Christmas Kalanchoe


Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (Flaming Katy)

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (Flaming Katy) is a bushy succulent that grows up to 1.5 feet (45 cm) tall and up to 1.6 feet (50 cm) wide. Leaves…

More Awesome Stuff

Explore More HowStuffWorks:

Learn How Everything Works!

Copyright © 2021 HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings, LLC, a System1 Company

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

Information that may be used

  • Type of browser and its settings
  • Information about the device's operating system
  • Cookie information
  • Information about other identifiers assigned to the device
  • The IP address from which the device accesses a client's website or mobile application
  • Information about the user's activity on that device, including web pages and mobile apps visited or used
  • Information about the geographic location of the device when it accesses a website or mobile application

How to Identify Kalanchoes

Related Articles

Kalanchoes are colorful, tropical plants native to Madagascar. Desirable for their brightly colored flowers and ease of care, they are often grown as indoor plants and are frequently given as gifts. In fact, the most commonly cultivated species, Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, is nicknamed the "Christmas Kalanchoe" because it is so often seen for sale during the holiday season. Kalanchoes vary widely in their appearance depending on the species and variety, but they do have some characteristics in common that can help you identify the plants.

Examine the shape of the flowers. The vast majority of kalanchoe species feature flowers with four petals and a yellow center. Double-petaled varieties have more heavily ruffled flowers, and one new variety, Calandivias, has 32-petaled flowers.

Note the colors of the blooms. Most kalanchoes come in shades of cream, pink, orange, yellow or red. If the flower has blue or purple blooms, it is likely not a kalanchoe.

Touch the leaves. They should feel soft and somewhat plump. Kalanchoes are succulents. They store water in their stems and leaves, which means the stems will also be sturdy and thick.

Look at the overall shape of the plant. Most kalanchoes are rather short, with long stems that are topped by rounded clumps of tiny flowers. The leaves are broad and wide, and range in color from a light to deep green. One variety, Tom Thumb, features reddish-green leaves.

Kalanchoe, Flaming Katy, Christmas Kalanchoe, Florist Kalanchoe 'Noids, Mixed Hybrids'


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Capistrano Beach, California

Brooksville, Florida(2 reports)

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On May 14, 2017, RebeccaLynn from Winston Salem, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I received this beautiful pink double flowered Kalanchoe blossfeldiana as a Mothers Day gift. Because I live in zone 7a, I can't plant it outside to be left over the winter. I think it will be very content indoors alongside my African violets, where it will receive bright light through a large acrylic block window - but not direct sunshine.

On Jan 15, 2017, Mimi11440 from Brooksville, FL wrote:

Bought this plant at a yard sale for 50 cents. Didn't have a clue what it was. It had a few long stems hanging over the pot with a few fleshy leaves on it (It looked terrible-like skinny snakes.)

I put it on our porch where it received bright, indirect light. It started perking up & looking great. I brought it in for the winter & it got stuck in a room with very little light & I watered when I remembered. All of a sudden it was full of little orange blooms! Finally I could get it identified!

A piece had broken off and fell onto the dirt in a flower bed (North-facing against the house) with bright, indirect light-it rooted & grew & eventually bloomed also. I left it there to see if it would over winter. It did even with . read more a couple nights of 30 degrees.

The main difference I noted is that the leaves of the potted plant are darker green & healthier looking.

On Mar 27, 2016, Voxann from Pflugerville, TX wrote:

I got the Florist Kalanchoe from a co-worker as a plant exchange when we gave her an aloe plant. For the past 2 years and a half, I've enjoyed having the plant at my windowsill (indoors) and it seemed to be doing very well and staying green. I just water it when soil gets completely dry and ensuring it drains well so there's no standing water. It did not flower until now finally! I was pleasantly surprised considering I didn't try hard to get it to flower. I just let it thrive at the windowsill and because of the tight space, it is rather leggy. I don't mind that because I like how it looks overflowing my planter. It's such a joy to finally see it flower this year and now I know what color the flowers are: hot pink. So pretty!

On Jan 9, 2011, annlof from Camarillo, CA wrote:

I live in mild coastal california where summer temps rarely get above 80 degrees. Here kalanchoe can be grown outdoors in full sun. The plants are denser and more floriferous than plants grown in the shade. The foliage color is a light yellowish green, but I have not experienced any leaf-scorch. (I think this foliage color compliments some flower colors and clashes with others.) Plants grown in the shade are the rich, dark green one would expect, but flowering is a little sparser. These plants seem to appreciate cool, moist winters and dry summers.

I've read that kalanchoes need fourteen hours of darkness for a month in order to set buds, which might explain why people trying to get them to rebloom indoors might be having problems. (Maybe following recommendations for forci. read more ng poinsettias is a good idea.) My (outdoor) plants begin blooming in January and continue through the spring. Don't be in too much of a hurry to deadhead these plants, because just when it looks like a cluster of flowers has finished blooming and is spent, a new round of buds forms on the old cluster and continues the show for another month.

On Jan 11, 2010, JonasKragebaer from martofte,
Denmark (Zone 7b) wrote:

does any1 where i can find a list with the different cultivators,(is that what its called?) i would like to id. my plant so that i can post a picture of it :)

On Feb 27, 2008, Neuling from Carrollton, TX wrote:

I've had great success with this plant. I purchased a 'Christmas Kalanchoe' that was a fairly good size right after the Valentine's rush (it was half off then). The plant is still blooming strong.

