Kalanchoe humilis is a uniquely beautiful, large, shrub-type succulent which requires very little maintenance. Hence they would be perfect fits for freshers in succulent gardening.
Many people go after these plants as they have a striking appearance. They would be handy to use for container gardening and for rock gardens as well.
Kalanchoe humilis are owned by the family Crassulaceae. Further their genus is Kalanchoe. Kalanchoe humilis are native plants in Tanzania, Malawi and in Mozambique.
Kalanchoe humilis also go by the common name Desert surprise. Many people are fans of these plants due to the fabulous leaves and flowers they produce.
In addition to that, hummingbirds are attracted towards these blooms. The variegated Kalanchoe humilis leaves add more beauty to the plant’s outlook and many succulent enthusiasts tend to grow them due to these features.
This article is about how to look after them well, the ideal growing conditions they require and on the common bugs and issues you may come across when growing them.
Moreover, we have touched on how to propagate the Kalanchoe humilis plants as well. If you are wondering how to start growing Kalanchoe humilis plants, it would be worth reading this article.
How do I identify Kalanchoe humilis?
They would rise up to 3 feet in height. Their bottom stem would be woody. Further chances are that they may carry a few branches as well.
Those branches would be either purple or slightly glaucous. The exposure for bright sunlight will help them to become more vibrant in colors.
The Kalanchoe humilis stem would be about 8 inches ( 20 cm) in height . Besides, they have egg shaped leaves.
Moreover, you could spot the variegated Kalanchoe humilis plants carrying maroon or purple spots on leaves. Usually, you could spot them in pale green color.
Leaves would be 5.2 inches ( 13 cm ) in length. Their width would be 2.4 inches ( 6 cm). You could spot their leaves forming in an upright rosette manner.
Kalanchoe humilis blooms will arise from both sides of the rounded toothed margins. Kalanchoe humilis flowers are small and would carry 14 inches long inflorescence.
One look care guide
|Botanical Name||Kalanchoe humilis|
|Common Name||Desert surprise|
|Mature Size||Maximum height of 3 feet ( 90 cm )|
|Sun Exposure||Full sunlight to partial shade|
|Soil Type||Gritty, well-draining|
|Soil pH||ph. 5.0 – 7.0 Acid – Neutral|
|Flower Color||Green to white|
|Hardiness Zones||USDA hardiness zones |
8a ( 10 degrees Fahrenheit ) – 10 b ( 40 degrees Fahrenheit)
|Native Area||Tanzania , Malawi and Mozambique.|
|Average price||$ 8|
How do you take care of Kalanchoe humilis?
Looking after the Kalanchoe humilis is a super easy task. They can even thrive well even if you neglect caring for them for some time.
Size of the plant
Kalanchoe humilis would reach a maximum height of 3 feet ( 90 cm ).
Kalanchoe humilis are fond of growing under warmer sunny locations where they can gain sufficient natural sunlight.
Ideally, they need to get six hours of full sunlight. Once you expose them for proper sunlight, they can grow to their fullest.
As such you need to place them near a bright sunny spot when you grow them as indoor plants. I do not recommend growing them directly in the ground as you cannot relocate them anywhere as you wish.
However, if it is a place where they can gain both full sunlight and partial sunlight you may go ahead and plant them there.
However, best is to grow the Kalanchoe humilis plants in a container so that you can bring them indoors when the temperature decreases.
Temperature and humidity
Succulents in general prefer to have warmer temperatures and Kalanchoe humilis are no different to them.
In fact, they are not tolerant of below freezing temperatures. They can withstand a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
The exposure for temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit would create unhealthy impacts on the plants.
Humidity wise, Kalanchoe humilis are tolerant of all humidity levels.
Is it cold hardy?
USDA Hardiness Zone
Kalanchoe humilis are hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8a ( 10 degrees Fahrenheit ) – 10 b ( 40 degrees Fahrenheit).
You should water your Kalanchoe humilis on a regular basis in summer. On the other hand, Kalanchoe humilis can thrive with minimum water levels during winter.
If you are doubtful whether you need to water the Kalanchoe humilis or not, you can simply touch the soil with your fingers and feel it.
If you think it is damp, you can ignore watering them for some time. On the other hand, if their soil is dry , consider watering them.
