Kalanchoe scapigera (Mealy Kalanchoe)

Kalanchoe scapigera (Mealy Kalanchoe)

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Scientific Name

Kalanchoe scapigera Welw. ex Britten

Common Names

Mealy Kalanchoe

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Tribe: Kalanchoeae
Genus: Kalanchoe


Kalanchoe scapigera is a small succulent plant with thick, almost circular leaves and scapiform inflorescences bearing salmon-red, tubular flowers. It grows up to 18 inches (45 cm) tall. Leaves are up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. The stem is stout, slightly branched, cylindrical, and somewhat lignified. The whole plant is glabrous and covered with a white powder.


USDA hardiness zone 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Kalanchoe care is minimal but be cautious about light levels. Intense southern light can burn the tips of the leaves. Place pots in partial sun to light shade areas when growing Kalanchoe plants.

The flowering varieties are highly rewarding for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. They prefer bright, sunny locations, especially in the summer growing season. During the winter, consider a south-facing window. Water moderately throughout the summer and reduce watering in the winter. Let the soil surface dry out between waterings, and in the winter, the plant can almost dry out. Watch the fleshy leaves for signs of water distress. They prefer warmth. Do not let fall below 55ºF (12.7ºC). An ordinary potting soil mix is fine. Feed bi-weekly in the summer with a liquid fertilizer, or use slow-release pellets.

These small plants require repotting every few years. When re-potting, take additional care in handling as the leaves are somewhat brittle and can snap easily. Clay pots work exceptionally well for planting Kalanchoes. Ensure pots can drain well, and saucers can empty easily. See more at How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe.


Kalanchoe scapigera is native to Angola (Namibe Province).


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When Do Kalanchoe Start Flowering?

The kalanchoe produces beautiful bunches of flowers throughout the flowering season. The plant starts to flower in the early spring or late fall, all you have to do to initiate flowering is cut back the stems and leave the foliage alone.

You can also force blooming by moving the plant from a darker area of your home to a room with brighter indirect sunlight. Kalanchoes start to bloom when they experience an equal light photoperiod.

In other words, leaving them in the light for 12-hours, and then placing them in a closet for 12-hours is an excellent way to initiate flowering. Repeat this cycle every day for a week, and you should notice that the kalanchoe moves into the flowering stage.

Kalanchoe scapigera (Mealy Kalanchoe) - garden

Origin and Habitat: Province of Namibe, Angola
Altitude range: 50-60 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology: Kalanchoe scapigera is widespread in stony desert and dry places. It grows among rocks and in rock fissures.

Description: Kalanchoe scapigera is a small perennial succulent plant (20-)40-150 cm tall with thick almost circular laves with scapiform inflorescences bearing fleshy, bright yellow flowers. The whole plant is glabrous and covered with a white powder. The first description by James Britten was published in 1871.
Similar species: K. scapigera is often confused with Kalanchoe farinacea with red flowers. These two plants look very much alike but K. scapigera comes from Angola while K. farinacea comes from the island of Socotra (Yemen).
Stem: Thick, slightly branched, cylindrical and somewhat lignified, 2.5-7.5 cm long transversely rugose with the scars of the fallen leaves.
Leaves: Subrosulate at the summit of the stem very thick obovate obtuse subpetiolate or nearly orbicular and sessile, 2 to 4 cm long and 1.2 to 2 cm wide, dull green, reddish or yellow-copper-coloured. Tip blunt to rounded. Base constricted to half amplexicaul.
Inflorescence: Peduncles scapiform rising from the rosette of leaves solitary or two together 12-35 cm long erect cylindrical with one or two pairs of opposite deciduous bracts bearing one or two trichotomous cymes at the summit. Cymes dense 8-15 cm long. Pedicels 2-6 mm long rigid bracteoles about 1 mm long thick, lanceolate, almost triquetrous.
Flowers: Upright, rather fleshy, bright yellow. Sepals very short scarcely 1-2 mm in length deltoid-ovate to lanceolate, acuminate or rather obtuse, thickened on the back. Corolla tube four-edged not exceeding 12 mm in length. Corolla lobes ovate acuminate about 3 mm long and 1 mm wide. Squamulae linear 2-4 mm long. Stamens attached above the middle of the corolla tube not protruding from the flower. Anthers egg-shaped 0.6 mm long. Nectar glands poited 2 to 4 mm long. Carpels, elongate, (5-)8-10(-18) mm long free from the corolla tube. Style 0.5 to 0.7 mm long.

