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.
Species and varieties
© 2004 Philippe Faucon, All Rights Reserved.