If you end up watering the Kalanchoe humilis in abundance, it will create diseases such as root rot. Furthermore, it will make the plants more prone towards powdery mildew.
What is more concerning is that it would be very difficult for you to reverse the repercussions made of overwatering of these plants.
As experts have stated, it is always best to prevent anything than curing it.
When it comes to succulent gardening, this statement has a great value as it is always best to prevent rather than trying to remedy the repercussions of over watering.
Moreover, I suggest you water at the base of the plants rather than watering them at the overheads. Once you adhere to this, it will not allow the diseases or for the infections to spread across the plants.
Simply it will stop the water droplets carrying the diseases for the rest of the healthy plant parts.
Soil Requirement Type / ph.
Kalanchoe humilis one of the prime requirements is to have a soil mix which is fast draining.
If you are into succulent gardening, you know that it is best to use a potting medium which is made especially for cactus and for succulents for the majority of the succulents.
Therefore, you can use the same potting medium to grow the Kalanchoe humilis plants too. Additionally you can make a potting mix on your own.
Never grow them in a clay potting medium as they are not porous material such as the potting mediums explained in the above.
If you mistakenly plant them in the wrong soil mix, you will end up having unnecessary trouble. Literally the excess water will not drain, and it will cause the plants root rot.
Pot size Potting and Repotting
When you want to select the right pot type, it should ideally be about two inches wider in diameter and one inch taller than the plant.
Kalanchoe humilis do not prefer to stay in waterlogged conditions. Hence, do not ever leave water saucers or water trays under the pots.
Besides, you can place stones in the container’s base so that it will enhance the draining and will stop any potential root decaying which could take place.
When it comes to repotting, you can consider doing it once every two years to three years. However, it could vary depending on the soil mix you have grown them in.
In case your Kalanchoe humilis start to become root bound, you need to repot them. Further if there are any pests attacks present, you need to consider repotting them.
Where to Plant
When you grow them in the garden, they need to get full sunlight to partial shade.
However as aforesaid if you live in colder areas, do not plant them directly in the ground as you cannot move them here and there to protect the plants from such unhealthy conditions.
I recommend you to grow them in containers which you can easily move in and out from the house. However, when you select the pot also, ensure that you adhere to the aforesaid guidelines.
Kalanchoe humilis produce flowers in purple to green colors during mid-summer.
Fertilizer and time of year.
You need to apply fertilizers for the Kalanchoe humilis during their active growing season. Their active growing season is from April to September.
A fast-acting soluble fertilizer could be used to feed the Kalanchoe humilis plants. Instead of that, you may also use a slow-release fertilizer as well to feed them.
You can feed them every other week when they are in their active growing phase. However, ensure that you water them parallel with feeding the Kalanchoe humilis plants.
When you water them in adequate quantities during feeding time, the effectiveness of the fertilizers will also enhance.
On the contrary, if you do not water them adequately, the effectiveness of the fertilizers would be less. Just like you need to avoid over water, you need to over feed them.
If you overfeed them, it will create feed burns in the plants. Moreover, it will make the plants less capable of absorbing water. Keep in mind that Kalanchoe humilis plants are sensitive to higher components of salts and fluoride.
Kalanchoe humilis are toxic plants and you should never ingest them.
You could find the toxins in the Kalanchoe humilis plants leaves, flowers and in the roots as well. Keep in mind that Kalanchoe humilis roots could be more toxic as they contain alkaloids and phenolics. If you mistakenly ingest them, it will create various effects on you.
Not only that but also, Kalanchoe humilis could create skin irritations if you get in contact with them.
Besides, it will create burns in your skin as well. Kalanchoe humilis sap is the root cause of these irritations.
The Kalanchoe humilis sap has triterpenoid esters called karachinones. Hence do not consume the Kalanchoe humilis plants or try to touch them with bare skin.
It is compulsory that you wear gloves when interacting with the Kalanchoe humilis plants due to this reason. Then these toxins cannot reach your body from the broken skin on your body.
Common bugs and illnesses.
Kalanchoe humilis are hardy and versatile plants which can resist the pests’ attacks and diseases.
If you have grown Kalanchoe humilis as outdoor plants, there is a high probability for them to get infested with pests such as mealybugs , aphids, and scale.
