Kalanchoe synsepala is a beautiful perennial succulent. It is stoloniferous evergreen species that belongs to the family Crassulaceae. This species was first described by John Gilbert Baker. Kalanchoe synsepala is mainly grown for its attractive foliage. Kalanchoe synsepala offers a huge variety of shapes and sizes and makes a great display in succulent gardens. It is drought tolerant succulent that is suitable for xeriscaping.
Common Name: Walking Kalanchoe, Cup Kalanchoe.
Synonyms: Kalanchoe gentyi, Kalanchoe ‘Gremlin’, Kalanchoe trichantha.
Origin and Habitat
Kalanchoe synsepala is native to central-southern Madagascar (an island country lying off the southeastern coast of Africa). It grows well in the Rocky Mountains and dry soils of Madagascar.
How does Kalanchoe synsepala look like?
Kalanchoe synsepala is an amazing succulent that comes in variable shapes and sizes. The more common Kalanchoe synsepala has wide, grey-green, plastic leaves with bright green coloration and purple-pink edges. This succulent produces 2-4 long stolons with baby plantlets at the end of long stems. The baby plantlets eventually trail over the edges of the containers and bend down to the ground where they take root giving rise to the new succulents.
Stem: Kalanchoe synsepala has short, stout, woody stems that are always unbranched and erect growing up to 40 cm tall.
Leaves: The leaves appear in terminal rosettes, 6 to 15 mm long and 4 to 7 mm wide. The lower leaves are opposite, oval to oblong, fleshy, and cupped with purple bands inside the marginal teeth. The toothed margins are dentate or sometimes dissected. The leaves appear in different colors and sizes.
Flowers: Flowers are small, tubular-shaped, pale pink to reddish in dense terminal cymes.
Is Kalanchoe synsepala an outdoor or indoor succulent?
Kalanchoe synsepala can be grown both outdoors and indoors depending upon the temperature and light conditions. It can be grown outdoors in the containers during the summer season and as an indoor succulent during the winter season.
How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe synsepala?
Here I will share with you a detailed guide on how to grow and care for Kalanchoe synsepala.
Kalanchoe synsepala loves to grow in bright sunlight. Outdoor succulents can be planted in full bright sun to partial shade.
Where should I keep Kalanchoe synsepala?
In areas where the summer is extremely hot, and the sunlight is too intense they should be planted under light shade.
Indoor succulents should be kept near a bright sunny window for ample sunlight exposure. In winter keep your Kalanchoe succulents near a south-facing window, while in summer season move them near east or west-facing windows. Avoid direct contact with the windows during the summer season, when the sun is too intense it may cause the burning or scorching of the leaves.
Note: If your succulents start growing too tall or appear leggy or stretched out, it is an indication that it is not getting enough sunlight. If you experience this situation, move your indoor succulent near a bright sunny window.
What to do with a leggy or stretched out Kalanchoe synsepala?
Cut back leggy or stretched out Kalanchoe succulents. Abnormally long or tall growing stems should be removed to maintain round and compact growth. After removing the unwanted growth move your succulents to a location where they get sufficient sunlight exposure.
How to prepare potting mix?
Kalanchoe synsepala requires a well-draining potting mix. You can use a special cactus mix, or a succulent soil mix readily available in the market or prepare a potting mix at your own by mixing 40 to 50% grit (perlite and sand) with peat moss.
Coarse sand and perlite improve the drainage and aeration of the potting medium by increasing the soil porosity. A well-draining potting soil will not retain the moisture and prevent the roots from rot.
What type of potting medium should be avoided?
Avoid the use of a potting medium that is too clayey. The clayey soil will not have enough porosity to let the excess water drain out and it will ultimately lead to water build up in the potting medium, causing root rot and decay.
Should I put rocks at the bottom of the container?
It is not necessary to put rocks at the bottom of the containers. Generally, a single rock to cover the drainage hole is sufficient, to prevent the soil from leaching out of the bottom. Putting rocks in the containers doesn’t improve drainage or air circulation.
Kalanchoe synsepala grows well at warm temperatures. Therefore, it can be easily grown as an outdoor succulent in areas where the temperature is warm. It is grown as a hardy succulent in USDA zones 9 to 11. It can tolerate the temperature as low as 25-degree Fahrenheit.
Kalanchoe synsepala cannot survive freezing temperatures. Below freezing temperature will cause frost injury and death of the succulent in no time.
How to save the succulents from frost injury?
If there is a risk of frost it is better to bring the potted plants indoors and place in a sunny windowsill or under artificial grow lights. If the succulents are grown in the garden soil it is better to cover them with frost clothes to protect from freezing weather. It has been reported that even a few hours of exposure to below freezing temperatures is enough to kill the succulents.
