One of the most popular of all succulents is Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, or Flaming Katie (or Katy if you prefer).
The leaves are glossy and not super thick like some other succulent plants, and always look healthy even when the plant is not in bloom.
When Katie flowers, watch out. She reaches a whole new level of gorgeous. The leaves recede into the background and form a foil for the lovely and abundant flowers, held in a cluster.
Some varieties have double flowers, which look like little roses.
They come in many different colors, from palest pink or white, to golden yellow, to peach, orange, hot pink and red.
These flowers last a long time, only fading gradually after weeks. Cut them off when they're all done, and in time they'll bloom again.
You can trigger a new bloom cycle by letting the plant dry out almost completely, trimming back any leggy growth and giving it good light levels for the summer.
By September or so, they'll be ready to set buds, so resume a fairly regular watering regime, fertilize the plant with some water soluble fertilizer, and see what happens.
With luck, they'll flower again for the Christmas season.
This is why they're rightfully so popular as Christmas succulents. They make ideal gifts, or a centerpiece on your table.
The odd issue can affect Kalanchoe blossfeldiana. There are a few fungal problems, such as mildew, that show on the leaves as grey dots which sometimes merge into extensive patches.
The remedy for it is fairly drastic; cut or pull the affected leaves off the plant, and dispose of them in the garbage, not in the compost. If leaves fall off the plant by themselves, clean them up immediately before the fungus spores get a chance to infect more plants.
One solution I've heard of but never tried is to spray the plant with water and bicarbonate of soda.
Fill a one liter spray bottle with tepid water and add a teaspoon of baking soda in it, shake well. Spray the affected parts of the plant with the mixture until it runs off.
Let it dry.
This will change the pH of the plant surface and make it difficult for the spores to attach to the leaves.
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