Kalanchoe or kalankoe is surely among the most beautiful succulents.
- Planting kalanchoe
- Caring for kalanchoe
- Watering indoor kalankoe
- Learn more about kalanchoe
- Smart tip about kalanchoe
- Kalanchoe Plant Care and Maintenance (Indoor and Outdoor)
- List of Kalanchoe Types and Varieties
- How to Plant Your New Kalanchoe
- How to Care for a Kalanchoe Flower Plant
- How to Get Kalanchoe to Bloom the Second Time After Winter
- Growth-Related Problems and Useful Tips to Prevent Them
- Are Kalanchoe Plants Poisonous
- Kalanchoe Plant Care
- How Big Does Flaming Katy Grow?
- Light Requirements
- How Often To Water Flaming Katy
- Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana Temperature Requirements
- How To Fertilize A Flaming Katy
- What Soil Do Flaming Katy Plants Need?
- How To Repot Flaming Katy
- How To Deadhead Flaming Katy
- How To Prune Flaming Katy
- How To Propagate Flaming Katy
- How To Get A Kalanchoe To Rebloom
- Displaying Your Flaming Katy
- Why Is My Kalanchoe Dying?
- Why Is My Kalanchoe Wilting?
- Why Is My Kalanchoe Dropping Leaves?
- Diseases And Pests
- Mealy Bugs
- Is Flaming Katy Poisonous?
- Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana (Flaming Katy / Widow’s-thrill)
- Flaming Katy Care Guide
- Kalanchoe Problems
- Community Comments
Key Kalanchoe facts
Name – ‘Blossfeld’ Kalanchoe
Family – Crassulaceae
Type – succulent, perennial
Height – 12 inches (30 cm)
Exposure – well-lit
Soil – soil mix
Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – February to April
Care is rather easy but a bit of advice on watering or pruning will help you get even better flowers.
Planting and repotting
This plant is suited to mild climates, and should preferably be cultivated indoors if you expect the weather to freeze.
- You may repot your kalanchoe just after purchasing it if you’ve purchased it while it wasn’t flowering.
- After that, repotting on an annual basis in fall after the blooming should help promote sprouting of new leaves at the end of winter.
- Gather the tips of the stems on about 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm).
- Let wounds heal in open air for 24 h.
- After that, dip in powdered rooting hormones.
- Plant in seedling and cutting soil mix.
- Keep your cuttings in a well-lit place, heated to more or less 68 to 70° F (20 to 21° C).
Some kalanchoe varieties grow tiny buds all around the perimeter of their leaves.
These are small “pups” that fall off and take root, giving rise to a new plant each time.
- Each of these is a clone of the mother plant and will have the same characteristics.
Caring for kalanchoe
Although caring for kalanchoe is actually straightforward, a few tips will help you grow a very nice, long-living plant:
- Remove wilted flowers regularly (deadheading).
This step isn’t mandatory but it helps stimulate the plant to produce new flowers.
- Re-potting after the blooming in a pot that is slightly larger than the previous will extend the lifespan of your kalanchoe.
- Adding flower plant fertilizer will help extend the blooming and increase its beauty.
Watering indoor kalankoe
- During the blooming, 1 to 2 waterings a week, when the soil has dried well.
- Outside of the blooming season, 1 to 2 waterings a fortnight.
- In winter, 1 to 2 waterings a month should suffice, but if the air inside your home is very dry and warm, do it a bit more often.
In any case, it is important for the soil to have dried well before watering, in which case it is also better to water once rarely with a significant amount instead of many moderate sessions.
BE CAREFUL! Leaves from succulents are loaded with water. If they start wrinkling up, it shows that they need more water. But if they’re plump and start drooping, you might be over-watering!
Learn more about kalanchoe
With its reduced need for care, it poses practically no difficulty to the caretaker.
Although excess water is what most often kills it, it also likes having a lot of light, but not scorching direct sun.
You can set it up either in a pot or in a garden box, but take care not to let children or animals play or peck with it, because the leaves are poisonous when ingested.
Smart tip about kalanchoe
Amending the soil with organic fertilizer will favor blooming, so you must take care not to provoke this during the dormant state, from October to February.
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Orange kalanchoe by JacLou DL under license
Mother-of-millions by cnseikaiye under © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Red kalanchoe by JacLou DL under license
Kalanchoes are pretty, low-maintenance, perennial, succulent plants that bear bunches of small blossoms on branching bracts. They are typically grown indoors, but can be placed outside whenever temperatures are warm enough or if winter temperatures don’t get low enough to harm them. Grown indoors or outdoors, Kalanchoes still need bright light, dry periods between watering and room to spread their root system.
While temperatures of 50 to 60 °F (10 to 15.5 °C) will keep the Kalanchoes in bloom, freezing temperatures can kill them. In USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11, they can be planted directly in the landscape with minimal winter protection and will function as perennials. Even a few hours of temperatures near 40°F (4.5°C) can kill unprotected Kalanachoe.
Kalanchoes are lovely in or out of bloom, but need short daylight hours to produce blooms. Kalanchoes planted where nighttime lighting reaches the leaves may not produce blooms as often as those planted where they have long stretches of darkness at night. In USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11, summertime direct sunlight can burn the leaves. Planted near a deciduous tree with dappled shade, Kalanchoes benefit from more winter sun and less summer sun.
Photo via gardenerdy.com
North of USDA hardiness zone 11, Kalanchoes are grown as summer annuals, or must be planted in pots so they can be moved indoors when frost threatens. If they are set outdoors in an area with intense, full sunlight, they must be gradually adjusted to the lower light levels they will experience indoors.
Kalanchoes grown outside don’t need much care. They have low water needs, whether grown indoors or out. Do not water plants unless the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) or so of the soil feels dry. Kalanchoes have sensitive roots and do not like soggy soils, which can cause root rot and kill the plants. The plants can stand some drought, but if soil gets too dry, it can inhibit plant growth.
You can propagate Kalanchoes in spring by taking cuttings of 2 to 3 inches (7.5 cm) shoots or taking a single leaf cutting. Some Kalanchoe plants, such as Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe laetivirens), produce leaflets or bulblets on the edges of leaves which grow easily when they fall to ground or when placed in soil.
