If you’re looking to grow a succulent with a little extra beauty, look no further than the Kalanchoe plant. Like most succulents, Kalanchoe, prefer plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil. It’s also suited to a variety of temperatures, but will not bloom during the winter months. However, beginning in spring, you’ll be treated to bursts of colorful flowers that can last several weeks and can reoccur throughout the year, as long as the plant receives the proper light exposure and is pruned correctly between blooms by removing the flowering heads and providing minimal watering for a few weeks. Kalanchoe plants need a lot of sunlight to bloom, so they should be kept in a room with an abundance of bright, natural light. Avoid placing them on windowsills or in direct sunlight, however, as it can scorch the leaves and cause the plant not to bloom. A Kalanchoe plant will grow best in well-drained soil, so choose or create a blend that doesn’t retain too much moisture, like a 50 percent potting soil and 50 percent cactus mix or a 60 percent peat moss and 40 percent perlite mix. To ensure proper drainage and avoid an overly-moist environment, you can also plant your Kalanchoe in a clay pot, which can help wick excess water from the soil. If you have a habit of forgetting to water your plants every once in a while, a Kalanchoe may be the perfect pick for you. The hearty plant does well with minimal water, requiring a complete saturation only every few weeks or so (and even less often during the winter months). Let the soil of your Kalanchoe dry out completely in between waterings (this helps to prevent root rot), then water to the point of saturation. If you’re not sure if the soil is adequately dry (and therefore, ready to be watered), simply stick your finger into the first few inches—if you feel any moisture at all, check back again in a few days. Because the Kalanchoe is a succulent, its leaves are actually capable of storing water, so even if you time your watering a few days late, the plant will be just fine. When it comes to humidity, the Kalanchoe plant is not picky and does not require certain moisture levels in the air. Like most flowering plants, Kalanchoe can benefit from fertilizer. This is especially important around the time of bloom, so feed with a well-balanced fertilizer blend once a month during the spring and summer months. If you’re struggling to help your plant achieve its flowering potential, look for a fertilizer blend that includes potassium, which can help it produce added buds next time it blooms. Unfortunately, Kalanchoe is considered very toxic to cats and dogs. The leaves and flowers of the plant contain a chemical compound called bufadienolide. Ingestion of the Kalanchoe plant by an animal can result in severe symptoms of poisoning, including vomiting, diarrhea, and abnormal heart rhythm. Keep your Kalanchoe plant out of the reach of pets, and contact your vet or poison control immediately if one has been ingested.
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