Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Kalanchoe Pinnata Plant?
- 2 How to Care for Kalanchoe Pinnata Plants
- 3 FAQ
- 4 Other Kalanchoe plants to consider
- 5 References
What is a Kalanchoe Pinnata Plant?
Kalanchoe pinnata was previously known as Bryophyllum pinnatum.
Other common names for this succulent variety include the Cathedral Bells plant, Crassula Pinnata, Life plant, Goethe Plant, Mexican Love plant, and Miracle Leaf plant.
The Cathedral bell plant is loved for its unique foliage, medicinal uses, and long-lasting flowers.
The colorful Kalanchoe pinnata grows erect with sturdy reddish-purple stems and has scalloped fresh leaves with orangish-red leaf edges.
This beautiful Kalanchoe variety is native to the rocky areas of Madagascar and the plant family Crassulaceae.
On average, a mature plant reaches 47 inches (1.2 meters) in height.
If well taken care of, these flowering plants bloom with bell-shaped purple flowers.
These flowers have a musk or honey scent and grow on opposite stout branches making this plant look outstanding in hanging baskets.
Additionally, this drought-tolerant succulent is excellent for xeriscaping.
This article summarizes everything you need to know about the Kalanchoe pinnata plants and how to take care of them.
How to Care for Kalanchoe Pinnata Plants
Temperature and Climate
Cathedral bells plant can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
You can grow the Kalanchoe pinnata in temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 29 degrees Celsius).
Temperatures lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) can kill these frost-sensitive medicinal plants.
The Kalanchoe pinnata plant does not need any specific humidity requirements. Average household humidity is sufficient for this succulent plant species.
Maintaining the proper light levels for the Miracle leaf plant is tricky but critical for successful growth because sunlight plays a significant role in developing the coloration on the leaf edges.
The light-colored leaves with reddish-purple stems have less chlorophyll and need more sunlight than many other plants.
If your plant shows signs of leggy growth, you should move it to a new spot with more light. Direct sunlight can scorch the beautiful colored leaf edges.
The best location for the Cathedral Bell plant is a spot with bright, filtered sunlight.
Lastly, remember that the Kalanchoe pinnata grows best under full or partial sunlight.
The soil should be moist during the active growing season – lasting from spring to the end of summer.
Water the plant less frequently in the dormant phase and allow the potting soil to dry out before watering.
Pro tip: Water this plant when at least 2-3 inches of the soil has dried out – this will prevent overwatering.
Another method is to do the soak and dry method. This works well for Kalanchoe succulents.
First off, it is recommended to use a terracotta or clay pot with at least one drainage hole to ensure good drainage.
To soak and dry, water the soil until the water starts flowing from the drainage hole. This means the entire pot of soil will be watered deeply.
Once complete, wait till the soil drys entirely before watering again.
Remember, overwatering leads to other issues for this Kalanchoe pinnata, such as fungal growth or root rot. So it’s best to be on the conservative side of watering.
Soil and Fertilizer
Cathedral bells plant requires potting soil that is well-draining, organic, light, and airy.
This plant will not thrive in a rich soil mix. Combine a good quality succulent mix with organic matter to create a suitable soil for this Kalanchoe variety.
The soil should be mildly acidic or alkaline.
If you grow these plants from seeds, they will germinate within 10 to 14 days under the right conditions.
Although feeding is not a must for this plant, it will appreciate being fed biweekly in the active growth period.
A balanced liquid fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer is the best option for the Kalanchoe pinnata.
These succulent plants attract not only plant lovers but also some sap-sucking pests.
As a result, the Kalanchoe pinnata is susceptible to spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and brown scale attacks that feed on the leaf juice.
Controlling the infection at an early stage is easy and will prevent significant damage to the plant.
Using isopropyl alcohol and/or neem oil work against most succulent pests.
Start the treatment by washing the foliage with water, followed by rubbing with isopropyl alcohol or neem oil.
Cathedral bells should be repotted every two years. Handle the plant carefully, mainly the delicate foliage that can easily break while repotting.
Providing a trellis or attaching it to a fence will ensure a more robust plant and faster growth.
Repotting provides a fresh succulent mix for your plant, but it’s essential to use the same type of succulent potting mix to avoid transplant shock.
Many plants, including the Kalanchoe Pinnata, can be propagated by either stem cuttings or leaf cuttings.
Cut a few inch-long pieces from a healthy stem. The cutting should have healthy leaves attached.
Let the cutting callous for at least 24 hours in an open area.
Pro tip: When propagating plants, it is highly recommended to dip the cutting end in rooting hormone to promote faster growth and root development.
Place the lower end of the cutting in a succulent potting mix and keep it moist by misting it now and then.
They also produce roots at the edges of their leaves, propagating them for new plants.
Protect the young plants from direct sunlight exposure. Once the cuttings have established themselves, transplant them into a new pot.
Kalanchoe pinnata plants do not need heavy pruning. You will only do pruning to get rid of dead foliage and spent flowers.
Pruning should be done with a sharp and sterilized tool. This will minimize damage or the spread of disease-causing bacteria.
Is Kalanchoe a medicinal plant?
In traditional Indian medicine, Kalanchoe pinnata leaves treat diabetes, diuresis, kidney stones, and respiratory tract infections. In addition, it is applied to the skin to treat wounds, boils, and bug bites. It may, but not proven, help protect the liver from damage caused by alcohol, viruses, and other toxins. Cathedral bells plant leaf juice combined with coconut oil may also be used to remedy a headache. Lastly, the Cathedral bells plant is a nighttime oxygenator and a natural insect repellent.
Are Kalanchoe Pinnata plants poisonous?
All plants in the Kalanchoe genus are poisonous. In South Africa and Australia, livestock is poisoned when accidentally eaten by animals. When compared to stems, roots, and leaves, flowers have the largest concentrations of cardiotoxic chemicals that result in poisoning. Therefore, Kalanchoe plants away from the reach of kids or your pets.
How long does it take for Kalanchoe Pinnata to grow?
When propagating Kalanchoe pinnatum (Bryophyllum pinnatum) leaves, newly cut leaves should develop new roots within a week. After about two weeks, the roots should have been established, and you can transplant them into a pot as a new plant. Kalanchoe plants are perennial succulents and last more than a year as houseplants.
Other Kalanchoe plants to consider
The Kalanchoe Pinnata is a great plant for any gardener that wants a low-maintenance plant. They will even grow very well and thrive in an outdoor garden if it’s in a warmer climate.
However, Chandelier plants are not the only Kalanchoe plant. There are others and you can read more about them in our related post about different types of kalanchoe plants.
Below are a handful of examples:
- Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi: Lavender Scallops, which is another name for Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi, is a beautiful succulent with scalloped green leaves. The foliage of this plant has different colors of cream with the edges of purple. This tiny succulent looks great on a desk or window sill, but it can also be used as a part of an outdoor garden.
- Kalanchoe tubiflora: Most know this plant as the “Mother of Millions” or “Chandelier plant.” It’s one of the most interesting types of succulents because they produce a ton of little plantlets that can grow into new plants on their own. There are so many of these plantlets that grow along the edges of their leaves, it is no wonder it’s called the “Mother of Millions” plant.
- Kalanchoe beharensis: You might know this as the Velvet Elephant Ear, Velvet Leaf Plant, and Felt Bush. These nicknames come from the fact that the leaves have a shape and size that look like elephant ears. They are hardy plants that can be grown outside that look great in your landscaping, yard, or garden.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.