Pests and Disease
Kalanchoes grown outside are more susceptible to pests. Aphids, spider mites, scale insect and nematodes can all attack the plant. Some signs of insect infestation include honeydew on leaves, bitten or torn leaves and faded leaves. To treat plants for insects use a nontoxic treatment, like neem oil, to avoid damaging the plant. When grown in humid conditions, the plant can suffer from leaf spotting.
Heavy winds can break the succulent stems of Kalanchoes or even uproot them. Place the container in a sheltered area. Kalanchoes also do not “play well” with other plants, in that they have a very demanding root system. They need plenty of root space from other plants and particularly don’t compete well with grass. The more root room they have in the ground or in their containers, the larger the plant will grow and the more bloom clusters it can support.
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If you want a succulent houseplant that blooms, well then, let me introduce you to the Kalanchoe blossfeldiana. Perhaps you’ve seen one but never brought it home. I want to encourage you to do that because they’re easy to grow and are in bloom for quite a long time. Caring for flowering kalanchoes is no trouble at all but there are a few things you need to know.
This popular flowering succulent houseplant, usually called kalanchoe, florist kalanchoe or flaming katy, is very easy to find. It’s sold in grocery stores, nurseries, big box stores, garden shops and flower shops. They’re grown in a wide range of colors; most of them vibrant hues like yellow, pink, magenta, orange and red. No shrinking violets here! Around the holidays you can more readily find them in white. The foliage makes a statement too because it’s glossy green and the leaves are quite large.
Caring for flowering kalanchoes:
These care tips are for keeping your kalanchoe going for the long haul. I had one for 5 years until it just got too leggy & I had to send it to the compost pile.
Kalanchoes sold in 6″ grow pots usually grow to 12″ tall. They’re also sold in 4″ pots as well as in 2″ pots to go into dish gardens.
These flowering kalanchoes like bright, natural light. A medium or high light situation is best as long as there not getting too much direct sun. Keep them out of any hot windows because they’ll burn.
Yours would enjoy spending the summer outdoors just as long as it’s protected from the hot afternoon sun. I live in the Arizona desert where I grow my kalanchoes both indoors & out. I have to keep mine on the patio out of the sun completely because the rays are so strong & the sun shines almost every day. They’d fry in just an hour here in summer!
The more light you give your kalanchoe, the better it’ll look. In lower light conditions the flowers tend to not open & the foliage gets spindly. If you have low light & you want a kalanchoe, buy it in as full bloom as you can.
4″ Kalanchoes sitting on a bench in the grower’s greenhouse. You can see how glossy & large the foliage is.
These plants are succulents with fleshy leaves & stems which means you don’t want to keep them constantly wet. They need good drainage. Water yours well, let it all drain out & then water again when dry. That might mean you water yours every 2 weeks. The frequency will vary depending on your temps, light situation & the size pot your kalanchoes are in.
I water mine a bit more often when it’s flowering. They don’t need to be misted or sprayed but if yours is really dirty, give it a good hose off once a year.
If your kalanchoe comes wrapped in foil or in a decorative pot with no drain hole, remove the plant when you water it. You don’t want water building up because that will lead to rot.
Normal home temps are fine. The summer & winter temps really vary here in Tucson & my kalanchoes outside do okay. I also grew them outdoors when I lived in Santa Barbara where the temps were much less extreme & they seemed to be a bit happier.
As with any flowering plant, the hotter your home is the faster the flowers will open up & the bloom time won’t be quite as long.
These are the fully open flowers of my Calandiva Kalanchoe. They’re an appealing combo of yellow, apricot & orange.
I don’t use any. I top dress my kalanchoes with worm castings & compost every spring; even the ones growing indoors. If you have a balanced organic houseplant fertilizer, you can apply that in spring & summer if you think your plant needs it.
When I repot my kalanchoes, I use 1/2 succulent & cactus mix & 1/2 potting soil. All succulent & cactus mix would be fine with some compost mixed in. All potting soil works but it’s trickier to keep on the dry side.
I also mix in a handful or so of organic compost & sprinkle the top with a layer of worm compost when I plant.
I can’t remember my kalanchoes ever getting any. They’re subject to aphids & mealybugs so keep your eyes open for those critters. You’ll see what they look like & what can be done if you click on the link.
White, red & pink kalanchoes waiting for a home. These would be good to use for a party or some other event, but the blooms won’t last quite as long if you buy them fully open.
Safe for Pets
My kitties don’t bother any of my plants so it’s not a big concern for me. According to the ASPCA website, kalanchoes are toxic to both dogs & cats. I did a post on toxicity & houseplants sharing my thoughts on that subject.
I grew many different types of kalanchoes in my garden in Santa Barbara. There are over 200 species found the world over. Many of them tend to get leggy over time. You need to pinch them down after flowering to keep them fuller. As I said above, mine that was 5 years old (you see it towards the end of the video) wasn’t worth trying to save.
You can propagate kalanchoes by seed, division or stem cuttings. I’ve never done it by seed but that method takes the longest.
Division can be done if you easily find a way to separate the plant into 2 or 3 separate ones. Some have multiple plants in 1 pot so they won’t be hard at all to divide.
I’ve taken stem cuttings, about 4-5″ long with the bottom leaves few leaves removed, & then healed them off for a week or so. I planted them in succulent & cactus mix & they’ve rooted in about 3 weeks. Be sure not to mist the foliage while they’re rooting.
Both these methods are best done in spring or summer. Avoid propagating a plant while flowering.
Another Calandiva – love this rose/salmon color.
The masses of flowers are why this plant is so popular. Yours may flower again in spring or late fall naturally by cutting the flower stems all the way down. Leave the foliage be.
If yours isn’t blooming again, you can force it to. Kalanchoes are photoperiodic (Like poinsettias) which means they react to equal periods of light and dark exposure. They need 12-14 hours of complete darkness to bloom again.
Chances are, if you have them in your home, they’re in a room that isn’t getting that amount of complete darkness. You have to put them in a closet or a room that’s got good light during the day and is pitch black for 12-14 hours. And yes, they need that every night for 6 to 8 weeks. And, be sure to cut back on the watering during this time. Once the buds begin to set you can return them to their normal routine.
