Top Tips & Info
- Care Difficulty - Easy
- A few hours of morning or evening sun is mandatory, especially in the winter months.
- It's better to under-water your Kalanchoe panamensis than over-do it, due to the species' intolerance to overly moist soil. Allow all of the soil to dry in between waters, reducing the frequency of hydrations further in the autumn and winter.
- Be careful when watering - allowing excess moisture to sit in the cubbyholes of the stem will result in diseases like southern blight and 'heart rot'.
- Feed every few months using a 'Cactus & Succulent' labelled fertiliser.
- Repot every three years during the spring, using a 'Cactus & Succulent' potting mix.
- To avoid confusion, we'll refer the species as its commercial name, Kalanchoe panamensis, instead of its scientific name of Kalanchoe marnieriana.
Location & Light
Place the specimen in a relatively bright location that offers a few hours of off-peak sunlight. Exposure to the sun will not only reduce the risk of over-watering, but it'll also maintain the colourful variegations and proportions of its foliage. Due to its intolerance of low light, situations, where a newspaper can't be read without the use of artificial light, must be avoided at all costs.
During the growing period, thoroughly water the soil every ten to fourteen days, allowing the soil to dry out in between. Winterising your Kalanchoe is essential to maintain good health; keep the plant 'ticking over' by reducing the number of irrigations to every three weeks and avoid over-fertilisation. One word of advice is never to allow excess moisture to settle either in the actual crown of the plant or underneath the pot, as both will cause southern blight or even black rot. Under-watering symptoms include drooping leaves, stunted growth, and drying leaves; these can be a range of different issues, including forgetfulness, too much sunlight, or the plant being pot-bound. Over-watering symptoms include root rot, a rotting base, or sudden plant death. Kalanchoe must have sufficient light levels (at least two hours of direct sunlight a day) to counteract the chance of root rot.
This is not a factor; however, a quick gentle hose down from time to time will reduce the number of dust particles covering its leaves.
Feed every few months using either a 'Cactus & Succulent' labelled fertiliser; do not directly apply 'Ready to Pour' feeds into the soil without a pre-wash, as this will lead to burning roots and yellowed leaves.
Common Issues with Kalanchoe Panamensis
Over-watering is the most common issue, with typical signs including a softened centre and blackened foliage. There must be periods of droughts to replicate the habitats of the Madagascan deserts, as well as limiting the chance of diseases. Avoid waterlogging as there's no point fulfilling the phrase 'drenches between droughts' if the base of the pot is submerged.
A pale centre and deformed growth are typical signs of too little light. Offer at least an hour of direct sunlight, especially in the winter months, to provide the vital nutrients that'll be converted into plant sugars.
Scorched or browned edges are the result of too little water and over-exposure to the sun. Although Kalanchoe are a superb choice for plants in sunny locations, those that haven't acclimatised to the harsh rays will show signs of sun-scorch and environmental shock. Prolonged exposure will significantly speed the process of dehydration, so consider transplantation into a bigger pot (in the spring) to wrap the roots around moister soil.
Over-supplementing a Kalanchoe will bring nothing but grief in the likes of yellowing leaves and weak, dramatic growth. Although a six-weekly feed is an excellent way to promote good health, dry soil and fertiliser salts will quickly lead to the burning of roots. The advice for this issue is to pre-moisten the soil beforehand and reduce the frequency of fertilisations somewhat.
Kalanchoe marnieriana (commercially known as K. panamensis), originates from Madagascar and was described by Hermann Jacobsen in the 1950s. He honoured French botanist and explorer, Julien Marnier Lapostolle, an entrepreneur of the famous 'Jardin Botanique des Cedres' in Cap Ferrat, south-east France.
12° - 25°C (50° - 78°F)
H1b (Hardiness Zone 12) - Can be grown outdoors during the summer in a sheltered location with temperatures above 12℃ (54℉), but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this plant outdoors, don't allow it to endure any direct sunlight as it may result in sun-scorch and dehydration. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.
Up to 0.7m in height and 0.4m in width. The ultimate height will take between 5 - 8 years to achieve.
Pruning & Maintenance
Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean utensils or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health.
Via Seed or Stem Cuttings.
Stem Cuttings (Easy) - Using a clean pair of scissors, cut a 10cm (4 - 5 inches) section off the stem's terminal. Be sure to use a fresh, damage or pest-free piece as unhealthy divisions are more likely to fail. Remove the older half of the leaves, so that the stem's lower portion is bare, to speed the process of root development. Purchase a 'Cactus & Succulent' compost and vertically push the cutting's base into the soil, avoiding the risk of covering the actual foliage with soil. Situate the cutting in a bright, indirect setting with temperatures above 18°C (64°F). As the roots will develop first, treat it as an adult specimen once there are signs of new foliar development.
Red flowers are held by a spike that'll develop each year, reaching up to 60cm in height during the spring. Each pendulous flower can last up to several days, with the blooming process lasting several weeks. Ensure to keep the plant slightly more hydrated with a fortnightly feed of 'Cactus & Succulent' feed during this time to prolong this period.
Repot every three years in the spring, using a 'Cactus & Succulent' labelled potting mix and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Hydrate the plant 24hrs before tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those situated in a darker location, introduce an extra amount of perlite and grit into the deeper portion of the pot to downplay over-watering risks.
Pests & Diseases
Keep an eye out for scale & mealybugs. For more info on how to address any of these issues, hit this link. Common diseases with Kalanchoe are root, crown or heart rot, sun-scald, soft rot, scabs, nematodes, leaf-spot disease and powdery mildew. Identifying Common Houseplant Diseases & Viruses.
This genus is classified as poisonous. If parts of the plants are eaten, vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite could occur. Consumption of large quantities must be dealt with quickly; acquire medical assistance for further information.