It is vital that you constantly keep checking these plants. When you conduct checkups and whenever you spot any bugs or pests, you need to remove them at the very moment you spot them.
To remove the bugs, you can apply a strong water stream
In case if you do not get the desired results, you need to use soap sprays on them. Moreover, you can use other gentle pesticides to overcome them too.
Overwatering is a main issue which you may come across when growing the Kalanchoe humilis plants and due to that root decay may occur.
On top of that, if you had grown them in a poor draining soil mix and in a poor draining pot, your plants may have even worse repercussions. Unfortunately, chances are that you may even end up losing the plants.
You can identify if your Kalanchoe humilis plants are going through root rot if they show signs such as wilting, yellowing etc.
Moreover, if your Kalanchoe humilis have brown leaves, brown soggy and soft stems, it could also be some signs of root rot.
If you ascertain that your beloved Kalanchoe humilis plants are suffering from root rot, you need to immediately repot them in a fresh well-draining soil mix. Moreover, transplant them in a pot which has sufficient draining holes.
Apart from the above, if you end up over watering the Kalanchoe humilis plants, it will make your plants more vulnerable towards powdery mildew attacks also.
When they infest the plants, it will make the Kalanchoe humilis plants’ health deteriorate faster. Hence it is critical that you attend to it immediately and try to overcome them.
If you do not attend to these pests’ attacks and to disease, it will impact the flower blossoming of the plants in a negative way.
Is Kalanchoe humilis an outdoor or indoor succulent?
Kalanchoe humilis can thrive in both outdoors and indoors. You can keep the Kalanchoe humilis outdoors during summer.
Hence if you have grown them in pots indoors, you can simply bring them outdoors so that they can absorb sufficient sunlight. On the other hand when the weather gets colder, you can shift the plants indoors.
Special Care tips
These require easy maintenance when they grow. You do not need to prune the Kalanchoe humilis plants generally.
In fact, Kalanchoe humilis plants prefer to grow as bush-like plants. However, if you wish to prune them to make them look neat, you can follow the below steps.
First get rid of the brown leaves or dead branches which might make the plants look unpleasant. Next cut off all the excess leaves around your plant’s stems.
That will allow the plants bottom part to absorb sufficient sunlight levels and consequently they will be able to produce new plant parts too.
When pruning make sure that what you are using are all sterile tools. Further I encourage you to use sharp tools such as sharp shears or scissors to prune them.
Do not pull them off with their stems as then there will be a high probability of breaking the plants. You need to prune back any side shoots when they are too tall.
Further you need to prune the dying or dead branches also so that it would make the plants look visually appealing.
Kalanchoe humilis plant benefits
Kalanchoe humilis plants are useful as ornamental succulents. Moreover, you can use them in succulent gardens and for landscapes where there will be no frost.
How to propagate Kalanchoe humilis
You can use Kalanchoe humilis plants seeds, leaves and stems to propagate them.
To begin, you can first snip a healthy-looking leaf from the plants. After that keep them in a spot where they can develop callousness and place them in a fresh well draining soil mix.
If you spot their soil is bone dry, you can water them. You could expect them to develop roots within one to three months’ time.
When they establish roots, you can grow them in individual pots. Expose them for minimal sunlight at first. Further ideal temperature should be 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit (16-24 degrees Celsius).
If you wish to use the stem cutting method, you can cut off a stem whilst using sharp tools such as a knife or a pair of scissors.
Keep in mind that their sap is toxic Hence , ensure that you protect yourself from wearing the protective gears first. Next just as in the stem cutting method, leave them in a dry place where they can be callous.
After that grow them in a well draining soil mix. They will start to produce roots in six – eights weeks. However, it would take a little longer than three months for the stem cuttings to grow a new pair of leaves and to form shoots.
You can root them in a pot or even on the ground. The exposure for proper sunlight levels is crucial here for them to grow well.
All you need to do is to sow them in a soil mx which has excellent draining. Water the specimen thoroughly so that they will have good moisture before you expose them for warmer temperatures.
Keep checking the plants to spot any growth. When you spot, they have formed roots, you can pot them individually.
To conclude, Kalanchoe humilis plants would be such great plants to have and you can grow them indoors as well as outdoors.
Their flower blossoming adds even more grace to the plant’s outlook.
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