Most commonly seen as a houseplant, Calandiva (a species of Kalanchoe) can also be grown outdoors.
Known for its thick, glossy leaves and profuse blooms, it adds color and texture to the garden.
Grown outside, Calandiva requires little by way of maintenance provided conditions are right for it.
Calandiva Plant Care
Calandiva plants don’t require much watering. You should only apply water if the top inch (2.5cm) feels dry. They’ll thrive in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius). Calandiva loves free-draining soil as well as staying in a spot that receives direct sunlight for 6-8 hours for it to produce beautiful blooms.
Calandiva is most at home in acidic or slightly neutral soil. The soil should be free-draining as the sensitive roots of Calandiva are susceptible to root rot.
If grown outdoors in pots, make sure there is adequate drainage by ensuring there are holes in the base of the pots and that you place a layer of gravel in the base of the pot before adding compost.
Provided the soil is not sodden, your Cakandiva should survive and grow even in poor quality soil.
Good quality, rich soil with plenty of organic matter allow your Calandiva to thrive.
The addition of compost or well-rotted manure at the beginning of spring should help provide the nutrients you need for it to produce plentiful blooms in summer.
You can create compost at home using garden waste and food scraps. Alternatively, you can also buy one from your local garden center.
Ideally, you want soil that does not retain moisture. If the soil is quite heavy, dig in some sand to aerate it and aid drainage.
Calandiva likes a position where it receives plenty of natural light.
As the foliage is heavy with water, direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so an open but shaded area where it receives light but not direct sunshine is preferable.
If you notice that the flowers are only half opening, your plant is not receiving enough light.
If this is the case, try placing it slightly more out in the open or cutting back some of whatever is placing it in too much shade.
If the flowers are bright and fully open, you know your Calandiva is in the right spot. In its most favored position, you will get plenty of flowers that open fully and enjoy a bountiful bloom time.
Calandiva is a short-day plant and will only produce flowers when exposed to fewer than 12 hours of light a day. In the winter it requires light to prevent bud formation while in a vegetative stage.
Less is more when it comes to watering Calandiva. This plant is very much like a succulent and is designed to store water in its leaves.
It naturally copes well with dry spells and is drought-tolerant. Too much watering is likely to lead to root rot which can cause irreparable damage to the plant.
Water sparsely and only if the top inch (2.5cm) of the earth is dry. You can check the soil’s moisture by pushing a finger into the soil.
If it is still moist – even just a little bit – err on the side of caution and don’t add any more.
When watering throughout the summer, it’s best to give the soil a thorough soaking to allow the water applied to soak deep into the soil.
You should only have to apply water once every 2 – 3 weeks. If rain falls, you may not have to water the plants at all.
Outside of summer, you will not need to water unless you are hit by an unseasonably dry spell.
Calandiva plants grown in pots may need to be watered more frequently as the soil is prone to drying out more quickly in pots.
But the same thing applies that too little water is preferable to too much and you should only add water when the top inch (2.5cm) of soil is completely dry.
You may prefer to remove the whole plant from the pot to water it. After giving the roots a good soaking, allow the water to drain before popping the plant back in its pot.
The ideal temperature range for Calandiva plants is between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit (8- 108 degrees Celsius) at night and 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit (10 – 24 degrees Celsius) during the day.
Cool nighttime temperatures will help to prolong the life of the flowers.
It will cope with warmer temperatures if kept in a shaded area but will not thank you for exposing to high temperatures and direct sunlight.
Calandiva are air dependent so humidity is vital to healthy growth. Its ideal humidity level is between 45 – 55%.
If humidity levels fall below this you can spray the plant in hot spells or place a tray of stones or gravel near to the plants and water it.
The steam will help to keep humidity at a level the plant will enjoy.
Calandiva does not demand fertilizer but an application once a month while it is flowering will reward you with vibrant colors and bloom longevity.
As hardy plants, it is best to be cautious when adding fertilizer. Any standard balanced fertilizer will do and its best to dilute it for added peace of mind.
Calandiva can cope with more nitrogen than many other plants provided it has adequate drainage but levels become too high, which can lead to root rot.
How to best use your Calandiva plants
Clandiva is grown for its striking foliage and bountiful blooms. The brightly-colored flowers’ contrast against rich green foliage adds depth to any bed or border.
It requires very little in the way of maintenance and is ideal if you spend a lot of time away from home but want to have a nice garden to enjoy when you get back.
When to plant your Calandiva
Calandivas can be planted outside at any time as they are incredibly hardy. Space them roughly 1 foot (30cm) apart.
How to plant your Calandiva
Whether you’re planting Calandiva directly in the ground or in pots for your garden you should try to put them in rich, free-draining soil.
Location is more important than soil quality though.
A shaded spot in poor quality soil is preferable to a spot in rich soil that receives direct sunlight throughout the day.
Calandiva is a slow-growing plant that will spread to between 4 – 20 inches (10 – 50cm) depending on the space available.
Once it reaches full maturity, Calandiva will be approximately 12 – 18 inches (30 – 45cm) in height.
Pruning your Calandiva
Calandiva does not require any pruning.
Winter protection for your Calandiva
Calandiva needs short days and long nights to develop flower buds. These form over late fall and through winter.
Buds usually appear in January or February. Plants grown outdoors will be fine as nature will do the job for you.
If you keep your Calandiva indoors during the winter, you will need to starve it of light to allow the buds to form. Without these, the plant will not produce its customary flowers.
Different varieties of Calandiva
Calandiva flowers for around six weeks and comes in a variety of colors: orange, pink, purple, red, white, white with pink, pink-purple, dark pink, soft pink, and charming red.
Calandiva: Pests to look out for
Calandiva is susceptible to many common pests including spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs.
Spider mites usually appear under the foliage or between the stalks and stems.
Aphids, as everyone’s familiar with, look like small pears that crawl on the stems and under the leaves.
If you have an infestation of mealybugs, you will notice a fuzzy white growth on the leaves that looks a bit like cotton wool.
All of these can be treated using rubbing alcohol.
Common problems with Calandiva plants
My Calandiva looks like it is dying
Candivas are known to experience root rot. This is due to overwatering or poor drainage.
To treat it, you will need to dig up your plant or remove it from its pot and get rid of any black, mushy roots.
Root rot can be avoided by only watering when absolutely necessary and ensuring your plants have adequate drainage.
My Calandiva plant has white powdery patches on its leaves
These white patches are usually powdery mildew.
Remove it using rubbing alcohol and prevent further problems by increasing the airflow around your plant.
Frequently Asked Questions About Calandiva Plant Care
Are Calandiva Plants Poisonous?
Calandiva kalanchoe plants are poisonous to animals including cats and dogs. If eaten, Calandiva will cause your pet severe digestive problems.
How long do Calandiva plants live?
If looked after properly, Calandiva plants will live for many years.
Why do my Calandiva leaves have brown spots?
A build-up of mineral salts caused by overfertilization’s usually to blame. Remove the affected leaves and flush the soil with water to cleanse the soil. After this, do not apply fertilizer for at least 3 months.
Why is it that my Calandiva plant leaves are discolored and withered?
This is likely to be a result of too much watering or not enough sunlight. Check if the soil’s soggy. If so, mix in some sand if the plants are ground-grown. If you are growing your Calandiva in pots and the soil is soaked, remove the plant and repot it in fresh soil. If overwatering is not the problem, consider relocating the plant to a place where it will receive at least 6 hours of light each day.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.