Mine that was growing in the guest bathroom bloomed a couple of times a year. There’s a skylight so it got nice bright, overhead light during the day & was completely dark at night. I got off & on blooms all year long out of the ones growing outdoors.
Good To Know
Kalanchoes are succulents which means the can handle the dry air in our homes just fine.
The foliage is so big & dense that sometimes I remove a bit of it so the flowers show more.
Calandiva & Grandiva are relatively newer cultivars (or varieties) with multi-petals which resemble roses. The Grandiva flowers are even bigger.
This could be a problem: Kalanchoes are subject to powdery mildew if you keep them too wet. The foliage is very dense & fleshy – that’s why you don’t want to mist or spray this plant.
Me hanging out in the greenhouse with my purdy kalanchoe friends.
Kalanchoe flowers are long lasting and the foliage is rich, shiny green. They come in so many colors that surely you can find one you love. They’re a great blooming plant to brighten up your home!
Kalanchoe Plant Care and Maintenance (Indoor and Outdoor)
- Organic Gardening
- Kalanchoe Plant Care and Maintenance (Indoor and Outdoor)
Kalanchoe plants are popular succulents known for their long-lasting bloom from winter to spring. These are fairly low-maintenance plants that can be grown both indoor and outdoor with minimum care.
List of Kalanchoe Types and Varieties
All these different types of kalanchoe plants need the same growth and care requirements to thrive well.
How to Plant Your New Kalanchoe
- Select a clay pot between 4 inches and 8 inches wide, and 6 inches deep with a good drainage.
- Fill it with a commercial potting soil mix (alternately, you can either use sand or a mixture of 60% of peat moss and 40% perlite). You can place the pot in a drainage tray to help drain the excess water.
- Once the pot is ready, place the plant carefully into it and water thoroughly.
If you want to grow the plant outdoor, make sure your garden soil is moderately moist (not soggy or extreme dry).
How to Care for a Kalanchoe Flower Plant
Providing the Required Amount of Sunlight
If you are growing the plant indoors, select a suitable place where it can receive adequate sunlight as potted kalanchoe bloom well when provided with 8 to 10 hours of sunlight daily. Since in winter the sunlight is less intense, a south-facing window would be preferable. On the other hand, in summer an east/west-facing spot would prevent direct sunlight from damaging the leaves, while also ensuring its normal growth.
Outdoor plants have to be grown in areas where they can receive partial shade during the hottest part of the day as well as get proper shelter from rain.
Providing the Right Humidity and Temperature Conditions
While indoors, the plant grows and blooms well in normal room temperature, ranging between 65°F (18°C) and 85°F (29°C).
When planted outside, it should not be exposed to temperatures lower than 40°F (4°C) to 45°F (7°C) as it can undergo severe damage or die within a few hours under the influence of extreme cold and frost.
For both indoor and outdoor, the humidity levels have to be maintained low since the plant does not favor misty conditions.
Like any succulent plant, kalanchoe stores water in its leaves for a longer time and hence too much watering is not advisable. Also, wetting the leaves should be avoided to prevent diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spots. In fact, overwatering is one of the primary reasons for these plants’ untimely death.
How often to water the plant
For houseplants, water only when 50% of the soil has dried up or the soil looks dry (they don’t need watering daily) Make sure the water runs out the bottom of the pot to allow the soil to moisten uniformly. If it’s placed on a drainage tray, empty it every time after watering as the plant should not be allowed to sit in the drained water for too long.
Sometimes, when you find the soil too dry, place it in a deep saucer of water for about ten minutes to help the plant receive the required amount of moisture without wetting the leaves.
Outdoor plants should be watered when the top inch of the soil appears dry. Although overwatering should be avoided, leaving the soil too dry can affect the plant growth.
Following the Right Fertilizing Schedule
Feed the plant during the growing season with a 20-8-20 high nitrate fertilizer that should be diluted to half or a quarter of the recommended strength every two weeks. If the soil looks dry, water the plant before feeding with the liquid fertilizer to prevent the roots from getting burnt.
Pruning and Cleaning Regulalry
Trim off any stems with dead or dying flowers and leaves to facilitate a better bloom. In fact, pruning the plant soon after a new bloom helps in the development of new flower buds in about two to three weeks. Overgrown branches can be simply trimmed off at regular fork intervals.
Kalanchoe Plant Care Pruning
Wayward branches or stems should be cut off to maintain the shape of the plant. Overgrowth and lack of sunlight make it leggy, resulting in weak and slender stems with low production of flowers.
Dust accumulated on the leaves and flowers can be cleaned by wiping with a cloth or a gentle spray of water regularly. Wipe the leaves with a dry cloth as well as you can after spraying.
Re-potting an Overgrown Plant
How to Know When to Re-pot
The plant needs to be transferred to a new container in spring every 12 to 24 months when it no longer has enough room to grow in the old one. You will know your plant needs re-potting if you spot the roots coming out of the drainage holes, or the flower stems dying soon after blooming.
How to Re-pot
Trim off all dying stems, then hold the main stem near the base and invert the pot to pull out the plant. Trim off any compressed, dry, or insect-damaged root at the bottom of the root ball and clear the old soil from the roots with your hand.
Transfer the plant carefully to a new clean pot, about 2 inches larger than the older container, with proper drainage. Then fill the bottom with a good potting mix (preferably those used for cacti). Make sure the leaves are handled carefully as they are brittle, breaking off easily. Place the plant in the center of the pot so that the crown is below the rim. Add some more potting mix to the top of the container, covering the root ball up to the crown.
Once you are done, water the plant to moisten the soil properly, after which it should be kept dry to allow normal growth and blooming.
How to Get Kalanchoe to Bloom the Second Time After Winter
To display flower buds, these succulent plants require winter lighting conditions, with a temperature ranging from 40°F (4°C) to 45°F (7°C) at night, and 60°F (16°C) during the day. If you want your plant to bloom again during the other parts of the year, you need to mimic the winter weather conditions.
Place the plant in a dark/dim room or closet for nearly 12 to 14 hours for about 6 weeks, exposing it to only bright sunlight during the mornings (not for the full day), getting it back in the dark afterward. Stick to minimal watering and no fertilizing. Once the plant begins to form buds, shift it to a normal sunlight environment, and carry on with normal watering.
