Did you know that the Kalanchoe plant family consists of around 125 species? Some of those species like the Kalanchoe beharensis can grow up to 6 meters high. That’s the height of a tree!
Unlike trees, however, Kalanchoes are herbaceous plants that don’t have a wooden stem. They also lack the life span of trees that could last for hundreds of years. So, how long is the Kalanchoe lifespan?
A Kalanchoe plant’s lifespan can last up to seven years if you look after them. A Kalanchoe will keep growing and flowering as long as you keep providing it with nutrients and water.
However, reaching that seven-year life span is not the norm. Many things decide how long a Kalanchoe will live.
What Controls the Lifespan of Kalanchoe?
Many things control how healthy your Kalanchoe can be. Most of these things have to do with how you take care of the plant as it grows.
1 – Watering
Most people assume that when the soil is dry, then the plant needs some water. This isn’t wrong, but it isn’t the case with Kalanchoe.
Kalanchoes are among succulents. Those are a group of plants that can store water inside the leaves. In that case, even if the soil is seemingly dry, the plant would still have a fair amount of water stored inside the leaves.
Watering plants is normally done when the top layer of the soil is dry, in the case of succulents like Kalanchoes, watering should be done only when the top two inches of the soil are dry.
Those two inches aren’t exact. It’s not rocket science. All you have to do is to dip half your finger in the soil and if it’s all dry, then it’s time to add some water.
If you’re growing your Kalanchoe indoors, that’s the equivalent of watering your plant every two or three weeks.
If you overwater Kalanchoe plants, the water will stagnate and it will lead to fungal overgrowth on the root. This eventually leads to root rot.
To avoid that, add enough water to moisten the soil but not overflow it.
2 – Feeding
Almost a month after you’ve planted a Kalanchoe plant, you’ll need to start feeding it. Plants often rely on sunlight and soil minerals to perform photosynthesis. It’s basically the plant making its own food.
Kalanchoe could have so much flowering that it hides the green parts of the plant. This reduces the plant’s ability to make its food. You’ll need to intervene to minimize the impact of such a thing.
Providing your Kalanchoe with succulent food makes up for the hindered photosynthesis and keeps the plant healthy. Feeding your plant should be done once every two weeks.
3 – Pruning
Pruning a plant is defined as cutting or removing dead stems, leaves, or flowers.
The plant isn’t aware that a particular part of it is nearing the end of its biological cycle. Because of that, the plant will still try to nourish that dying part until it’s decayed.
That wastes a lot of potential nourishment the plant could have used on newer parts.
When you cut off those dying parts of the plant early on, you allow it to focus all its nutrition on the parts that actually matter.
A good rule of thumb is pruning any flowering plant right after it finishes flowering. The Kalanchoe is no exception.
When you prune a Kalanchoe, aim for the dry or brown leaves. The severe color change is usually a sign that this part of the plant needs to be removed.
4 – Sun Exposure
It’s logical for most plants to need sunlight exposure to grow. Kalanchoes often require exposure to bright, natural sunlight.
That straightforward sentence is why many people accidentally damage their Kalanchoes without knowing why.
Kalanchoes do need natural sunlight, but not “direct” sunlight. Direct exposure of Kalanchoes to sunlight will cause the leaves to burn. This is especially dangerous in the midday sun.
We recommend giving your Kalanchoes the full sun treatment without direct exposure. To do that indoors, place the plant close to a window where it can get exposed to at least six hours a day of indirect sunlight.
Kalanchoe: Annual or Perennial?
Annual plants are those that complete their entire life cycle and die within less than a year. Some of the kalanchoe plants are annual plants but the majority are perennial.
A perennial plant is defined as a plant whose lifespan goes over two years. Most Kalanchoe plants lie in that category.
However, despite being perennial plants, most Kalanchoes are treated as annual plants. They are usually thrown away after the first bloom is over.
The reason behind that is the difficulty most people find in making their Kalanchoe bloom once more. Luckily, it’s still possible for you to help your plant bloom again and extend its lifespan.
How Can You Extend the Lifespan of Kalanchoe?
We’ve already mentioned four factors that control the lifespan of Kalanchoe plants. Minding those four factors will go a long way in keeping your plant alive for longer.
There are other things that you could actively do to help your plant live even healthier.
1 – Control the Insects
Bugs and insects are the enemies of many green plants. They either share your plant’s food or eat the plant itself for food.
It’s recommended to spray your plant with insecticidal soap to keep it safe from insects. You should do that at least once every 90 days.
2 – Mind the Temperature
Kalanchoes aren’t picky plants and they often comfortably live at room temperatures. The plant will continue to grow and bloom as long as the temperature ranges between 55 °F and 80 °F.
However, if you live in an area where the weather is extreme on either end, you should use air conditioners or heaters to keep the Kalanchoe within accepted temperatures.
3 – Use Quality Fertilizer
Fertilizing your plant doesn’t only mean adding some fertilizer once a month, it also means using a quality fertilizer.
Investing in good fertilizers may sound like an unnecessary spend in the beginning, but if you intend to keep your plant alive for as long as possible, you shouldn’t opt for cheap products.
How Long Do Kalanchoe Blooms Last?
Depending on the conditions and how you take care of it, a Kalanchoe plant blooms for weeks and even months.
Naturally, Kalanchoes start to bloom between the end of winter and the beginning of spring. That period has what’s known as short days.
On those days, the amount of sunlight and daytime isn’t as long as the rest of the year. When a Kalanchoe plant is exposed to 13 hours of darkness a day for a while, it will start to bloom.
Some people use this knowledge to “trick” Kalanchoes into blooming in non-blooming seasons. They prevent sunlight from reaching the plant most of the time, which mimics the natural short day of the plant.
When that happens, the Kalanchoe will bloom but it will mess up its biological cycle. This trick is often used by people who are not too keen on keeping their plant around for long.
If you have the intention of making your plant live longer, then you should avoid doing such a thing.
How to Extend the Flowering Period of Kalanchoes?
We’ve mentioned earlier that Kalanchoes could bloom either for weeks or months. If you’d like to enjoy the flowery beauty of the plant as much as possible, you should keep an eye for wilted flowers.
The life cycle of flowers is often much shorter than the rest of the plant. Once a flower starts to wilt, you need to remove that flower.
This uses the same “survival of the fittest” concept we use in pruning. When you remove a flower that is beginning to die, you provide much more nourishment to the flowers that are beginning to grow.
That being said, there’s one difference between removing the wilting flowers and pruning the plant. When you prune a plant, you remove whole structures; a brown stem, a decaying leaf…etc.
However, in the case of wilting flowers, you should remove only the target flower. The following flower is often in the same stem so if you cut it, you lose that budding flower.
Kalanchoe lifespan could go up to seven years which makes it a perennial plant. Yet, because of how difficult it is to re-bloom, many plant owners don’t bother starting the process all over again.
If you’re not one of those people and are intending to keep your plant for as long as it could, then you should give your plant every chance.
Invest in good fertilizers, succulent foods, and insecticidal soaps. They will keep your plants nourished and bug-free.
Keep your Kalanchoe at a suitable temperature and make sure it gets as much indirect sun as possible. Last but not least, don’t excessively water your Kalanchoe to avoid rotting and drowning
Allow the Kalanchoe to bloom again, it will be worth it.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.