Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’
Kalanchoe beharensis is native to Madagascar where the plant grows in xerophyte. The cultivar ‘Fang’ has garden origin.
Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ is a monstrous form of Kalanchoe beharensis a common succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae botanical family. The succulent has an erect and tortuous habit and can reach up to 90 cm in height and 15 cm in diameter. The stem is branched above and woody at the base, bluish green in color. The plant forms dense rosettes of leaves. The leaves are triangular, opposite, fleshy, petiolate, glabrous to pubescent, bluish to silver-greyish, with toothed margins and hooked tubercles across the upper half of the backsides of the leaves. Blooming occurs from the early spring to the late summer and the terminal inflorescence is 30 cm long and bear many flowers. The flowers are small, numerous ranging from red to orange to yellowish. The plant is appreciated for the ornamental shape it takes and for the refined colors it offers.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant can be placed in both direct sunlight and light shade, but if you first place it in light shade and then decide to move it outside to direct sunlight, do so gradually to allow the plant to get used to it. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 8° C, below this temperature it begins to suffer and going down further it no longer survives. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The soil should be a well-draining and porous soil, so you can use a standard cactus soil or a mix of fertile soil and sand. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. During the vegetative period you can water the plant every 5 days with half a glass of water, checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. The plant is used to growing in poor soils, for this reason it does not need abundant fertilization, it is sufficient to fertilize once in spring and once in summer. 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; it is usually done every 2-3 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
The plant can be propagated exclusively by cuttings. 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. 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 make two or more cuttings at the same time. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C.
The specific epithet “beharensis” refers to the location where the plant is widespread: Behara in Madagascar. The name ‘fang’ refers to the tubercles in the bottom side of the leaves which resembles fangs even though they are not pointed.
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