From Old World tropics. Kalan- choes have fleshy, typically green leaves and bell-shaped flowers; they are used principally as houseplants but can be grown outdoors year-round where winters are mild and frost free. Site indoor plants in a south-facing window and let them go fairly dry between waterings. Feed with a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer monthly from spring until fall. Reduce watering in winter, but don't let soil dry out so much that leaves wither.
K. beharensis. FELT PLANT. Very narrow plant; grows to 45 ft. (possibly even 10 ft.) tall, just 12 ft. wide. Stems are typically unbranched, carrying thick, triangular to lance-shaped leavesusually six to eight pairs of themat the tips. Leaves are 48 in. long and half as wide, strikingly waved and crimped at the edges and covered with a dense, feltlike coating of white to brown hairs. Flowers are unimportant. Hybrids between this and other species differ in leaf size, color, and degree of felting and scalloping. Impressive in big rock gardens and raised beds.
K. blossfeldiana. KALANCHOE. To 112 ft. tall and wide. Shiny, dark green, smooth-edged or slightly lobed leaves thinly bordered in red; 212 in. long, 1112-in. wide. Small, bright red flowers come in big clusters held above the leaves. Hybrids and named selections come in regular or dwarf (6-in.) sizes and in different flower colors, including yellow, orange, salmon, and red. Blooms in winter and early spring. Popular houseplant for the winter holidays (often sold in supermarkets then) but can be kept for years.
K. daigremontiana. MOTHER-OF-THOUSANDS, MATERNITY PLANT. Upright, single-stemmed plant 1123 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide. Leaves to 68 in. long, 112 in. wide (or wider), in gray-green spotted with red. Leaf edges are notched; young plants sprout in the notches and can be removed and planted. Clusters of small, drooping, grayish purple flowers in winter.
K. fedtschenkoi. SOUTH AMERICAN AIR PLANT. Popular ground cover in south Florida. To 12 ft. tall, 1012 in. wide, with smooth, scalloped, blue-green leaves 12 in. long. Clusters of pendent reddish flowers in summer. Prostrate stems root where they touch soil. Often erroneously called gray sedum.
K. luciae. FLAPJACK PLANT, PADDLE PLANT. From southeastern Africa. Colorful, sculptural plant grows 1112 ft. high and wide, spreading by offsets. Short, thick trunk holds fleshy, broadly oval leaves to 8 in. long and 68 in. wide. Leaves are gray-green, with margins that turn bright red in full sun. In winter or early spring, a single stem rises 23 ft. high and bears clusters of 1234-in.-long, tubular, dark yellow flowers with a pleasing fragrance. Provide protection from slugs and snails, which can permanently disfigure leaves. 'Fantastic' (also sold as K. thyrsiflora 'Fantastic') has gray-green leaves striped with cream variegation, and shading red at the margins.
K. pinnata. AIR PLANT. To 23 ft. tall and wide. First leaves to form are undivided and scallop edged. Later ones divided into three to five leaflets. These are also scalloped. Produces many plantlets in notches of scallops. Leaves can be removed and pinned to curtain, where they will produce plantlets until they dry up. Greenish white to reddish flowers in clusters to 3 in. long; not particularly attractive. Likes moisture.
K. tomentosa. PANDA PLANT. Branching plant eventually reaches 3 ft. high, 8 in. wide. Leaves 2 in. long, with dense, feltlike coating of white hairs. Leaf tips and shallow notches in leaves are strongly marked dark brown. Yellowish green flowers in spring.
K. uniflora. Trailing plant 6 in. high, 2 ft. wide; good in hanging pots. Thick, 1-in.-long leaves have a few scallops near rounded tips. Inch-long summer flowers; color ranges from red to purple.