Learn How To Care For This Attractive Succulent Kalanchoe Synsepala

The Kalanchoe Synsepala is a lovely perennial succulent, also known as the walking Kalanchoe or the Kalanchoe Gremlin. The walking Kalanchoe is an evergreen plant of the family Crassulaceae. It is a native of central and southern Madagascar.

The walking Kalanchoe thrives in the rocky dry soil of Madagascar.

The Kalanchoe is grown for its attractive foliage, which comes in various shapes and sizes, making it a great addition to your garden. The English botanist John Gilbert Baker was the first to describe this drought-resistant plant in his books authored when he was the caretaker of the royal botanical gardens. Let’s dig into the care of Kalanchoe Synsepala.

Morphological Characteristics Of Kalanchoe Synsepala

Leaves

The most common species of this plant has fleshy, very thick grey-green leaves with pink–purple margins. The leaves appear in terminal rosettes 6 inches long and about 2.8 inches wide. The lower leaves of these plants are quite the opposite and are oblong, fleshy, and cupped with purple bands inside the marginal teeth.

Stem

This plant has short, stout, woody stems that usually do not have branches. The plants grow up to 40cm. It produces 2-4 long stolons with baby plantlets at the end of long stems. Stolons are slender stems growing horizontally along the ground giving rise to roots and aerial branches at specific points called nodes.

For indoor plants, 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.

Flowers

The flowers are small and tubular. They also have a pink to red color that appears in dense terminal cymes in the spring.

Toxicity

As a general rule of thumb, all Kalanchoe are poisonous. The walking Kalanchoe is no different. It is toxic to pets and should be kept out of the reach of children.

Kalanchoe Synsepala Care

Lighting and placement

The walking Kalanchoe thrives in bright light to partial shade. A spot with full sunlight in the morning hours and partial shade in the afternoons is recommended. Indoor walking Kalanchoe prefers an east-facing window when it’s actively growing during the summer.

Provide a curtain to shield the plant from direct sunlight as it scorches the leaves. The tips of the leaves turn yellow and wilt. If your succulent starts to appear leggy or its trail grows considerably longer.

It indicates that the plant is not receiving sufficient sunlight, and you should put it in a spot where it will have access to more sunlight. These plants do not like the cold weather. In these conditions, the plants should be grown indoors.

Watering Kalanchoe Synsepala

The walking Kalanchoe is succulent and stores some water in its leaves. It is drought-resistant, meaning it can withstand long periods of neglect. For this plant, you aim to be very critical when watering. You have to be careful not to overwater this succulent. It may lead to root rot. When the plant is left in soggy soil for extended periods, the stems also start to rot. How do you know when to water?

The most efficient method is the topsoil test. When you see or feel that the soil’s top layer is dry, the plant requires watering. You can tell if the soil is dry by sticking two fingers into the ground from the top. If the first two inches of the soil are dry, then you can proceed and give the plant a drink. The goal is to ensure that you water the plant only after it has exhausted moisture from the previous drink.

It should only be watered regularly during the early spring to summer when the evaporation of moisture to the atmosphere is high due to the heat. Furthermore, during this time, the plant is actively growing. The best way to water this plant is drip irrigation to ensure that the roots soak in all the water. This is also to ensure that the leaves don’t get any moisture. When using drip irrigation, close the water when the soil is soaked and only release it when the water soil dries up as per the above test.

Soil

For the walking Kalanchoe, light, you should use well-draining soil. The plant has no specific pH level requirement for the soil.

If you are going for a commercial pottage, buy cactus or succulent soil in nurseries or other related shops. That soil is already well-draining, but you will need to make it even easier to drain by adding fifty to seventy percent grit. Grit could be coarse sand, perlite, or pumice. You can even improvise by grinding coconut shells and mixing them with the soil. It also increases the aeration of the potting medium by increasing soil porosity. The soil should be moist most of the time for the benefit of the plant, but it shouldn’t be soaking wet either. The use of commercial pottage mix is best when growing your plant in a pot.

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, it may be necessary for you to create French drains to allow any excess water to run off from the roots.

Ideal pot for Kalanchoe Synsepala

If you are planting your Kalanchoe Synsepala in a pot, you will need to carefully consider the type of pot 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 ground needs to 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.