Kalanchoe Plant Flowers
Growth-Related Problems and Useful Tips to Prevent Them
Your kalanchoe houseplant could be subjected to a host of pests and diseases when not taken care of properly. Here are some problems you may have to face while growing it:
Pests – Aphids, little red spider mites, nematodes, mealybugs and scale insects, may cause honeydew secretions on the leaves, leading to torn and faded leaves. Regular cleaning with a moist cloth/alcohol-dipped cotton swab as well as applying neem oil may prevent the problem. Also, using yellow sticky cards and insecticidal soap may also help. However, if the damage is more severe, you might have to use some eco-friendly pesticides.
Rot – Overwatering could lead to rot that is characterized by black, soggy appearance at the base of the stem, resulting in damaged roots. If left in this condition for a long time, it may get affected by fungi like pythium and phytophthora, causing yellowing and wilting of leaves. Trim off the damaged roots and repot the plant before it completely rots.
Using well-drained soil and following a proper fertilizing and watering schedule could help in preventing the problem. However, in most cases, rot-affected plants might not be able to survive for long, and you might end up getting another plant.
Other Fungal Problems – Improper watering and excessive humidity can cause powdery mildew and leaf spotting. To control it, keep your plant in well-ventilated areas and make sure the leaves stay dry. In severe cases of mildew, spray the plant with a solution of 2 tablespoons of 85% potassium bicarbonate product and 1 gallon of water every one to two weeks.
Powdery Mildew on Kalanchoe Plant Picture
Are Kalanchoe Plants Poisonous
These plants are categorized as poisonous due to the presence of some cardiac toxins that might pose severe health risks to animals if they eat the flowers, leaves, or any other part. In fact, the water in the vase containing kalanchoe flowers is also considered toxic. Even though it is not considered toxic to humans, it is advisable to keep your children away from the plant as well as your pets.
by gMandy | Updated : July 14, 2018
Kalanchoe Plant Care
General Kalanchoe Plant Care
Easy to care for Kalanchoe is an extremely popular blooming plant requiring minimal plant care. Water the Kalanchoe moderately letting the soil dry completely before you water it. Because the Kalanchoe is a succulent over-watering can damage the plant; a container with good drainage is important. In winter the Kalanchoe prefers a drier soil than it does during the summer. So you may need to add an extra day or two between watering periods. During the spring and summer, fertilize the Kalanchoe every two weeks with a balanced slow release liquid fertilizer. The Kalanchoe prefer bright sunny locations, but can tolerate a wide variety of light conditions. Blooming however is controlled by the light it receives. A Kalanchoe, like a Poinsettia, requires a period of darkness in order to bloom (usually 12 to 16 hours darkness for 6 weeks). Keep the Kalanchoe above 54 degrees at all times; higher temperatures are preferred.
Kalanchoe Plant Care Maintenance
Pruning is necessary to keep the Kalanchoe well shaped. Trim spent blooms and their stems as needed. Leaving spent blooms attached with inhibit future blooming. To make the Kalanchoe a fuller stockier plant, pinch the top back to the second or third leaf; this will encourages branching. After pruning the plant may require less water. When you water examine the Kalanchoe for pests and diseases. Kalanchoe is susceptible to aphids, gray mold and edema. These problems are often the result of being kept too wet and cool. Watering the Kalanchoe by filling the saucer with water instead of pouring it on the soil may alleviate this problem.
Buy a Kalanchoe
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, or Flaming Katy as its often called is a wonderful flowering succulent plant that provides beautiful blooms for months at a time during the winter and springtime. A really popular houseplant due to their wide variety of flower colors, long-lasting blooms, low water requirements and ease of propagation.
How to care for Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana – Flaming Katy needs bright, indirect light, well-draining soil and temperatures of 65-85 F. Water your Flaming Katy when the top half of the soil is dry and fertilize every few months. Remove dead flowers to encourage prolonged blooming and prune back after flowering to prevent the plant from becoming leggy.
- Scientific Name: Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
- Common Name: Flaming Katy, Christmas Kalanchoe, Florist Kalanchoe
- Family: Crassulaceae
- Origin: Native to madagascar, southern and eastern africa
- Size: 8-12 inches in height (20-30 cm)
- Soil: Lightweight well-draining soil. Half potting soil, half coarse sand or perlite is ideal.
- Container: Avoid excessively large pots. Ensure good drainage.
- Light: Bright, indirect sunlight. East or west facing window is great.
- Temperature: 65 to 80 °F (18 to 27 °C).
- Humidity: Normal indoor humidity levels are fine. Flaming Katy plants do well at a range of humidity levels.
- Watering: Water once the top half of the soil is dry. Avoid overwatering.
- Fertilizing: Very little fertilizer needed. Apply fertilizer about twice a year.
- Propagation: Can be propagated easily with stem or leaf cuttings.
Many people only keep Flaming Katy as an annual, but it’s not too difficult to care for them during the year and have them rebloom year after year. There are some specific steps you’ll have to take to get a Flaming Katy to rebloom, but follow the instructions in this article, and you’ll be able to enjoy the blooms every winter and springtime for years to come.
Before we move on, did you know that Kalanchoe is pronounced “kal-un-KOH-ee”? I’d been pronouncing it Kal-uhn–cho for years, but I realised my mistake a while ago. I learned that the genus kalanchoe was named after the chinese word “kalanchauhuy” meaning temple plant, so I can see where the pronunciation comes from. I’m sure people pronounce it in different ways too.
How Big Does Flaming Katy Grow?
In the wild, Kalanchoe blossfeldiana grows to about 20 inches in height, but most of the plants that are sold as houseplants are dwarf hybrids that only grow to about 8-12 inches high. The spread isn’t usually more than 8-12 inches either. This makes them an ideal size for a windowsill or tabletop plant to cheer up a room in your home.
Flaming Katy requires bright, indirect light to thrive. They will do best in a west or east facing window for most of the year. Just be careful not to let your flaming Katy get too much hot, direct sunlight, or the leaves will get scorched.
They can tolerate 1-2 hours of direct sunlight per day, which is why an east or west facing window is ideal, to catch the early morning or late evening sunshine, but remain in bright shade the rest of the day.
