Kalanchoe are actually a group of plants that consists of more than 125 different plant species, which means that very particular and different varieties can be found. In spite of everything, most kalanchoes can be considered evergreen shrubs that do not usually exceed a meter in height (with exceptions such as the Kalanchoe beharensis, originally from the island of Madagascar and capable of reaching six meters in height). On the other hand, it is a group of plants that are widely associated with traditional medicine, especially for its ability to cure muscle and bone diseases such as rheumatism.
If you want to know the care of the kalanchoe plant, its types and what it is for and what you have to do to make this plant grow strong and healthy, keep reading EcologíaVerde and we’ll tell you about it.
Kalanchoe plant: characteristics and description
These are some of the main characteristics of the kalanchoe plant:
- As mentioned, the kalanchoe plant is actually a group of plants that includes more than 125 species different, that have been identified until today.
- They can be found in their natural state in continents such as Asia, Africa and Europe. However, currently, they have also been artificially transferred to both America and Oceania, where some species grow in the wild after having successfully adapted to the different climates of these continents.
- The leaves of the plants of the family Crassulaceae, Crassulaceae store water, so they are considered succulent plants.
- In addition, in most cases, they have a terminal inflorescence (that is, the kalanchoe flowers appear at the end of the stem), in the form of a corymb or panicle.
- Another of the most particular characteristics is that most of its flowers have petals that appear fused in a bulb state, from whose interior the stamens and the pistil of each of the flowers emerge.
- Flowering can vary according to each of the species, although the most common is that kalanchoe flowers appear from the beginning of winter to mid-spring.
Kalanchoe: types and what it is for
As we have mentioned, the number of species of the Kalanchoe genus is very large. However, it is also true that some of them are better known than others. This is due, especially, to the fact that many of them are associated with certain medicinal properties, which has made them species that have been cultivated more than their relatives. If you want to know some of the most common types of kalanchoesas well as what is the kalanchoe fortake note:
Also commonly known as aranto or devil’s backbone, it is a species of kalanchoe endemic to the African island of Madagascar and which, today, is in a threatened state due to the few remaining specimens. It is one of the kalanchoe that has more medicinal uses. This is because it contains daigremontianin, a medicinal substance used in the manufacture of heart failure medications.
Also called panda plant or cat ears, this is another variety of kalanchoe from Madagascar. It is characterized by being covered with fine white hair that looks like velvet that covers its entire body, including the leaves. Its main medicinal use is that, in its leaves, there are substances that can be synthesized in the laboratory for the production of medicines that fight the spread of cancer cells. In the image below this section you can see one of these plants.
This species of kalanchoe is native to South Africa, and is characterized by forming a basal rosette from which its leaves emerge, large and with a velvet similar to that of the kalanchoe. kalanchoe tomentosa. Another of its most particular characteristics are the reddish edges of the ends of its leaves, very characteristic and easy to identify. As was the case with Kalanchoe tomentosa, it contains substances that can be used in the production of cancer drugs. In addition, its sap contains healing elements, so it can be applied directly to wounds to speed up their healing.
Better known as elephant ear kalanchoe due to the large size of its leaves, it is the largest species of kalanchoe of all. Original from Madagascar, it can reach up to six meters in height and withstand temperatures of up to 7 degrees Celsius. It contains substances that also make it useful in the preparation of medicines to fight cancer. In the case of being applied directly to the skin, its sap relieves muscle pain and rheumatism.
It is a kind of kalanchoe that also has its origin in Madagascar. However, thanks to its easy cultivation and the aesthetics of its flowers, today it has become an ornamental plant widely spread throughout the planet. It can reach up to 40 centimeters in height, and offers flowers of various colors ranging from white to warm colors such as orange, pink or yellow. In this case, the properties of this plant are usually associated with problems of the gastrointestinal system, since it contains substances that can be used in the manufacture of medications to relieve gastrointestinal problems. In the case of applying it directly to the skin, it helps wound healing and, above all, the healing of superficial burns.
Discover more about these and other species of this type of plant with this other EcologíaVerde post in which we talk about +40 types of kalanchoe.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana: care
Of all the kalanchoes that we have mentioned, the Kalanchoe blossfeldiana It is the most common of all to have in the home. The care of the Kalanchovy blossfeldiana it’s really simple.
Humidity and watering of kalanchoe
Regarding humidity needs, it is very important to distance the risks enough to prevent the soil from flooding. In fact, it is preferable to wait for the substrate to be almost completely dry before watering again, so watering it once or twice a month in winter and once a week in summer will suffice. Likewise, it is also very important to prevent the pot from accumulating water, as this could cause rotting of the roots and the appearance of fungi. To do this, simply remove the excess water from the bottom plate after each irrigation.
Substrate and fertilizer
On the other hand, it is a plant that adapts well to substrates of almost any type. It responds well to hard soils, although it prefers those that are rich in iron. As for the fertilizer, it should be used three times a year and choose those that are acidic, this will help its growth and flowering. We recommend this other gardening guide on How to make organic fertilizer for plants.
light and location
Likewise, it is a plant that needs abundant light to grow strong and healthy, preferably with access to sunlight but indirect, to prevent its leaves from burning. In this sense, a window located to the east or west is the most advisable, since it will avoid the most intense hours of sunlight, but will receive the softer sunlight at the beginning or end of the day.
These types of plants are usually attacked by two types of pests. The spider mite and the caterpillars. The former usually nest there and the plant suffers certain problems because of it, being able to die if a large plague spreads. The second pest mentioned, not only reproduces there, but also feeds on the plant itself. In this other EcologíaVerde article we show you how to eliminate caterpillars naturally and prevent them.
It can be pruned twice a year and, in this way, its growth will be stimulated. Likewise, it is convenient to prune or remove the dry or dead parts of the plant to facilitate its development. If it is not one of the varieties that grow very fast, pruning can be done only once a year.
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