The kalanchoe are actually a group of plants that consists of more than 125 different plant species, which makes it possible to find very particular and different varieties. Despite everything, most kalanchoe can be considered evergreen shrubs that do not usually exceed one meter in height (with exceptions such as Kalanchoe beharensis , original 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 their abilities when it comes to curing diseases of the muscles and bones 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 and we will 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 different species , which have been identified to this day.
- They can be found in their natural state on 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 various climates of these continents.
- The leaves of plants in the Crassulaceae family , the crassulaceae, store water and are therefore 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 the bulb state, from which the stamens and pistil of each of the flowers emerge.
- Flowering can vary according to each of the species, although the most common is that the kalanchoe flowers appear from the beginning of winter to mid-spring.
Kalanchoe: types and what is it for
As we have commented, the number of species of the genus kalanchoe is very wide. However, it is also true that some of them are better known than others. This is especially due 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 kalanchoes , as well as what kalanchoe is for , take 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 the most medicinal uses. This is because it contains daigremontianin, a medicinal substance that is used to make medicines for heart failure .
Also called the panda or cat ears plant, it is another variety of kalanchoe from Madagascar. It is characterized by being covered with a fine white hair that looks like a 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 original from South Africa, and it is characterized by forming a basal rosette from which its leaves come out, large and with a velvet similar to that of the 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 with Kalanchoe tomentosa, it contains substances that can be used in the production of anticancer drugs . In addition, its sap contains healing elements, so it can be applied directly to wounds to accelerate their healing.
Better known as elephant ear kalanchoe due to the large size of its leaves, it is the largest kalanchoe species of all. Originally 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 making medicines to fight cancer. When applied directly to the skin, its sap relieves muscle aches and rheumatism.
It is a species 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 grow up to 40 centimeters tall, 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 with the gastrointestinal system, since it contains substances that can be used in the manufacture of medicines to alleviate gastrointestinal problems. In the case of applying it directly to the skin, it helps wound healing and, above all, the healing of superficial burns.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana: care
Of all the kalanchoes we’ve mentioned, the Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is the most common of all to have around the home. The care of the Kal anchoe blossfeldiana is really simple.
Kalanchoe moisture and irrigation
Regarding the needs of humidity, it is very important to distance the waterings enough to prevent the land from puddling. In fact, it is preferable to wait until the substrate is almost completely dry before watering again, so it will be enough to water it once or twice a month in winter and once a week in summer. Likewise, it is also very important to prevent the pot from accumulating water, as it could cause rotting of the roots and the appearance of fungi. To do this, simply remove the excess water from the lower plate after each watering.
Substrate and compost
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 is convenient to use it three times a year and choose those that are acidic, this will help its growth and flowering.
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 softest sunlight at the beginning or end of the day.
These types of plants are usually attacked by two types of pests. The red spider and caterpillars. The former usually nest there and the plant suffers certain problems for this reason, being able to die if a large plague spreads. The second pest mentioned, not only reproduces there, but also feeds on the plant itself.
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 fast growing varieties, pruning can only be done once a year.