If you live at higher latitude, with shorter days and weaker sunshine in the winter, you can safely move your Flaming Katy to a south-facing window, where it will get more of the weak winter sunshine.
Feel free to put your Flaming Katy outside over the summer months if you wish. Just make sure it’s in a shady spot where it’s only going to get 1-2 hours of direct sunlight per day. I find that Flaming Katy plants tend to do really well if they get a few months outside, as it helps them grow vigorously in the vegetative phase and tees them up nicely for the shorter days of autumn and the run up to their blooming phase.
Just take care that your plant is not exposed to night time temperatures of under 50 °F, so keep an eye on the forecast and bring your plant back inside well before temperatures drop.
How Often To Water Flaming Katy
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a succulent plant, so bear this in mind when watering. You should only water the plant when the top half of the soil is dry. Kalanchoes tend to be quite drought resistant, and Flaming Katy is no different. This is good news for the slightly forgetful gardener.
One of the biggest problems people have with Flaming Katy plants is overwatering. It’s a common issue with many houseplants. Flaming Katy can be prone to powdery mildew and root rot, so managing the watering well is a top priority.
Another good tip is to avoid watering over the leaves. Flaming Katy has quite dense foliage and it’s easy for water to pool between the foliage which will increase the risk of fungal disease.
Flaming Katy tends to require more water in the flowering phase due to increased water loss from the blooms. However, just keep checking the condition of the soil every day or two, and you’ll know when water is required.
Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana Temperature Requirements
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana do best in temperatures between 65 to 80 °F, which makes them a great houseplant. They are fairly tolerant of warmer temperatures, so don’t worry too much if the temperature creeps up a little higher than this in the summer.
The main thing to avoid is exposure to cold, so make sure to keep your plant above 50 °F at all times. Drafty windows can also cause some problems, particularly over the winter, where a draft can cause a localized dip in the temperature. Prolonged exposure to cold conditions can very easily be fatal for a Flaming Katy.
Flaming Katy plants aren’t fussy about humidity levels, although are less prone to fungal disease in lower humidity conditions.
How To Fertilize A Flaming Katy
Kalanchoes tend to be light feeders. I use a weak fertilizer solution twice per year on my Flaming Katy, but up to monthly should be fine. Feeding more frequently than this can cause problems with nutrient toxicity. Some people don’t even bother to fertilize their Flaming Katy and just repot every other year or top dress with compost to give the plants a bit of a boost.
What Soil Do Flaming Katy Plants Need?
You should use a well aerated, fast draining soil for your Flaming Katy to reduce the risk of problems with overwatering. An equal mix of potting soil and cactus mix is ideal, or a mix of potting soil, perlite and coarse sand.
If your plant is in less well draining soil, you don’t necessarily have to repot it. Just be more careful when watering to make sure the soil is fairly well dried out between waterings.
How To Repot Flaming Katy
You don’t have to repot a Flaming Katy too often, about once every 3-4 years should be fine. Most people keep their plant well pruned, to keep it bushy, which does reduce the need to repot quite as often.
The best time to repot is after flowering and pruning the plant, before the new vegetative growth starts. This will give the plant plenty of time to settle into its new pot and put on new vegetation before the next flowering season. A pot only slightly bigger than the original pot is best, to reduce the risk of overwatering.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana normally starts flowering in December and is popular in stores and garden centers in the run up to Christmas, and through the winter and early spring.
They are available in a wide range of bloom colors, including red, orange, yellow, pink and white. The flowers are usually numerous and tightly packed, producing a really nice display of color.
Flaming Katy plants will often flower for months at a time, and there are a few things you can do to prolong blooming time.
Firstly, when you buy one from a store, try to pick a plant with more buds than blooms, rather than one which is out in all its glory already.
Secondly, when you see dying or dead flowers on your Flaming Katy, pinch or cut them off, so the plant is encouraged to produce more flowers, rather than waste energy in producing seeds, which are not needed.
How To Deadhead Flaming Katy
There are two main reasons to deadhead a Flaming Katy plant. Firstly, the spent blooms tend to make the plant look untidy, so a plant which has blooming for a while can start to look a bit untidy and scruffy. Secondly, as mentioned above, removing dead blooms will stimulate the plant to produce new buds and more flowers, prolonging the blooming duration.
You can either pinch off the individual flowers when they are dead, or if an entire stem of flowers has died, you are better to cut back the stem down to the base. Try to use a clean pair of pruning scissors or clean hands if you are pinching them off.
How To Prune Flaming Katy
The best time to prune a Flaming Katy plant is after all of the blooms have finally died. This is a good opportunity to reshape the plant, reducing it to the desired size and maintaining the size and shape that you want.
The plant will be primed after flowering to start vegetative growth, so the plant should easily tolerate even aggressive pruning.
As mentioned above, the most important thing is to use sterile pruning scissors and clean your hands prior to pruning, as the open wounds that will result from pruning increase the risk of infection for the plant. Thankfully, Kalanchoe plants are very resilient and not particularly prone to disease, but nevertheless, take reasonable care.
The first thing to do is to trim off all dead flowers and trim back flower stems to just above a pair of leaves. Next, look at the shape of the plant and trim off any parts that look leggy or are causing the plant to be misshapen. I generally prune back quite aggressively to account for the vegetative growth that will happen over the next few months.
If you have been growing your Flaming Katy in lower light conditions, it is more likely to be leggy, so this may prompt you to consider changing the location that you grow your plant.
I normally fertilize my plant a few days after pruning, to encourage new root and foliage development and to assist the plant in recovering from the pruning.
How To Propagate Flaming Katy
Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana is fairly easy to propagate, as many succulent plants are. You can propagate them by leaf or stem cuttings, but I would highly recommend stem cutting propagation, as its really easy and fairly reliable.
Here’s a step by step guide to help you.
- A good time to propagate your Flaming Katy plant is in the late spring. This is the start of the vegetative growth period for the plant, so your cuttings are more likely to grow. But, you can propagate at any time of year as long as you provide the right conditions.
