Kalanchoe beharensis cv. Maltese Cross


Kalanchoe vantieghemii


Kalanchoe beharensis is native to Madagascar where the plant grows in xerophyte forests. The cultivar ‘Maltese Cross’ originates from nursery.


Kalanchoe beharensis cv. Maltese Cross is a large shrubby succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae botanical family. The stem is erect, woody, branched and can reach up to 2 m in height and 12 cm in diameter. The bark is resinous, greyish green with conspicuous leave scars. The leaves are triangular with a very irregular shape, toothed and slightly pointed at the apex. The leaves are velvety, petiolate, fleshy, pale green to silver green, completely covered with a silky greyish bloom giving the plant unusual shades. Blooming occurs from the late spring to the late summer and the inflorescence is borne on long stalks up to 60 cm in height. The flowers are small, low-profile, numerous, funnel-shaped, pink-red to orange yellow. This plant is perfect for decorating your office.


The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 8° C, below this temperature it begins to suffer so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Using a perforating pot, you can drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. About fertilization, for this plant is sufficient to fertilize moderately during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents and stop fertilizing during the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


Propagation can be done by cutting. By cutting you can use the offsets during the spring. Cut an offset and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can cut two or more offsets at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. For leaf cutting you can cut some healthy leaves and plant it in a pot with sand and loam. Place the pot in a warm and bright environment and in 1-2 months the cuttings will be ready to plant. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development.


The specific epithet “beharensis” refers to the location where the plant is widespread: Behara in Madagascar. Also called ‘Elephant’s Ear Kalanchoe’ for its large triangular leaves.

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