Help! Whats wrong with my Kalanchoe Paddle?

by Matt
(New York, NY)

Hi, please help me understand whats going on with this Kalanchoe Paddle. The leaves have some dark colored spots and any new leaves on top seem to be rotting away. I have a feeling it wasn't getting enough sun, but there's plenty of direct sun available in my apartment, is that the best option? Also how often should it be watered as an indoor plant. Thanks!

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Apr 19, 2020
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

Sometimes you have to know when to give up. This might be the time. Once a plant looks like this, it's pretty much game over. Sorry.

This looks like a case of, it looked healthy when you got it, then the top got knocked off or died, then a tiny sprout appeared, which is when it all went horribly wrong.

The sprout is now in bad shape, which means that the plant tried hard to recover, but it may not have anything left.

Even direct sun in your window does not address the issue of day length, which is also important. It also is possible that the sun through the window actually burned the plant, causing the initial damage.

This is why I actually recommend grow lights through the winter. The other part of this is that you MUST let the plant go dormant, by not watering it, and keeping it in a cool spot (not freezing or anywhere near that).

I can't answer the question of how often should it be watered. Your conditions are going to be totally different than those in another situation. Things like the size of the pot, the size of the plant, the type of soil and whether it drains quickly or slowly, and the temperature, among other factors, all influence how often to water. There is also the stage of growth of the plant too.

In addition; never water the plant until it's bone dry. Never use cold water, or water with minerals in it, ie: tap water.

My suggestion to you is to take the plant out of the pot, check the conditions of the roots. If they look white and seem to be growing, good. If they are black or brown, shriveled, or rotted, not so good, and you may as well discard the plant and start fresh.

In the first case, try to remove most of the soil, and repot it into a slightly larger pot with some well drained cactus/potting soil. Not manure or peat based. The best soil looks more like gravel than garden soil.

Please ask if you have more questions.

Apr 19, 2020
by: Jacki

The little pot, used as a cache pot, is a great way to keep plants like ferns or African violets moist. However, that's the opposite of the conditions that succulents prefer.

Use it if you must, but NEVER let water sit in the bottom of it. Take the inner pot out, water, then let it drain completely before putting it back into the cache pot for display. Most succulents like being potted into a terracotta clay pot, or other pot that has air exchange for the roots.

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