- Pick a stem with at least two pairs of healthy green leaves. Cut a section of stem from the plant of at least 3 inches (7.5 cm) in length). Remove any leaves at the bottom of the stem to ensure that there is at least an inch (2.5cm) of bare stem.
- Leave the cuttings for about 48 hours to let the cut end of the stem dry out and heal. The cut end will form a callus and will reduce the risk of the stem rotting when you plant it.
- Prepare your propagation tray or pot. You should use a potting mix of half potting compost and half perlite or coarse sand. Or, half cactus mix and half potting compost will do very well. Press the potting mix into the propagation tray or pot.
- Make small holes for the stem cuttings. The size of the hole should by a little wider than the width of the stem. You will then be able to insert the cuttings without damaging them.
- I usually use a small amount of rooting powder on the end of the stem cuttings. This isn’t necessary, but it increases the success of the cuttings when I use this. I sometimes dip the end of the stems in water before the rooting powder to help it stick to the end of the stem.
- Insert the ends of the stem cuttings into the pre-prepared holes in the potting medium. Compress the media to secure the cuttings in place.
- Lightly water the soil. Don’t saturate it, as there is a higher risk of fungal disease if the cuttings are excessively wet. I cover the cuttings for the first 2 weeks with polythene to create a mini greenhouse. Propagation trays are great for this, but you can improvise.
- Place the cuttings in bright, indirect sunlight in temperatures of 70 to 80 F (21 to 27 C). Mist the soil and cuttings every 1-2 days, to keep the soil slightly moist.
- If any of your cuttings develop signs of fungal disease, remove the affected plants. Leave the others uncovered if this happens.
- There is no rush to transplant the cuttings to individual pots. They will grow happily in propagation trays for a few months. But, in practice, I transplant my new Flaming Katy plants into separate pots after 3-4 weeks.
There are another few options for propagating. These include leaf cuttings and water propagation. You can set leaves directly on the soil of a prepped propagation tray. Treat them in the same way as stem cuttings. They take a lot longer to root, but can be successful. Or, you can propagate stem and leaf cuttings in water.
A narrow-necked jar is ideal for this. Place the bottom 1-2 inches of the cutting into the water and watch the magic happen. Keep the water level topped up so the end of the cutting stays in the water. Within a few weeks, roots should be growing strongly and you can transplant the cutting to a pot.
How To Get A Kalanchoe To Rebloom
Although Flaming Katy plants are perennial, meaning they will flower year after year, most people treat them as annuals. The main reason is they have a reputation for being difficult to rebloom, but the reality is they are not difficult, just particular in their needs.
It’s great to get such a beautiful houseplant that flowers so prolifically through the winter and the reason it does this is quite interesting. Like some other popular winter houseplants, like the poinsettia, Flaming Katy is a short day plant. This means that it needs short days, or rather, long nights, to stimulate bud and flower production.
Flaming Katy plants needs at least 12 hours of complete darkness per day for 6-8 weeks to stimulate flowering. Interestingly, I don’t just mean at least 12 hours of night time. Flaming Katy plants are also sensitive to artificial light, so if you’re trying to get one to rebloom at home, you need to ensure that it is kept in the dark for at least 12 hours per day in the run-up to reblooming.
If you live in higher latitudes, your climate will naturally provide long autumn and winter nights, so reblooming should be less of a problem. The main challenge is to place it somewhere in your home that it will not be disturbed by artificial light in the evenings.
Although I will have my Flaming Katy in pride of place while it is blooming, for the 3 months from mid September to Mid December, I keep my plant in a spare bedroom, where it will not be disturbed. I make sure not to turn the light on in this room unnecessarily in the evenings, and the natural shortening of the days where I live ensures that little else is required to ensure reblooming.
If you live in a more equatorial region, you’ll have to work a bit harder to get your Flaming Katy to rebloom. The best thing to do is to put your plant in a dark cupboard at 6pm every night from mid October and take in out again in the morning at 7 or 8am. By about mid-December, you should have done enough, and the plant should burst into bloom.
Obviously, it’s considerably more effort to have to get a plant in and out of a cupboard every day, so this may be more effort than you’re willing to put in when you can just pick another up at the store.
Displaying Your Flaming Katy
Flaming Katy plants are great to display on windowsills and tables and provide a real splash of color at a time of year when a lot of other plants will not be flowering.
Sometimes kalanchoe plants are sold in attractive pots with decorative wrapping around them. The temptation is to keep these decorative wrappings around the pots, but you need to have some caution if you do this.
The number one cause why people struggle with kalanchoe plants is overwatering. Kalanchoe plants are succlents and are prone to fungal disease and root rot if overwatered. Decorative wrappings often cover the drainage holes of pots and can exacerbate any overwatering issues.
If your Flaming Katy comes with decorative wrapping around the pot, I would suggest that you either remove it, or ensure that drainage isn’t restricted by it.
Another good option is to double pot your Flaming Katy. Keep your plant in a well-draining inner pot, and a decorative outer pot without drainage holes. This has the added advantage that you can safely place your Flaming Katy on furniture which might be damaged if water was to drain out of the bottom of a pot.
Why Is My Kalanchoe Dying?
Thankfully, Flaming Katy plants, like other kalanchoe are fairly easy to care for, but there are a few common issues, which I will discuss now.
Why Is My Kalanchoe Wilting?
The most likely reason for wilting is overwatering. Kalanchoe plants are quite drought tolerant, so wilting leaves is much less likely to be a problem with underwatering. Overwatering can easily cause root rot, which kills the roots and prevents them from absorbing water, causing a deficiency of water in the plant.
Feel the soil. If it is completely dry, underwatering may be the issue, but if the soil is damp, there is a high likelihood overwatering is the problem. The best solution is to repot the plant, assessing the roots when doing this. Remove any roots affected by root rot and repot in well draining potting mix. Root rot can be fatal for a kalanchoe plant, so do not be surprised if the plant cannot be saved.
Why Is My Kalanchoe Dropping Leaves?
There are quite a few reasons why your kalanchoe can drop leaves. Overwatering or underwatering can cause leaf drop. Overwatering can cause leaves to swell and root rot to set in, causing leaf drop. Underwatering can cause leaf drop due to dehydration. Insufficient light can cause leaf drop, but is normally preceded by yellowing of the leaves.