I also purchased two small plants growing out of one 2.5 in pot at the beginning of February.

Now I have about 15 plants of small but decent size, and each one of them has two or more "babies" growing on them.

This plant is unbelievably prolific, and quite fun to grow. It does prefer a more moist soil than the other Kalanchoes I have.

The only problem I ever had was when the flowering plant wilted because I placed it on the window sill. However, once I moved it away the flowers sprung back to life.

On Aug 15, 2006, DonnaA2Z from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Like palmbob said above, Full Sun is not correct for this plant. It needs Partial Shade. It will burn in too much sun.

I have had a great success with this plant and love it. It's low maintenance, grows pretty fast, and you just need to stick a cutting in some dirt and it grows.

On Jul 4, 2006, LongviewNovice from Longview, TX wrote:

I brought this plant home from my wife's funeral in March. Didn't know what it was and I just stuck it in the ground. It's been blooming non-stop (written 7/4/06) in full sun, sandy soil. It gets watered each morning thru a drip emitter. It seems very easy to grow.

On Jun 10, 2006, staceysmom from (GayLynn) Appleton, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I grow this indoors all winter giving less water. I move outdoors at the end of May, early June. I have mine in full shade and it thrives and is very healthy. It starts to bloom indoors and really takes off when moved outdoors. Love the way the blossoms open up a yellow color and slowly change to pink then a salmon color. I pinch off the spent blossoms and it just keeps making more and more all summer.

On Mar 5, 2006, Sabina1947 from Goshen, NY wrote:

I live upstate New York. I got one as a houseplant gift for Christmas last year. It was in full bloom. I put it outside, in the spring in a part shady place - northeast side of my house. The flowers were gone by that time. The leaves grew much smaller then when I first got it and it looked very straggly with the bottom of the long stems practically bare - just a few of the smaller leaves on top. I brought it in just before a hard frost and put it in an unused, heated bedroom in a south window, not paying much attention to it. Suddenly it started getting buds in December and here it is March and it has been flowering like crazy - so I brought it into the livingroom with the rest of my plants.
I just read that it should be pruned back after flowering. Hopefully, that wil. read more l take care of the lower branches looking so bare and awful. The top is full of pink flowers and looks beautiful but the bottom looks bare with some brown spots.

On Jan 10, 2006, purewildbarley from Orem, UT wrote:

Like greenlarry, I have kalanchoes that naturally receive longer nights. They bloom like crazy! Is there any secret to getting the blooms more compact? Mine bloom on different layers, looking a bit more scraggly than those I see in florists' shops.

And is it natural for the older leaves to dry up, or a product of over- or under-watering?

On Aug 31, 2005, KiMFDiM from Alden, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Wonderful patio plant in full sun in the northeast. I keep it in a south window during winter and water it a little less than usual.

On Jan 20, 2005, greenlarry from Darlington,
United Kingdom wrote:

I took a small cutting from my mother's sickly plant(she must have had one as the usual gift), and now it is in flower, producing tweo white flowerheads! Real easy to grow but does like a fair bit of water for a succulent(thinner leaves)

This plant is a short day flower producer, which means it needs less hours of sunlight in late autumn/winter in order to flower. Luckily I have those conditions in Britain naturally so it flowered for me!

On Dec 9, 2004, careyjane from Rabat,
Morocco wrote:

This is a reply for XOXOkrtistinOXOX

Maybe if you keep pinching it back , you are removing the tips where the buds grow? I think the flowers form on the tips of the stems.

On Dec 8, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Always had trouble with this plant in full sun. guess it's really not a full sun plant- survives, but never looks good.

Just found out recently that this, and many other Kalanchoe species are toxic- have a cardiotoxin and poisoning with them is common in S Africa where most species are from. Probably taste bad or we'd be seeing even more toxicity I'm sure. but just something we all should know. Keep your dogs from eating your Christmas Kalanchoes!

On Oct 3, 2004, xoxokristinoxox from Fort Wayne, IN wrote:

HELP! Have had mine for 2 years now, but it doesn't want to seem to flower! It is healthy and keeps getting so tall I have to pinch it back. However, no flowers. When I see these in the store the leaves are wider but not as thick as mine. Could this signify part of the no bloom cause? How can I make it bloom?

On Nov 4, 2003, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I agree with the note above regarding hardiness. These plants will survive frost in zone 9b if under some cover. I found some growing 'wild' on the edge of some woods, probably where someone had discarded leaves or cuttings and you could see where it had frozen off the previous year and re-budded.

On Oct 1, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

I'll have to say something about the hardiness note -- I had the orange Kalanchoe overwinter lots of years in zone 9b. It prefers protection from frost, but apparently near a house and under fallen leaves was enough here. I also had this only in a pot by the door. Then, I picked off old leaves and tossed them where the gutter drained -- and they rooted and formed their own colony. I have had no great luck with any color other than the orange type, don't know why. I probably tried too hard -- they do seem to prefer neglect from me.

Watch the video: 90 SEKUNDEN CORONA: Kleine Atempause? Die aktuellen Corona-Zahlen für Sie erklärt

Previous Article

Tips On Water Requirements For Citrus Trees

Next Article

Hip roofs and options for their arrangement