Kalanchoe Bracteata Care, Propagation, & More

The kalanchoe bracteata is also known as the silver teaspoon. It is a dwarf and compact succulent of the family Crassulaceae, a beautiful plant that people often keep for its appearance. It grows to a maximum of four feet, about 1.2 meters high.

A unique and beautiful succulent can make a great addition to any garden. Its silver-white color makes it an excellent tabletop plant as it is aesthetically pleasing. The plant requires minimum care and is easy to grow indoors.

Origin & Characteristics of Kalanchoe Bracteata

It is a native of the coast of Madagascar and Comoros.

The leaves of the silver spoon are unique and lovely to behold. They are also one of the main features of this dwarf succulent. They have short petioles, and their oval-shaped leaves grow up to 2 inches long with a pointed tip. The typical K. bracteata has a silvery pubescence, and some varieties have smooth leaves. The plant grows in areas that experience intense direct sunlight and has evolved to protect itself from the effects. The leaves have short stellate hairs and a waxy substance covering the leaves and the young four-angled stems.

Its woody stem raises to the maximum height of four inches, after which it branches; the whole plant grows to four feet under the best conditions.

They produce orange to red bell-shaped flowers that bloom from spring to summer. Its flowers are also an attractive feature of this plant. The kalanchoe forms plantlets on the flower stem.

Like all kalanchoe, the silver spoon is mildly poisonous. Keep away from pets and children and avoid ingesting the same. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and increased heart rate.

Kalanchoe Bracteata Uses

The Kalanchoe Bracteata is a popular houseplant with beautiful foliage. The plant’s minor compact nature makes it a good candidate for a tabletop plant, and since it does not take up much space, it can be placed on a window sill.

Distinguishing Kalanchoe Bracteata vs. Kalanchoe Hildebrandtii and Kalanchoe Orygalis

It is typically mistaken for another of its species, the Kalanchoe Hildebrandtii, which has greenish-white leaves and grows within the same region as the silver teaspoon. It is also closely related to the Kalanchoe orgyalis and can be distinguished by its yellow flowers with greenish lobes, while those of the bracteata are a shade of orange to red.

Kalanchoe orgyalis @lifewithplantsph
Kalanchoe hildebrandtii @kiichi_kawamoto

Care & Growing Guide

Lighting and Placement

Kalanchoe Beharensis blooms and does very well when exposed to sunlight. However, direct sunlight in scorching summers might cause damage to the tips of the leaves that are usually exposed to it, owing to their almost vertical orientation. Therefore, if cultivating the plant outside or placing the pot out, it’s advisable to put it under a partial shade to protect it from sweltering summers.

When using it to adorn your indoors, place the pot where it can get adequate sunlight; eastern and southern windows are ideal because the plant can get sufficient sunlight directly. It is important to note that this is a short-day plant. It only blooms when it gets less than twelve hours of light daily. Therefore, the plant can bloom throughout the year if conditions are maintained. This is why its blooming season is towards the end of winter and early spring.

Temperature and humidity

Kalanchoe bracteata does best in warm temperatures but is also surprisingly cold and hardy for a succulent. Thus, it can stay in the cold for a long time. However, it is essential to note that it can’t survive temperatures below 5oC (40oF) for long. The USDA categorizes it as suitable to grow in zones 9b to 11b. It can withstand relatively high temperatures since, as we have seen, it prefers direct sunlight.

If your area experiences freezing winters, plant them in containers even if you intend to keep them outdoors. This way, you can move the potted plant indoors to protect it from extreme temperatures as necessary.

Humidity is not a significant factor in the growth of this plant. It can do well in a wide range of humidity. However, when the air is too dry, the leaves can get crisp and dry up. You are, however, most likely to experience a milder outcome of the plant looking less attractive than it could be. Too much humidity, on the other hand, may cause the leaves to rot if it lingers too long and crystalizes on the leaves. 

Watering Kalanchoe Bracteata

The silver teaspoon is succulent; hence it stores some water in its leaves. Further, it is drought resistant and can handle long periods of neglect. New growers may tend to overwater the plant: which is a mistake. Overwatering the kalanchoe can lead to root rot and the subsequent death of the plant. How and when to water the silver teaspoons? To avoid overwatering, ensure that the top two inches of your soil or potting mix are dry before watering the plant. You should water it in the summer since the evaporation rate is high and the soil loses water faster. Water the plant once a week during hot summers and less frequently during the cold winter. In cold months only water when you notice the plant has started to wither.

Water the kalanchoe using drip irrigation. Many new growers use a spray and get the leaves wet. Drip irrigation is recommended as the roots get to soak in all the moisture in the soil.

The diseases include root rot and fungal infections on the leaves. Although the plant generally requires little water, you will need to water it more often in hotter seasons than in colder ones due to evaporation. The relationship between soil and watering is clear because how easily you manage the watering aspect of care for your plant is primarily determined by the type of soil on which you have grown your plant. Well-draining soil will make your watering immeasurably easier to control.

How do you know your plant requires needs watering? The topsoil dryness test is always an effective method. Insert two fingers into the plant’s soil or potting mix to feel whether or not the top two inches of the soil is dry. If dry, your soil needs more water since moisture from the previous drink has dried up and vice versa. 

When you notice the bottom leaves of the plant start to wrinkle and slightly wilt when the plant is severely dry and needs urgent watering.

The best method to water Kalanchoe Bracteata is the soak and dry method. Insert the plant into a large container filled with water and allow the plant to soak in the water for at least half an hour. After removing the plant, let the excess moisture drain from the drainage holes at the bottom of the container for another half an hour. Water again when the soil is dry. 

