Kalanchoe luciae is native to KwaZulu-Natal, Mozambique, Northern Provinces, Swaziland and Zimbabwe where the plant grows on granite slopes in woodland or savannah.
Kalanchoe luciae is a perennial succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae botanical family. The plant has both solitary or forming a clumps habit and can reach up to 60 cm in diameter. The succulent form a rosette of leaves very showy and eye-catching. The leaves are erect, sessile, large, fleshy, stout, obovate to oblong-spatulate, arranged in pairs and bright green in color. The margins of the leaves can turn on red shades when exposed to the direct sunlight. Blooming occurs from late winter to early spring and the buds are borne by a long stalk at the apex of the plant. The inflorescence is a panicle-like thyrsi, so an indeterminate central axis with many opposite lateral axes. The flowers are urn-shaped, with a green calyx and a white to yellowish-green corolla. The fruits are follicles containing tiny seeds. The particular shape of the leaves and their beautiful color give the plant a high ornamental value and make it perfect for an original decoration or composition.
This is a fast growing plant, but 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.
Kalanchoe luciae is usually mistakenly called Kalanchoe thrysiflora.
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