Before enlightenment (which is an ongoing, painfully slow, process) the only Kalanchoe in my world was the grocery store foil-wrapped pot of lurid hot pink or orange blossoms presented by Auntie Gertie when she popped in for tea. They were nursed along just long enough not to appear ungrateful before being put to their ultimate best use as compost.


When this gorgeous hunk entered my life, I could hardly believe it: Kalanchoe orgyatum is his name. The leaves are fleshy, with that lovely, soft fuzz found on some Rhododendrons, and whose proper terminology I can never remember. The sage green takes on a bronze blush when the plant is left out in the sun for the summer. The plant pictured above is third generation. Cuttings root without any special treatment…man, do I need a greenhouse.


Thus began an “orgy” of Kalanchoe acquisition. Above, left, is E beharensis ‘Elephant Ears’, sharing a pot with one of its kindred identified only as “species”. Surely it deserves a name of its own.


K fedtschenkoi has lovely scalloped leaves. That was what attracted me to a small specimen, along with the blue-green coloration. It quickly put on a spurt of growth and produced dangling orange sherbet blossoms. I started many new plants with cuttings, and here you see the mother plant again pushing boundaries and waiting for another round of cuttings to whip her into shape.


I have heard them called paddle plants, or pancake plants, but these cuties are technically E thyrsiflora.

I have never considered myself a “collector” of anything…especially in the realm of gardening, but I do seem to be drawn to these particular plants in a way that threatens to drag me into the collectors’ corner. Have you fallen prey to a species that keeps you wanting more?

2 thoughts on “kalanchoe

  1. I have been drooling over Agaves for some time. Finally succumbed at last fall’s HPSO sale and lost it in the big storm of ’08. Cistus has advised me to try again in spring so it can settle in before bad weather hits. I will! And Yuccas! Must have some Yuccas!

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