Is there a plant that you really hold close to your heart? A plant that you remember from your childhood perhaps? For me, it’s a rather humble plant called a Flaming Katy. I remember that we would always have one in the house growing up, and I was mesmerised by the starry little blooms.
Fast forward… gosh.. 30-odd years, and those Flaming Katy are still incredibly popular, and dependable, houseplants. You can easily pick them up on the High Street, in a supermarket, or in the garden centre. However, the breeders have been busy, and the range has really grown in recent years, and I want to show you a few. I would say they’re back on trend, but to be honest, I don’t think they ever went off trend!
I’ve been trialling a cross-section of Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe) recently, and gave them a thorough testing at home. I wanted to test their succulent capabilities, and bravely left them for 2 weeks without watering. They barely flinched!
I’ve also been playing with them on different backgrounds, as you can have a lot of fun with all the rainbow colours available in the double-flowered series. Then there’s the architectural form of ‘Magic Bells’, ‘Dolly’ and the tactile Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa), seems there’s really something for everyone when it comes to Kalanchoe!
Check out my video to see my Kalanchoe in my home.
But, hey, here’s 9 reasons to put a plant in your shopping basket today:
1. Seek and you shall find
The best thing about kalanchoes has to be their availability, you won’t have to search high and low! You can very easily pick up kalanchoes from garden centres, supermarkets or even your corner shop! And…. you can pick one up for the price of a good value bottle of plonk!
2. They are succulents!
Succulents in disguise, you don’t usually expect such a flamboyant flower display from a succulent, but here we are! Kalanchoe comes in a rainbow array of varieties from the crystallised flowers to the majestic ‘Magic Bells’. And, like all succulents, they like to stay on the dry side.. they’ll definitely forgive you if you forget to water them!
3. They bloom for 10 weeks+
Yeah yeah, cut flowers can look impressive, but after a few days they can look a bit ragged! Flowering houseplants are criminally underrated, but why not think of them as a living bouquet? Kalanchoe can stay in bloom for more than 10 WEEKS, that’s even better than orchids. Oops! Looks like Kalanchoe pipped them to the post!
4. For the person who has everything
Ugh, you know those awkward people who are so difficult to buy for!? How about buying them a long-lasting plant? Flaming Katy are a fab gift, you could even make up your own arrangement of them, finished off with a contemporary (by no means twee) bow! The pretty rosebuds make a long lasting alternative to a bunch of flowers, and are so much more memorable!
5. Rainbow is the new black
You may have seen my recent video with the coolest houseplants to look out for, one of which is the Flaming Katy! Green leafy plants have been on trend for a while, and those Instagram feeds became a bit stagnant IMHO.. flowering houseplants are making a comeback though! And, if you want weird and wacky, wait ’til you see Dolly!
6. They’re grown responsibly
Not all plants are green in the same way. But Kalanchoe growers meet the strictest standards set by the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI). This means they purify and recycle their water, they only use responsible methods for pest control and feeding, and they are working hard at reducing the use of peat in potting soil. You can find out more at www.kalanchoe.nl/en/info/sustainably-cultivated/
7. Sleep better at night
Growing a Flaming Katy can help you sleep better, and that’s not cos they read you a bedtime story! Kalanchoe are night-time oxygenators, meaning they release oxygen at night which could help promote a deeper and more restful sleep. I’m up for that!
8. They can be grown indoors or out
Well, yes, Flaming Katy are usually houseplants, but in the summer months, they will live happily outside too! Try popping a few into pots on patios or balcony planters. You could go away for a whole week and they wouldn’t need any water either, time to book that cottage in the country with a sunken jacuzzi!
9. You can always learn more!
You can find out more about the fascinating Kalanchoe range on the Always Kalanchoe website, which is www.kalanchoe.nl/en, there’s tonnes of planting ideas, inspiration, and growing info. Also, make sure to follow @alwayskalanchoe on Instagram for beautiful images of these magnificent plants!
Your thoughts on Kalanchoe
I asked you on Facebook what you thought of these Kalanchoe, and here’s what you said!
Your Kalanchoe photos
I love to see how other people are enjoying their plants! Thank you to the following people who sent in these wonderful photos of their own Kalanchoe.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.
I love Flaming Katies, but I never have any luck with them. I have put them in rooms that are bright and not too warm, like not near windows or radiators and left them for weeks, 3 at the most without any water and still they die on me. What more can I do so the survive and grow to flower for the following years…..