One of the more common reasons for leaf drop is exposure to extremes of temperature. Flaming Katy plants are particularly sensitive to low temperatures, and as many are sold in the winter, it is easy to accidentally expose them to temperatures of below 50 F, which can cause leaf drop within a matter of days. Succulent plants will also generally drop leaves when exposed to excessively high temperatures, and Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is no different.
In addition to these, pests and disease can cause leaf drop, and I’ll tell you a bit more about these below.
Diseases And Pests
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is prone to powdery mildew. This can be quite contagious and can prove fatal to your Flaming Katy if not detected and treated early. You will notice a powdery white coating on the leaves and stems, that can become fluffy in appearance if left to progress.
It is more common in low light conditions, with reduced air circulation and temperatures of about 70 F (21 C). If you identify this, you should treat it immediately with an appropriate fungicide, remove any badly affected leaves, and move your plant to somewhere with higher light and airflow.
Mealybugs are another potential invader of your Flaming Katy. These little white insects will cause stunting of the growth of your plant, yellowing of leaves and leaf drop. They feed off the sap in the leaves of the plant, multiply rapidly and can eventually overwhelm the plant, killing it.
The first symptoms of a mealybug infestation are the appearance of fluffy white deposits at the base of stems and sheltered locations on the plant. Often eggs will be seen on the underside of leaves. Mealybugs produce a sticky fluid called honeydew which tends to encourage sooty mold to develop on the leaves.
The best way to deal with this is to use an alcohol rub to clean the plant, or use an insecticidal spray. There are whole variety of chemical and non-chemical methods to control mealybugs.
Aphids will appear as individual green, crawling bugs, which should be easily visible, You may also see the white skin casts of the aphids on the leaves. Again, aphids are parasitic to the plant, weakening it, which can stunt growth and cause leaf drop. There are plenty of effective control methods depending on your preference for chemical or non-chemical control.
Is Flaming Katy Poisonous?
Flaming Katy plants are toxic to people and pets, so take care displaying this plant where pets and children can access it. Ingestion by cats and dogs most commonly leads to gastrointestinal upset. However, the flowers contain cardiac glycosides which can cause more serious health problems, including cardiac arrhythmias in larger doses.
Your plant looks like a Kalanchoe calandiva. Kalanchoe houseplants need bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn’t provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. and enjoy direct sun during the fall, winter, and spring. Direct sun in the summer is too intense and burns the Kalanchoe leaves. The blooms on Kalanchoe Plants are photo-periodically induced. As the days get shorter and Kalanchoes experience longer periods of darkness, they produce more flowers. Kalanchoes are Succulent PlantLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a “fat plant.”s with plump leaves that store water for long periods of time. They are easily over-watered which causes root-rot. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry-out before watering. If the soil of a Kalanchoe is exceptionally dry, sit the plant in a deep saucer filled with water for about ten minutes. This not only prevents over-watering but also prevents water from dripping on Kalanchoe leaves and causing plant diseases such as leaf spot or powdery mildewPowdery mildew is a plant disease that puts a grayish white powder on plant leaves and stems. View a picture of this plant disease and learn how to treat it.. Remove the dead flowers at the base of their stem to encourage new flowers to develop. You can read all my care tips for kalanchoes in the Popular Houseplant section of the website. The picture is of a slightly different variety, but the care is the same.
All varieties of kalanchoes contain cardiac glycosides and are toxic to animals. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants
The story of Kalanchoe
Magnificent forms, easy to look after and keeps looking good for a long time: these are the characteristics that make Kalanchoe a star amongst the flowering houseplants. An asset for enhancing the interior, but also a popular bedding, balcony or patio plant in spring and summer which can tolerate both sun and shade and blooms endlessly.
Kalanchoe is a member of the Crassulaceae family, which also includes many other succulents such as Crassula and Echeveria. The most common flowering variety is Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, which can have both single and double flowers. There are also Kalanchoes that stand out because of their beautiful bell-shaped flowers or leaves. The plants grow in Madagascar, south and east Africa, south-east Asia and China. The name is derived from that latter country: Kalan Chau was ‘latinised’ into Kalanchoe.
What to look for when buying Kalanchoe
Kalanchoe is a short day plant. That means that the plants form buds when the days are less than 12 hours long. Growers have the opportunity to play with light and dark. Hence short and long days can be reproduced in the greenhouse in order to get the plant to flower all year round.
- When buying Kalanchoe, the pot size (they’re available from mini through to large bowls), the diameter and thickness of the plant, the number of buds and the ripeness all play a role. The flowers must still be in bud, but showing some colour.
- Check that the plant is free of pests and diseases. When the flowers or the foliage are damaged or flawed, this is often the result of shipping or storage. Wilted flowers or yellow leaves indicate that the plant is not in top condition.
- if too much moisture is left between the leaves for a long time as a result of condensation, botrytis can occur. There are virtually no other pests or diseases present on Kalanchoe during the sale phase.
- Make sure the plants get enough light during shipping and at the point of sale in order to prevent the flower stems from stretching.
- Kalanchoe cannot cope with temperatures below 12°C . You should therefore leave the plant in the sleeve during the shipping and storage phase in order to avoid cold damage.
- There is also a risk of damage when Kalanchoe is placed outdoors. Keep an eye on the temperature.
Choice of range
Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana is the most common species in the range. They’re usually not sold by cultivar, but by colour or in mixed trays. The plants come in many different colours: red, orange, yellow, green, white, pink, lilac, salmon and bicoloured varieties. The flower can be single (e.g. Calanday) or double-flowered (e.g. Calandiva or Rosalina). The size the flowers can also vary – there are increasing numbers of varieties with larger flowers on the market. The Bells series offers alternative flower shapes. These Kalanchoes have sprays of pale green hollow cushions from which bell-shaped flowers emerge. Mirabella has much smaller flowers and is particularly sold as a patio plant. Alongside flowering Kalanchoes, there’s also an attractive range of foliage Kalanchoes with beautiful thick leaves. The best-known is Kalanchoe thyrisflora.
Care tips for consumers
- The thick fleshy leaves – flowering Kalanchoe is a succulent – mean that the plant needs little care and is therefore also suitable with people who don’t have green fingers.
