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Monday, 27 April 2015

Kalanchoe rotundifolia

Kalanchoe is one of a number of plant species which are presently being tested for their suitability to be grown as Green Roof plants in the Durban region that have initially shown good results. They all occur naturally within a radius of 50 km of the Durban city centre. Kalanchoe rotundifolia is widely distributed in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

It is a very common plant found growing as a pioneer plant on poor soils in full sun and partial shade on road cuttings, road verges, on rooftops and derelict land and this brittle succulent (making it very easy to break off pieces for propagation) has an upright growth habit with fleshy, rounded or lobed leaves that are 2.5cm broad and are clustered at the base of erect stems. They reproduce naturally by means of vast amounts of very small seed which germinates readily under ideal conditions.

The robust red flowering specimens are rewarding garden plants, flowering for many weeks. This is an easy plant to propagate from both seed and cuttings. The seeds of these plants are very fine and must be collected as soon as they are ripe before they disperse. The best time to sow these seeds will be early spring in order to give them plenty of time to grow before late autumn. Sowing may be done either in seedling containers or directly into the garden.

Some new propagations of Kalanchoe in a good draining potting soil

Kalanchoe rotundifolia plants are very drought resistant often growing where there is virtually no soil. However, they are susceptible to attack by thrips and red spider mites if they are grown in nutrient rich well watered medium.

A cutting I planted a couple of months ago growing well in a pot

My original Kalanchoe rotundifolio where I found them growing in a pot next to my Echeverias. I have no idea how they got there, must have been seeds brought in by the wind!

Some more Kalanchoe cuttings (in the plastic pot on the right) taking root next to some Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' and a Vygie

Family: Crassulaceae
Common names: Common Kalanchoe, Nentabos, Plakkie (Afrikaans) and umadinsane (Zulu).

Indigenous to South Africa.



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