Calandiva (Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana Calandiva) is a succulent native to Madagascar. It is loved for its appealing features, especially its ability to blossom for eight full weeks during early spring and late winter, and requires minimal care. Its flowers also come in vibrant colors: red, white, yellow, pink, lavender, and orange.
Calandiva will also grow outdoors if you live in the warmer US Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12. The main requirements for the Calandiva plant are well-drained soil, plenty of indirect sunlight, and watering the plant once a week. The article below gives a detailed guide on how to care for the plant.
Benefits of the Calandiva Plant
Most people grow the Calandiva plant for ornamental purposes due to its bright, colorful flowers and succulent green leaves. Its leaves are infused in teas, taken as supplemental capsules, or applied on the skin. Here are some medical ailments the plant treats.
- Ulcers of the veins and stomach.
- Oral inflammation and gingivitis
- Urinary infections
- Complications of the cervix
- Mucosal rhinitis
- Back pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Fungal infection and calluses on the feet.
What is the best growing medium?
Since the Calandiva plant is a succulent, it does best in succulent and cacti mix. Whether you’re growing them indoors or outdoors, the succulent and cacti mix must be:
- Well aerated.
- Slightly acidic or neutral PH level
- Soil-less or have very little soil content. Garden soil can be too heavy for succulents.
You can buy a succulent soil mix from your local garden center or make yourself some. You can make your succulent soil mix for your Calandiva plant using the following recipe.
- Six scoops of coco coir or peat moss.
- One scoop of coco peat.
- Four scoops of pumice.
- Half scoop of vermiculite.
- Half scoop of agricultural lime.
Whatever you use for a scoop is up to you, depending on the amount of mix you need, but the ratios remain the same.
How much sun will it need?
Indoors, the Calandiva does best with bright natural light, a medium to high light location. The perfect spot for Calandiva is a sunny window where there’s plenty of sunlight, but away from the direct sun, especially during spring and summer. Since they are succulents, direct sunlight will burn them. The south-facing window is an excellent spot for the plant.
Growing them outdoors is fine but be sure to keep them away from direct sunlight and too much rain. The Calandiva also do well under filtered or partial sun. It may grow frail and lanky from low lighting.
Check this too: How to Care for Christmas Cactus
Sunlight dictates the surrounding temperature; therefore, they grow well in a temperature range of 60°F-85°F. The plant should not be outside when temperatures are below 45°F. It can be detrimental as frost can kill the plant.
How to propagate Calandiva
You can propagate Calandiva by seeds, division, or stem cuttings. However, the seeds take the longest time to reproduce and, most times, turn out unsuccessful. The division method is the easiest. Propagation is best done in spring or summer and usually takes about 15 to 20 days for the cuttings to form roots.
Things You’ll Need
- Mature and healthy Calandiva plant
- Sharp, sterile clippers
- A clay pot with a drainage hole
- Rooting hormone powder(optional)
- Succulent or cactus soil blend
- A clear plastic bag
- Spraying bottle with water
- Using sharp and clean clippers, cut off a 4-inch stem slightly above a leaf or stem node. The branch should be healthy and mature but not flowering.
- Clip off the leaves from the lower 2 inches and allow it to sit 2 to 5 days for the wounds to callous.
- You can keep the end of your cutting in rooting hormone powder. It promotes the fast development of healthy roots. This step is optional.
- Fill up a clay pot with succulent soil and moisten the soil. Make sure the soil is not soaking wet as water may rot the new roots.
- Place the cutting in a shallow hole, pat the soil around the stem to stay upright.
- Take the plastic bag and poke a few holes on it, then cover the pot with the plastic bag. It helps increase moisture and humidity while the holes allow for air circulation. Remove the plastic bag when the cutting starts actively growing.
- Place your cutting in bright but indirect sunlight, where the temperature is always above 50°
- Lightly water your cutting when the soil feels dry.
Taking Care of Your Calandiva Plant
Your young Calandiva plant requires very little work when it comes to caring and nurturing to thrive. Here’s how to manage and maintain a new Calandiva plant.
Sunlight and temperature
For optimum growth and cell rejuvenation, the Calandiva plant requires full access to sunlight. Ideally, 3 hours of direct sunlight. The plant will grow feeble and etiolated when it does not receive sufficient sunlight. Etiolated plants grow long, thin, and pale and sometimes will grow feebly towards a light source.
Indoor temperatures of between 60°F to 75°F are adequate for the Calandiva plant.
When grown outside, keep the plant sheltered from direct sunlight and strong winds. It is best if they are taken indoors during winter.
Calandiva plant being ‘drought-resistant’ and a succulent requires minimal watering. For a potted plant, water thoroughly, allow it to drain, and then empty the drain tray. Allow the soil to dry out 2-3 inches deep between watering. Typically, you should water the plant once every two weeks. For garden Calandiva plants, soak the soil to 5-6 inches deep. Do not over-water as it is susceptible to root and stem rot.
Fertilize your potted Calandiva once or twice a month with a water-soluble all-purpose fertilizer. Keep in mind that too much fertilizer can damage the plant, so read instructions on the fertilizer label and apply accordingly. It should be done from spring through fall and stopped during winter.
Clip off any old and dry flowers where they attach to the stem; this will keep it tidy and encourage more blooms. Make sure you use sterile clippers to minimize the risk of spreading plant disease. Occasional pruning of some stems promotes the growth of side-shoots and flowers.