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Can I keep Kalanchoe synsepala in Terrace?
Yes, you can keep Kalanchoe synsepala in Terrace or Balcony. It will make a nice display on the terrace. They love to thrive in a sunny spot. If the weather turns cold, you can simply move the succulents indoors.
Can I keep my Kalanchoe synsepala in the garden?
Yes, you can keep your Kalanchoe succulents in the garden to let them enjoy bright sunlight. Avoid exposure to intense direct sunlight, it can cause sunscald.
Kalanchoe synsepala watering
Kalanchoe synsepala is a drought-smart succulent and it can tolerate a period of neglect. The watering needs vary with the seasonal temperatures. Kalanchoe synsepala needs moderate irrigation in the autumn and spring seasons. In the summer season, they need to be irrigated more frequently because the evaporation rate is very high due to the hot weather, and the water is lost at a rapid rate from the soil and plant parts. During winter season the succulents need occasional watering due to the low rate of evaporation.
Water well and let it drain out of the drainage hole. Then wait for the soil to dry out completely before applying the next irrigation.
How to know when to water your succulents? Insert your finger in the soil, if the top 1 to 2 inches are completely dry, it is the right time to water.
Though these succulents can survive a period of drought but do not neglect them for a long time. Water the succulents well as soon as the soil dries out to ensure their healthy growth.
Overwatering is the most common problem causing the death of the succulents. Excess of water causes rotting and decay of the roots; it also encourages fungal growth.
Can I use spray bottles to water Kalanchoe synsepala?
Spray bottles are not recommended to water Kalanchoe succulents. The most common watering mistake is that you water your Kalanchoe succulents by spraying water on the leaves. This method only works for propagating new Kalanchoe succulents. In mature plants, it is the root system that absorbs water and nutrition for the succulent. Water the soil directly near the root zone using water bottles or cans for better water utilization efficiency.
Another disadvantage of using spray bottles is that the water stays on the leaves and can cause rotting.
What is the right time to water Kalanchoe synsepala?
The best time to water is in the morning. Avoid watering your Kalanchoe succulents at noon or in the afternoon. Don’t water when the weather is too humid or extremely hot.
How to water Kalanchoe succulents in the pots without drainage holes?
If you are using pots without drainage holes, it is recommended to water your succulents sparingly. After a few minutes tip the container sideways and let the excess water drain out. Water slowly so that the water gets evenly distributed in the soil without pooling at the bottom of the container.
Does Kalanchoe synsepala like Humidity?
All varieties of Kalanchoe succulents can generally take all levels of humidity. The only thing that varies with the humidity is their watering needs. If the humidity is very high, the succulents need less water, while at low humidity they may need water more often. Though humidity does not impact the overall plant growth directly, however, high humidity can likely encourage the fungal growth on the succulents. Generally, the humidity at room temperature is just fine for the growth of Kalanchoe synsepala.
Fertilization is always a fun thing for enthusiast gardeners who want to make their plants grow luxuriantly. Though Kalanchoe synsepala gets plenty of nutrition from the potting medium, it can be benefited from a moderate dose of some extra nutrients.
How to fertilize Kalanchoe synsepala?
It is recommended to fertilize your succulents during the active growing phase biweekly or monthly with a light dose of manufacturer’s recommended 20:8:20 cactus fertilizer or succulent fertilizer mix. Avoid feeding your succulents when they are in the dormant phase.
These succulents don’t need a lot of nutrients so, avoid the overdose of fertilizers.
Can I use coffee grounds, eggshells, and banana peels to fertilize Kalanchoe synsepala?
As the coffee grounds easily break down in the soil, they will add nitrogen to the potting medium. Nitrogen is a vital nutrient for Kalanchoe succulents. Coffee grounds will also help to improve soil aeration and drainage. Coffee grounds may even suppress pests and weeds.
Eggshells can be used in succulent gardens. You can use the eggshell tea to give an added dose of calcium to the Kalanchoe succulents. Eggshells will also give them an extra dose of potassium.
Banana peels are good for Kalanchoe succulents. They contain essential minerals that are beneficial for your succulents. They are not only a rich source of potassium and phosphorus, but they also contain some other elements like calcium, sodium manganese, and sulfur.
How to propagate Kalanchoe synsepala?
Kalanchoe synsepala can be propagated by small bulbils, leaf, and stem cuttings.
To take the cuttings use a clean sharp scissor or gardening shears. Gently cut the plant part you want to propagate. The bulbils can also be easily removed and used for propagation. Let the cutting sit at a warm dry place for 2 to 3 days. It will allow the cuttings to develop callous at the cut ends.
Can I place the cuttings directly in the potting soil?