- Kalanchoe prefers a light to sunny spot both indoors and outdoors, provided that the temperature remains above 12°C.
- The plant stores moisture in the thick leaves; watering once a week is enough. Too much water is definitely to be avoided: it’s better for the soil to be a little too dry than much too wet.
- Give plant food once a fortnight for rich and lengthy flowering. Flowering plants consume more energy and other nutrients than green plants.
- Carefully remove wilted flowers, whilst avoiding damaging new buds.
Sales and display tips for Kalanchoe
Kalanchoe works well in a display based on colour, is suitable for kokedama and can be lucratively used for special seasonal occasions: red for Valentine’s Day, red and white Christmas, yellow for Easter, pink for Mother’s Day and orange for the autumn. The mini varieties work very well in indoor gardening arrangements and table pieces, particularly combined with foliage Kalanchoes, Echeveria or Crassula. Their minis are also a suitable gift the children, as an easy first plant in the playroom. Kalanchoe is long-lasting in containers and baskets, a budget-friendly floral solution for the hospitality and commercial sector, and an ideal plant gift for students. One of its strengths is that Kalanchoe can cope with sunlight and can therefore furnish a whole windowsill with colour.
Images of Kalanchoe
You can download and use the images below free of charge crediting Thejoyofplants.co.uk.
You can download the posters using the link below.
Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana (Flaming Katy / Widow’s-thrill)
Flaming Katy Care Guide
For a month or so Kalanchoe will cope with dark areas in your home or office, perfect if you’ve chosen such a spot to show off its blooms.
In the longer term this is no good as it needs very bright light, or at least a few hours of sun a day, failure to provide this will eventually finish the plant off and the flowers won’t be back.
The occasional or forgetful indoor gardener will love the Flaming Katy as it will take erratic and sparse watering due to the succulent fleshy leaves being able to store water for several weeks at a stretch.
An attentive owner wanting a prosperous plant will water heavily once the soil has dried out quite a lot and then will wait until its dry again. In cold months of the year only a small amount of water is needed every couple of weeks at the most.
As with many succulent like houseplants the humidity level isn’t something you need to worry about.
Reduce the amount of water you give when light or temperature levels are low
Plants in bloom don’t need any feeding. A few weeks after all the flowers have faded a standard houseplant feed is all you need. Alternatively you can use a feed which is designed for flowering plants, this will have a higher level of potash / potassium designed to encourage more blooms next time it flowers.
10°C – 22°C / 50°F – 72°F is the ideal temperature range for the the Kalanchoe, although it should still be okay if it ever slips outside of these ranges. Just make sure you avoid frost and if it’s very hot, you must follow the watering instructions above. Good ventilation will prevent Basal Stem Rot and Botrytis.
Should you choose to keep the plant after flowering has finished then when it comes to repotting you should use a soil mix which is either very free draining, or add some grit or sand to the medium you are using. Look to repot every couple of years but when you do, be careful as the leaves are quite brittle and will snap easily with rough handling.
This is quite easy to do by Leaf Cuttings should you want to propagate new plants which are true to their parents.
Speed of Growth
Growth is generally slow no matter the conditions your plant finds itself in. However because the plant is rather small anyway, a little growth over an entire season can still make it look quite different. The maximum height and spread is usually reached between 3 and 5 years.
Height / Spread
Few indoor K. blossfeldiana’s will ever be taller or wider than 30cm / 12in, which gives a pretty dainty specimen.
This houseplant certainly has flowers to shout about. Reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, purples and whites are all common, coming in either singles with 4 petals or doubles with 8 or more petals.
It’s usual to have 50 or more blooms at a time so all you really see from a casual glance is one big cloud of colour but if you get in close the detail on each flower is both phenomenal and stunning.
Are Kalanchoe Plants Poisonous?
Kalanchoe’s are toxic to people, cats or dogs. If consumed the symptoms are normally mild, but often include vomiting and diarrhea.
How do you prolong the flowers? To prolong the flowering period of your Kalanchoe choose a cooler space away from strong heat and bright sunlight. As the blooms start to fade, deadhead by removing them carefully from the flowering cluster.
How do you get the Flaming Katy flowering again? Re flowering can be brought on by playing around with light levels to fool the plant, but in our experience just keeping them in a bright semi sunny position following the care instructions above is enough to get them blooming again in the future.
The only “trick” therefore is to let them rest for a month after the original flush of flowers has finished. During which point don’t give any feed at all and only just a little water during this period. After a month resume standard care and new buds should eventually appear.
Lanky / Leggy plant
Not necessarily a “problem” but it’s an indication you aren’t providing enough light. If the light levels are low the plant will leave its compact nature behind and become leggy as it spreads itself out to maximize the light it does receive.
Along with pests, in general the Flaming Katy holds its own well against diseases. The only ones you are likely to come across are caused by too much watering combined with high levels of humidity and poor ventilation as Crown and Stem Rot and Grey Mold are common in these conditions.
In the picture Grey Mold (Botrytis) has taken hold on a fallen leaf, it should be removed as soon as possible to prevent the risk of it spreading to any healthy growth.
Leaf distortion / Leaf Curl
Normally this is a result of certain insecticides. Where possible you should use organic methods of pest control, however if you use chemicals and leaf distortion ruins its appearance to such an extent, you will need to discard the plant.
Sometimes this can be what most people would expect when they see this – underwatering, but it can often be a sign of overwatering in this plant. It’s easy to know which however, when you see this symptom feel the soil, if its dry you’ve confirmed the underwatering theory, if it’s sodden then you know its from overwatering.
Kalanchoe plants will shed their leaves if you constantly don’t water enough. They go yellow because the plant has killed that particular leaf but is first taking out all of the “goodness” and transporting it to other areas.
This is ultimately a self preserving attempt, better to lose a few leaves and regrow them, rather than die totally. It’s not good for the plant in the long term however so work on your watering skills moving forward.
About the Author
Over the last 20 years Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the Ourhouseplants Team.
Also on Ourhouseplants.com
Credit for the Kalanchoe with pink flowers – Article / Gallery – by kaboompics
Credit for pink, red and white Kalanchoe flowers – Article / Gallery – Wildfeuer
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