Bibliography: Major referencens and further lectures
1) Daniel Oliver “Flora of Tropical Africa” Volume 2 L. Reeve1871
2) Urs Eggli: “Sukkulenten-Lexikon. Crassulaceae.” Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 2003
3) Sajeva & Costanzo “Succulents” The Illustrated Dictionary, 1994
4) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants:A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 11/ago/2011
5) Werner Rauh “The Wonderful World of Succulents: Cultivation and Description of Selected Succulent Plants Other Than Cacti” Smithsonian Institution Press, 1984
6) Hermann Jacobsen “A handbook of succulent plants: descriptions, synonyms, and cultural details for succulents other than Cactaceae, Volume 1” Blandford Press, 1960
7) Vera Higgins “Succulent Plants Illustrated” Blandford Press, 1949
8) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” CRC Press, 01/Jun/2000
9) Kakteen & Sukk. 52: 336, 2001
10) Bernard Descoings: Kalanchoe scapigera. In: Urs Eggli : “Sukkulenten-Lexikon. Crassulaceae (Dickblattgewächse).” Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 2003

Kalanchoe scapigera Photo by: Edoardo Mattei

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Cultivation and Propagation: Kalanchoe scapigera is a popular plant among landscape designers because of attractive colours and texture of the plant. It is very easy to cultivate and makes an interesting plant in any collection and is rewarding. It is also easy to take care as indoor plant. Since it doesn't get very large it's an easy plant to move inside/outside.
Potting mix: They thrive in nutrient poor soils consisting of equal parts of loam and sand, with pumice or lava grit added to ensure good drainage.
Exposure: Plant in full sun along the coast to a light shade inland.
Watering: It needs moderate watering in autumn and spring while in summer it should be watered thoroughly and allowed to dry before watering again. In winter give only occasional watering (only when the plant starts shriveling), but it will generally grow even in winter if given water. These plants will survive on neglect. Over-watering is the most common cause of plant failure.
Frost resistance: Prefers warm temperatures, minimum winter temperature 5° C.
Uses: It makes a nice landscape plant in warmer climates because it does not require much maintenance. In colder climates, Kalanchoe scapigera can be grown as outdoor pot plant in summer and a nice indoor accent plant in winter.
Propagation: It is propagated by removal of small offsets at the base of the main plant or by leaf and stem cuttings. It grows easily roots at the end of a leaf stalk which has fallen onto ground. New plants are ready within months.

How to Grow Kalanchoe

The genus Kalanchoe includes more than 100 species of plants, but only a few are regularly seen in cultivation. Kalanchoes are native to Madagasgar and thrive in arid environments, making them popular succulents. Growers are drawn to Kalanchoe for its ease of care and interesting leaves and flowers, which bloom consistently throughout the year in response to daylight. They are a slow-growing varietal, on average taking between two and five years to reach mature size. Available in pretty shades like red, pink, yellow, and white, Kalanchoe can be easily found at most grocery stores, nurseries, and florists, especially around the holidays.

Botanial name Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Common name Kalanchoe, Flaming katy, Widow's thrill,
Panda plant, Christmas kalanchoe
Plant type Succulent
Mature size 12–18 in. tall, 12–18 in. wide
Sun exposure Full sun, partial shade
Soil type Well-drained
Soil pH Acidic
Bloom time Spring, summer, fall, winter
Flower color Yellow, red, orange, pink, white
Hardiness zones 10, 11, 12 (USDA)
Native area Africa
Toxicity Toxic to pets

Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe

Watch the video: Kalanchoe Varieties A to Z


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