No, the cuttings should not be placed directly in the potting soil. Always let the cuttings to callous before planting. If you will directly place the cuttings in the potting soil they will rot very soon.
Fill the containers (in which you wish to propagate the succulents) with a standard succulent mix. Place the cuttings at the top of the pre-moistened potting soil (a mix of sand, perlite, and peat moss). Keep misting the cuttings regularly 5 to 6 times a day and keep the soil evenly moist. The cuttings need more water until they establish in the soil. But do not overwater it will rot the cuttings.
Put the pots near a window with indirect sunlight. Avoid exposure to bright direct sunlight until the succulents are established in the soil. The succulents will start rooting after 2 to 3 weeks and will be ready to transplant into new containers.
How often to repot Kalanchoe synsepala?
Kalanchoe synsepala does not require frequent repotting. It can thrive well in the same container for years. However, a general rule is to repot all Kalanchoe succulents every 2 years.
Repotting will provide a fertile potting medium to the succulents with plenty of nutrients. Even if your Kalanchoe has completed 2 years in the same container and is growing healthy still it is recommended to repot into new containers.
What are the conditions when it becomes necessary to repot Kalanchoe synsepala?
It is also recommended to repot in certain other conditions, for example, when the potting medium and the containers have poor drainage, the succulent is infested by insect pests or diseases, and when the container is too small for the succulent to grow and spread. It is also advised to repot every time you buy a new succulent from the market.
Does Kalanchoe synsepala need grooming?
Kalanchoe synsepala is a dainty succulent that does not grow too tall; therefore, it does not need pruning.
However, pruning to remove the spent blooms and dead leaves can encourage more blooming and healthy growth in the next growing season. Just take a clean scissor and snip off the spent blooms and dead leaves gently. Make sure you don’t injure any other part of the succulent. Pruning will also make your succulent look well-organized, neat, and tidy.
How to make Kalanchoe synsepala bloom again?
Keep the succulent at a warm location and away from drafts. Stop watering and fertilization for 6 weeks. Give your succulents 14 hours of dark and 10 hours of bright light for 6 weeks before the blooming season. As soon as you see the flower buds coming out, shift the plant to bright lighting, and resume regular watering. Feed the succulents in the spring season and remove the spent blooms to encourage bud development in the next season.
Is Kalanchoe synsepala poisonous?
Generally, all Kalanchoe succulents are toxic to pet animals, birds, and livestock. They must be kept out of the reach of toddlers because they can cause stomach upset.
Kalanchoe succulents contain cardiac glycosides that are toxic to pet animals. If you are keeping pets at home, it is advised to keep the succulents away from cats and dogs because if they eat up any plant part it can lead to serious consequences. The pets will start developing several symptoms after ingestion such as diarrhea, vomiting, change in heart rate and rhythm, stomach upset or pain, and excessive slobbering.
If you observe any of the above-mentioned symptoms of poisoning take your pet immediately to an expert Veterinarian.
Which containers are recommended to grow Kalanchoe synsepala?
Pick the pots or containers with drainage holes to allow the excess water to drain out. It is recommended to use terracotta pots or glazed ceramics because they have good drainage capacity and provide exceptional results. Make sure you choose the right sized pot to grow your Kalanchoe succulents.
What are the common problems of Kalanchoe synsepala?
Kalanchoe synsepala is quite tolerant to insect pests. Mealybugs and aphids can be occasionally observed attacking the indoor plants. However, these insects are not a very big problem. You can control the infestation easily if you are lucky enough to spot the problem at an early stage.
How to control insect pests?
It is recommended to use 70 % isopropyl alcohol or neem oil spray to get rid of these tiny bugs. The stems and leaves of the succulent should be rubbed with isopropyl alcohol to keep the bugs away. If the infestation is very severe, you can use a non-toxic insecticide spray.
Another big problem with all Kalanchoe succulents is overwatering. You may experience this problem if you have accidentally ended up overwatering your kalanchoe succulent. Overwatering increases the chances of fungal diseases. Therefore, optimize the use of water to save your succulents from the havocs of overwatering.
Why do the leaves of Kalanchoe synsepala turn yellow?
Overwatered Kalanchoe succulent is prone to rotting. If the soil doesn’t drain well the water accumulates in the soil and causes the disintegration of roots. It will ultimately stop the supply of water and nutrients to the plants resulting in several symptoms such as yellowing of leaves, wilting, and death of the succulent.
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Which succulents can be planted together with Kalanchoe synsepala?
You can plant Kalanchoe synsepala together with several other Kalanchoe succulents, Aloe, Aeonium, and Graptopetalum
I hope this care guide will help you solve all your gardening problems. Do write to us if you have any questions or queries about this amazing succulent.
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Have a great gardening experience.