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Submitted by: Jim Tanner

Although Kalanchoe is a large genus of succulents and has a very wide distribution area: all of Africa south of the Sahara desert, Madagascar, islands of the Indian Ocean, India and Malaysia. Most of the species interesting to collectors are coming from Madagascar or South Africa. These species are generally subshrubs with succulent leaves. The genera Bryophyllum and Kitchingia are generally now included in Kalanchoe.
Contrarily to other members of the family that have most flower parts in multiple of 5, Kalanchoe flowers have 4 connected petals forming a tube, 4 sepals, 4 carpels, and 8 stamens.
A number of species can take temperature close to freezing for short times, but none will really tolerate any frost. The species that have pubescent (fuzzy) leaves can generally tolerate Phoenix intense heat without trouble particularly if kept in light shade. The species with smooth leaves are a little less tolerant, but fare generally better than most other crassulaceae in such hot conditions.
In general, Kalanchoe do better with bright shade, although some species are comfortable with some direct sun, while others tolerate shade.

Kalanchoe beharensis
Kalanchoe beharensis
Kalanchoe bracteata
Kalanchoe bracteata
Kalanchoe eriophyll
Kalanchoe eriophylla
Kalanchoe × kewensis
Kalanchoe × kewensis
Kalanchoe marmorata
Kalanchoe marmorata
Kalanchoe thyrsiflor
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora
Kalanchoe tomentosa
Kalanchoe tomentosa

LATIN LOOKUP – Loquerisne Latine (Do you speak Latin)?

The meanings of latin plant names on this page – from

  • beharensis [be-HAIR-en-sis]
    Of or from Behara, South Madagascar.
  • bracteata [brak-tee-AY-tuh]
    Having bracts (modified leaves directly beneath the flower).
  • eriophylla [er-ee-oh-FIL-uh]
    Woolly leaf.
  • Kalanchoe [kal-un-KOH-ee]
    From the Chinese name for one of the species.
  • kewensis [kew-EN-sis]
    Of or from the Kew Gardens UK.
  • marmorata [mar-mor-RAY-tuh]
  • thyrsiflora [thur-SEE-flor-uh]
    Flowers arranged in a thyrse (a flower cluster with a central spike that has side branches also clustered with flowers).
  • tomentosa [toh-men-TOH-suh]
    Covered with fine, matted hairs.
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