Kalanchoe longiflora var. genuina
Kalanchoe longiflora is native to KwaZulu-Natal where the plant grows on rocky soils and can spread up to 1700 m of altitude.
Kalanchoe longiflora is a perennial succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae botanical family. The plant can reach up to 15 cm in diameter and 40 cm tall, but when the plant reaches this height it tends to fall and to become procumbent. The stem is erect, quadrangular, branched, woody at the base and waxy at the apex. The leaves are large, fleshy, stout, sessile with purple and slightly toothed margins. The leaves are ovate to obovate, pale green in color and can turn on red shades in direct sunlight. Blooming occurs from late winter to early spring and the buds are borne at the apex of the plant. The inflorescence is a cyme, candelabra-like. The flowers are funnel-shaped, with a green calyx and a yellow corolla.
The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy to cultivate. For this succulent the best exposure is direct sunlight but for no more than 4 hours, so you can place it outdoors but be careful on the hottest days. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. Temperatures below 8° C can damage the plant so it is best to shelter it or place it in a cold greenhouse during the winter. 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. Irrigation is proportional to the size of the pot, the position and the season. In Spring and Autumn the plant can be watered with a glass of water every 7-10 days; in summer it can be watered every 3-5 days. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant twice a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout 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; it is usually done every 2-3 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
The easiest and fast method of propagation is to use cuttings. 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.
Also called ‘Tugela cliff-kalanchoe’, because in its natural habitat it grows on the rocky edges in Tugela, South Africa.
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