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Someone’s not happy!
Unless of course she’s bowing to me as a display of respect and admiration for my superior caretaking skills.
The plant is Izzy, a Kalanchoe rhombopilosa, which I picked up from a Master Gardeners’ plant sale here in Albuquerque a few years ago. She came with no instructions, no guidance, no helpful care tips. Online, there’s very little info about how big she’s supposed to grow, how wide she should be, what the heck I’m supposed to do with her.
But if I’ve learned to read her correctly, flopping over forward means she’s not crazy about me right now.
So I chopped her head off:
Haha, sometimes I amuse me.
Seriously, no Kalanchoes were hurt during this blog post.
The plant may have simply been top heavy, and that’s why it toppled over.
Or it could be a water issue – too much or not enough. She sits on my kitchen windowsill, and perhaps gets a little too much attention from me.
From what I managed to gather online, these plants don’t grow very tall. They’re meant to be little. So maybe she got too tall for her own good?
I prefer that explanation over a watery one!
Even though I don’t know much about this type of Kalanchoe, one thing I do know is that I can plant the leaves that fell off and start a new plant.
Easy propagation is always a very, very good quality in a plant.
Here are the leaves in moist vermiculite (the top inch or so, there’s soil beneath):
The vermiculite should help promote quick roots, but the leaves don’t even need it. I could’ve put them in regular soil, or even back in the same pot they had been in, and they’d grow just fine.
With the bottom leaves clipped off and planted, I planted the big stem in the same pot:
And now Izzy has another offspring (her second).
If anyone out there has grown Kalanchoe rhombopilosas, I’d love to hear about it. What were your experiences? Got any growing tips? Lemme know in the comments section! And thanks!
I like to encourage people to take photos of their houseplants, because it’s fun to see how they’ve grown.
The space that photos offer gives us a perspective we might not otherwise see.
I’ve been thinking about perspective a lot lately. It’s probably the season, I’m sure I’m not the only one who uses December to take stock. To review what we did right, and what we did wrong, to consider how to do better in the future.
I think it’s natural this time of year.
For me, it applies to the houseplants, too. I like the process of going back and reviewing what went right, what went wrong.
Take Izzy, a Kalanchoe rhombopilosa, for example. Here she is newly planted in April 2011:
And here she is in August 2011:
This is what Izzy looks like today:
Apparently I didn’t do a very good job sealing the pot before I painted it. The paint has been chipping away and bubbling. The Kalanchoe’s isn’t the only pot in the house that looks shaggy. I can never tell how the sealant will work until I try it, some pots look fine and others don’t.
But the pot is not my point.
The Kalanchoe plant has grown great, despite setbacks, like the time she was bent over from thirst.
I didn’t know anything about her when I first got her, so I’ve learned a lot.
Recently, I learned something new about her.
If you do something dumb, like give her too little water, and she drops a bunch of leaves, you can put those leaves in the soil and they’ll grow. No rooting necessary!
I’d suspected this about her, but now I have photographic proof.
That’s a really good quality in a plant, in my opinion, the ability to generate growth from a fallen leaf.
It gives me hope for the future.
I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you back here.
Stanley, a Kalanchoe luciae, has been kickin’ it on the kitchen windowsill for about six months now.
He joined the family last winter but for some reason I never got around to introducing him. Here he is in December of 2011:
You can see that he’s an enthusiastic grower.
When he’s not busy growing, Stanley likes to play harmonica and write short stories. He’s also a talented sculptor. Last spring, he wrote biographies of all the foyer houseplants.
Sunlight makes him happy, and shorter days encourage him to grow more red. The other windowsill plants tease him about this, accusing him of blushing all the time.
Like other succulents, Stanley’s not a big drinker. Too much water would make him sick.
His goals for the future include moving to a more spacious home, starting a family and reaching the ceiling. He is also interested in becoming a reporter for a television news station. Some day, he would enjoy visiting relatives in Africa.
But for now, he’s proud of how much he’s accomplished in his short life, and he’s content to remain in the kitchen through the rest of the winter.