Feeding Kalanchoe Synsepala

The Kalanchoe receives all its required nutrients from the potting mix, although it can benefit from feeding occasionally. You can fertilize the Kalanchoe once a month using a houseplant feed that has been diluted to half concentration. You can fertilize the plant during the summer when it is actively growing twice a month. During the winter, don’t feed the plant. It is usually dormant during this period, and feeding it would only cause a buildup of salts. As a caution, you need to regulate the amount of fertilizer you provide the plant. An excess feed will lead to a buildup of salts. This will lead to the roots being scorched, and the plant dies. Upon noticing a white residue on top of the soil, flush it with water, making it soggy, and then wait for the excess moisture to drain.

Pruning and grooming

This plant requires occasional pruning and maintenance. The stolons, at times, can get out of control and need to be trimmed to maintain the plant’s bushy shape. The plantlets growing on the leaves also require to be removed occasionally; they feed off the mother plant and consume the nutrients meant for the mother plant. The plantlets use energy and may cause the plant not to bloom. They are therefore removed from the plant and propagated to grow new plants.

Pests and diseases

Being a fleshy succulent, this Kalanchoe is prone to attacks from sap-sucking insects such as the spider mites and mealybugs. It is recommended to use 70 % isopropyl. One should rub the stems and leaves of the succulents with isopropyl alcohol to keep the bugs away. You can use a non-toxic insecticide spray if the infestation is very severe.

You can also use chemical pesticides, but it is better to use organic pesticides.

If you notice an infestation, you could apply the following organic pesticides.

  1. Neem oil: Neem oil is a systemic pesticide, unlike the other pesticides listed below. 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. You need to see the plant’s reaction before you spray it all. 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.

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Kalanchoe Synsepala Propagation

This plant can be propagated in three ways: using bulbils, stem cuttings, and exploiting leaf cuttings.

Propagation by using bulbils

Bulbils are small plants produced vegetatively from axillary buds on parent plants’ stems or in place of a flower on an inflorescence.

  • Choose a healthy leaf with plantlets growing on its tips
  • Cut them from the leaf and let the cut plantlet callous (if you put the plantlet in soggy soil, it will rot)
  • After it has calloused, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone
  • Place in a container with a similar potting mix to the mature plant and take care of it how you would a mature plant
  • Let the plantlet sit under indirect light with partial shade

The plant should start to produce roots in 30 days.

Propagation by leaf cuttings

  • Remove a few mature and healthy leaves from the stem.
  • Gently cut the leaves with a sharp, sterilized knife or a pair of scissors, removing the total area of the leaf that is connected to the mother plant
  • allow the leaf to be dry and become callous at the cut end
  • dip the cut end of the leaf in rooting hormone
  • plant it in well-draining soil, the same potting mix used for the mother plant

Wait for about 2 to 3 weeks for the roots to appear

Propagation by stem cuttings

  • You may use a stem to reproduce the Kalanchoe Synsepala plant efficiently. It would help to cut a mature, robust stem with leaves that are not flowering.
  • The best period to propagate using stems is in the summer and spring when the Kalanchoe Synsepala plant is not flowering but is conserving energy for blooming.
  • Trim the stem to a few inches in length and avoid cutting where there is a node or a leaf. Allow the stem to dry for a few days before planting to minimize degradation.
  • Dip the Kalanchoe Synsepala stem in rooting hormone powder to encourage root development, or plant it in a well-draining soil mix after it becomes calloused.
  • You may also combine many cuttings in a big container and report them as the roots develop.

Your cuttings will begin to grow roots between 2 and 3 weeks, and the plants will survive on nutrients in the potting mix.

Uses Of Kalanchoe Synsepala

The walking Kalanchoe is a lovely succulent and looks good in hanging pots. Its drought-resistant nature makes it eligible for xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is the practice of designing landscapes to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation.

Final Thought

Kalanchoe synsepala, with its beautiful lovely attractive plant. Its care regime is generally simple; therefore, it looks like a pretty busy plant parent can sustain this plant. The primary care issue is to keep the water from choking the plant and causing its roots to rot.

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Posted in Succulents