Kalanchoes Perfect Flowering Gift

Need a nice smaller gift for Valentines? Maybe a kalanchoe this year. It will look great for many weeks.

These plants became mainline flowering houseplants in my lifetime. I remember Prof. A.F. deWerth at Texas A&M growing them in his research greenhouses. They wowed us all.

Soon thereafter Jim Irwin of Irwin Greenhouses in Canyon, Texas, became the authority on this great florist crop. He and his team produced tens of thousands and shipped them all over for decades.

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(On a personal side note, I was giving a talk one evening in Lubbock and a pleasant man came up in the line. “I’m Jim Irwin,” he said. A chill went up my spine. There, standing in front of me might as well have been Nolan Ryan to a horticulturist. That was a great experience, that he had just attended one of my talks.)

Kalanchoes come in many different colors.

What you need to know about kalanchoes…
Here are the basics of succeeding with this wonderful little succulent.
Morning sun, afternoon shade.
Loose, well-draining soil.
High-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks while growing actively.
Protect from intense sun in summer.
Protect from cold below 45 or 50 degrees and certainly from freezing.
Rooted from leaf or stem cuttings.
Photoperiodic, meaning that it measures the length of the nights to determine when to bloom. You must give it total darkness for 14 hours each night when plants are tall enough to bloom. Normal bright light the other 10 hours in daytime.
Remember that the plant you bought at the flower shop was grown in a greenhouse. One that you grow in the backyard may not be quite as perfect.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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