to dry (callus) for 1-3 days before planting to prevent rotting.
Insert the stem-tip cutting into moist, free-draining soil and ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Cover the set up with transparent polythene to raise humidity inorder to hasten rooting and establishment.
Place the set up in a warm, brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moderately moist through out.
Allow the new Christmas Kalanchoe plants to be well established before transplanting after which routine care can begin.
Take a leaf cutting from a healthy Flaming Katy. Ensure that the petiole is intact as this is where new growth will emerge from.
Allow the cutting to dry (callus) for 1-3 days before planting to prevent rotting.
Insert the cutting's leaf petiole into moist, free-draining soil while ensuring that the leaf midrib also comes into contact with the soil.
Confirm that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Cover the set up with transparent polythene to raise humidity inorder to hasten rooting and establishment.
Position the set up in a warm, brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out but not soggy.
Once the plantlets have grown at least one set of leaves, carefully seperate them and pot in individual pots.
Place the new Christmas Kalanchoe plants in a warm, well-lit spot after which routine care can begin.
Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) problems indoors include drooping leaves, yellowing and dropping leaves, leggy growth, leaf spots, not flowering, pests among others. Read on for more on these problems and how to fix them.
Flaming Katy drooping leaves is due to underwatering. Immediately water the plant thoroughly and it should perk up.
Thereafter, water Christmas Kalanchoe thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
During the cold season, water the plant very infrequently but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Flaming Katy losing (dropping) leaves is due to watering it with very cold water which has caused shock to the plant.
Water the plant with tepid water (water that is at room temperature) to avoid plant shock for this tropical plant.
Underwatering is another reason why Christmas Kalanchoe is losing (dropping) leaves. Water the plant thoroughly and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.
Reduce watering during the cold months and maintain the soil almost dry but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Flaming Katy leggy stems are caused by two possible reasons. One reason for leggy stems is overwatering during the cold season.
Significantly reduce watering in the cold season as growth is reduced at this time and maintain the soil almost dry.
The second reason for Christmas Kalanchoe leggy stems is too little light during the growing season.
Flaming Katy grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day during the growing season.
Position the plant in a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.
The are three possible reasons why Flaming Katy will not flower. One possible reason is too little light.
Move the Christmas Kalanchoe to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day or instal a grow light where the natural lighting is inadequate.
The second possible reason why Flaming Katy will not flower is feeding it with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer which promotes foliage growth at the expense of flowering.
Feed Flaming Katy with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering.
The third possible reason why Christmas Kalanchoe is not flowering is underwatering. Water the plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Decrease watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist but do not let the soil dry out completely.
Flaming Katy rotting base followed by yellowing and shrivelled leaves is an indication of basal stem-rot disease.
Basal Stem-rot is brought about by overwet conditions. Avoid soggy soil by ensuring that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.
Flaming Katy wilted and discolored leaves are due to soggy soil brought about by overwatering or too much water in the soil during the cold period.
Significantly reduce watering during the cold season and maintain the soil almost dry.
In addition, make sure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil drains easily to prevent it from getting soggy.
Flaming Katy brown soft leaf spots is an indication of leaf spot disease which is enhanced by wet conditions and poor air circulation.
Avoid wetting the foliage or water from the bottom and ensure that there is free air circulation at all times. Read on how to treat leaf spot disease in houseplants.
Moldy leaves and flowers in Flaming Katy are an indication of powdery mildew which is enhanced by overwet conditions coupled with poor air circulation.
Cut off the diseased parts and keep the plant warm while ensuring that there is good air circulation
Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to the other houseplants and treat it with appropriate products like Neem oil.
Thereafter, do not mist or wet the plant as moisture on the foliage creates suitable conditions for this disease.
Flaming Katy brown dry leaf spots are due to underwatering during the growing season. Water Christmas Kalanchoe liberally during the growing period while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist. Never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Flaming Katy is prone to spider mites, scale insects and aphids. Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to the other houseplants and treat it with appropriate products like Neem oil or Insecticidal soap to get rid of the pests.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has listed Kalanchoe Plants as toxic to animals. They contain Calcium glycosides which are toxic to animals. Keep the plants away from the reach of children and pets to avoid any mishaps.