Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Christmas Kalanchoe

(Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)

31 décembreLike most Christmas plants, Christmas kalanchoe blooms under the influence of short days. That is why it is at its most beautiful during the holiday season: the days are the shortest of the year. It is a succulent and therefore has fleshy stems and leaves that store water to counter possible shortages. So water this plant unless others: it really loves to dry out a bit between waterings. Full sun is also required.

The kalanchoe can remain in bloom for months and will subsequently turn into an attractive foliage plant. If you want to see it bloom again next Christmas, though, you’ll have to offer it short days by placing it, in September, in a room that receives no artificial illumination at night.

Once available only at Christmas, this kalanchoe is now found in garden centers and nurseries year round. That’s because growers have found that they can get it to bloom when they want by artificially manipulating the number of hours of light the plant receives. If you want your plant to bloom off season, put it in an otherwise dark room (perhaps a closet) and offer it 10 hours of intense artificial light a day. It will be in bloom within 2 months.

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

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