Pests and Diseases
Calandiva is hardly prone to any pests and disease. However, it can develop powdery mildew or stem rot from over-watering. Inspect your plants regularly and wash off pests like aphids and mealybugs by spraying the plant with a hose or spray bottle or wiping the leaves by hand. You can also sprinkle a mixture of one tablespoon of insecticide containing pyrethrins per one quart of water. It is best to spray it directly on the plants every 10 to 14 days until the bugs disappear. Make sure you treat the house plants outside as insecticides are poisonous to pets and people.
Is Calandiva plant poisonous?
As stated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), this plant is not poisonous to people but is toxic to pets and livestock when consumed. While a calf may die after eating 7 grams of Calandiva flowers per 1 kilogram of body weight, the lethal dose for smaller animals is unknown. When ingested by pets, they will require immediate veterinary care as they may develop gastrointestinal irritation.
The plant’s extracts have medicinal purposes for people in some countries.
How to prune Calandiva plant
The timing for pruning or trimming is crucial; if you want blooms in January, you must set the buds in the fall.
Remove dead leaves and stems during the year, but you have to prune after blooming. Here is a guide on how to prune your Calandiva plant correctly.
- It is best to do pruning or trimming of your plant in the late spring, after blooming.
- Sterilize your cutting sheers using a mixture of bleach and water and sharpen them while wet.
- Carefully inspect the plant for any pest and signs of disease. Pick out any bugs or wash them off using a water hose.
- For any brown or dead leaves and wilted and empty flower stems, cut them off at the base using clean and sharp shears. Be sure to make straight, clean cuts as jagged cuts may cause infections and disease.
- To encourage lateral growth, cut the stalk to the second or third leaf of a branch with dead leaves at the tip. It would help if you also cut any long and straggly stems to keep the plant well-rounded.
- Remove the cut stems, leaves, and flowers from the pot to prevent disease and pests’ harboring.
How often do you water Calandiva
Water your Calandiva plant sparingly because it is a succulent. Wait for the soil to dry completely in between watering. It is best to do it once or twice every week, depending on the pot’s size, temperatures, and light. You may also water them slightly more when they are blooming, but do not soak the plants as it may develop root and stem rot.
What is the best fertilizer for Calandiva?
The most suitable fertilizer for this plant is balanced houseplant water-soluble fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. However, you can change the ratio depending on the nutrient requirements of your plant. You can use either liquid or granular type for the garden plants.
How much sun does a Calandiva plant need?
The Calandiva plant thrives under full sunlight for optimal growth. However, avoid direct sunlight during spring and summer as it may burn the leaves of your plant.
How to keep Calandiva blooming
We know the Calandiva plant for its long-lasting blooms. In its native region, it blooms almost all year long. Whereas a houseplant blooms in later winter to early spring for six to eight weeks. They can also bloom up to six months with proper planning. Blooming slows down when lighting increases.
To get a Calandiva to bloom again, you have to manipulate it to flower. You have to control the light by moving the pots in a dark room like the basement or covering them with a dark cloth. The hibernation forces the plant into hibernation. This method works best for potted plants.
Start by trimming off any old and dying flowers to redirect energy to budding instead of supporting already dying flowers. In early fall, cut back on the water and keep the Calandiva plant in darkness for 14 to 16 hours per night for six weeks. When the buds start forming, fertilize your plant with 0-10-10 to promote healthy flowering and overall plant health.
In short, if you want your plant to bloom at a specific time, you have to hibernate it six weeks before your desired blooming time.
Why are my Calandiva leaves turning yellow?
There are a couple of conditions that cause the yellowing of the Calandiva leaves. They include:
Because Calandiva is a succulent plant, most people tend to forget to water the plant over a long duration. Succulents still require water for metabolic processes. If the leaves are yellow, check to see how dry or wet the soil is. When the plant isn’t receiving enough moisture, the leaves drop to reduce transpiration and conserve water. The leaves turn yellow before they fall off.
Cut off the yellow leaves and maintain regular watering of the plant.
Too much water can be as damaging to the leaves as inadequate water. Waterlogged soil has no oxygen, which causes the roots to rot. When they decay, they do not take up water and nutrients properly up to the leaves. Too much water also allows for the breeding of disease-causing bacteria. It results in wilting and yellowing of the leaves as a sign of infection. There is no way to treat rotting roots; however, you can prevent it by using well-aerated soil with proper drainage and minimal watering.
Extreme cold winds and temperatures
The leaves of your plant will turn yellow and drop when exposed to a freezing draft. If your potted plant is near an air conditioner in the summer, it helps move it away from any AC. If the plant is on the front porch in the winter, move it indoors. Frost can also burn the leaves of a succulent plant. Since they grow naturally in warmer regions, ensure the surrounding temperatures are not lower than 45°F.
When you notice yellowing on the side away from leaves, this is due to insufficient light. If this the case, you should move your potted Calandiva to a sunnier spot in the house. Specifically, a place that receives sunlight all day.
The yellowing of leaves is a common sign of zinc deficiency. It is usually a common problem for soils high in phosphorous levels. Zinc deficiency, particularly in Calandiva, may cause fasciation, which presents itself in malformations of the plant. For instance, flat stems and deformed leaves. Apply a soil pH of 6.0 to or a mixture of perlite and peat.
Pests and disease
A Calandiva plant with an infection will show patchy and blotchy yellowing on the leaves and stems. There may also be signs of bugs or pests. You may even notice deformed leaves and faded flowers. Try using an insecticide after trimming off the infected parts. If the condition does not improve, it may be a viral infection.
Viral infections in plants have no treatment, so you’ll have to discard the plant. Make sure you sterilize your hands and cutting tools after to prevent spreading the infection to other plants.
The Calandiva plant is one of the easiest plants to care for and grow. With consistent sunlight, minimal watering, and the occasional pruning, they will reward you with varied, colorful flowers all year round.