You may be asking yourself, ‘how often should I water my Silver spoon plant? We are always cautious about giving a definite watering schedule, even for specific seasons. Our caution stems from the environmental conditions of the area where you grow the plant are a significant factor in how long the soil can retain water.

Soil

Ambient temperature, for example, determines how fast water in the soil evaporates. Even in the same seasons, this temperature varies from place to place, and it can change in the same season at the exact location from year to year.

Any soil mix with high organic matter concentration is recommended. Any cacti mix meant for succulents will work great for Kalanchoe Bracteata. Succulent soil mixes have good drainage. Good drainage is an absolute requirement as this plant is easily waterlogged. If you are making a soil mix at home, take sand and a mixture of peat moss and clay. Mix them in a ratio of 1:1. This will create a fast-draining medium suitable for most succulents. You can lower the amount of sand if you feel that the potting mix is too loose.

If you grow the plant outdoors in a Mediterranean garden or as a hedge, you must ensure the soil is well-draining. The plant can handle rock ground, so that should not be a problem. If the soil in your area has more clay than grit, you can introduce sand in the planting holes to allow your water to drain quickly. Also, you may need to create French drains to allow any excess water to run off the roots.

Feeding Kalanchoe Bracteata

The Kalanchoe Bracteata does not require fertilizing as it gets all the nutrients from the soil medium it grows. However, for indoor plants, you can use fertilizer to help them gain a few extra nutrients. Feed it once a week during the spring and summer months. During this time, the plant is actively growing. Even then, you should only feed it when you notice signs of distress in the plant. Do not feed during the winter months as the plant is dormant, and feeding it may lead to a buildup of salts in the soil.

Potting and repotting

If you are planting your Kalanchoe Bracteata in a pot, you must carefully consider the pot type you use. The pot is critical in ensuring your soil will be well-drained. It should have several draining holes at the bottom, whether made of metal, porcelain, stone, wood, or any other material.

Drainage holes are critical because no matter how well-draining the soil is, the water that gets into the soil must get out to avoid waterlogging. Else the water would pass through the soil only to sit at the bottom of the pot. You can also use a breathable pot to enhance the evaporation of water. Unglazed terracotta pots are the best option for growing these succulents.

Pruning and grooming

Silver teaspoons are a small plant that does not require pruning regularly. However, you can prune to your chosen shape. Remove dead leaves or spent blossoms to promote new, vigorous development the following season.

Pests and Diseases

Generally, the plant is resistant to most pests but can be affected by aphids and spider mites. These pests are not always visible, but their effects on plants can be seen on the leaves, showing a change of color or having tiny holes. Also, the growth of the plant may stagnate. You can get rid of them by spraying any pesticide available.

You can take a few measures to cure your plant of pests. One of the things you can do is rub the infected parts with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Take a piece of cotton wool, dip it into the alcohol, and dab the amount of the plant with the said infestation. If you notice an infestation, you could apply the following organic pesticides.

  1. Neem oil: Unlike the other pesticides listed below, neem oil is a systemic pesticide. It gets into the plant and poisons it against the bugs so that they don’t survive or reproduce when they attack the plant. Pure Neem Oil is made from the neem plant. Therefore, it is entirely natural and not harmful to humans.
  2. Hot pepper spray: Hot pepper is quite irritating when it gets on your skin and eyes, and it has the same effects on the bugs infesting your succulents. Spray it carefully on the affected parts to protect your skin and eyes.
  3. Garlic spray: A concentrated garlic spray can have the same effects on the bugs as pepper spray. You can manufacture the garlic spray by crushing garlic cloves and putting them in hot water. Put just a little hot water so the end product is concentrated enough to destroy the pests. Remove the garlic residue, put the pesticide in a sprayer, and spray away on the infected parts of the plant.

Always spray a small part of the plant with the pesticide you want to use before spraying on the whole plant. This precaution applies when using contact pesticides, i.e., hot pepper and garlic. It would help if you saw the plant’s reaction before you go all out with spraying. You can reduce concentration if the test shows the plant’s reacting adverse effects on the pesticide. Other conditions include discoloration of leaves which is usually a sign of malnutrition.

Kalanchoe Bracteata Propagation

You can propagate this plant by two means: stem and leaf cuttings.

Propagation through stem cuttings

  • Cut a healthy stem from the Kalanchoe Bracteata about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Leave it to be dry and callous
  • Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone,
  • Put some potting mix in a container and plant the stem cutting just above ground level.
  • After 3-7 days, or when the stems would have rooted, transplant to larger containers.
  • Transplant them outside to your garden in the spring

Propagation through leaf cuttings

  • Cut a healthy leaf from Kalanchoe Bracteata during the spring and summer.
  • Allow for the leaf to dry and callous
  • Dip it in rooting hormone.
  • Plant in the same potting mix as the mother plant
  • Cover the cutting with another layer of soil, which should always be slightly moist.
  • The leaf will root in 3-4 weeks.
  • When the new plant has grown to about 4 inches, transplant it into a larger pot.
  • After it has become well established in its new home, transplant it outside to its permanent location
kalanchoe bracteata leaf propagation
Kalanchoe Bracteata leaf propagation @mycactusplace

Propagation through offsets

Besides these two, you can also propagate using offsets. As the plant grows and matures, it produces offsets on its own. These offsets can be seen on the pot’s surface, just near the base of the plant. Once you notice this, you can carefully uproot these offsets from the mother plant, transfer them to their pots, and watch them grow to maturity.

Final Thought

The silver teaspoon is a lovely succulent that is great for decorating any room. When placed on a window sill, it’s an excellent eye-pleaser and will draw all the eyes in the room to it. It is an easy plant to take care of and ideal for a busy plant patent or one just starting.

ABOUT ME

Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

Contact me: richard.succulentcity@gmail.com

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