Kalanchoe Troubleshooting

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Kalanchoe Troubleshooting

Post by Admin on Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:19 pm

Remedies for the occasional Oops and Didn‘t-Know-About‘s.


Stress can be caused by inadequate amounts of water, light, and temperature, as well as disease and malnutrition. In mild cases the plant may exhibit discoloration of the larger leaves. However, if the plant becomes extremely stressed, the growing tips may produce ethylene internally and poison the plant. When this occurs, the plant’s growth ceases, the growing tips turn deep red, and flower buds may be aborted.


Check to see if there are factors contributing to raising humidity. If so, correct them.

If the plant is left under a light constantly or almost constantly, then move it to a place where it can receive at least 6 hours of darkness every day.

Kalanchoes do very well between 70˚F and 85˚F, but can tolerate temperatures between 45˚F and 100˚F. If the temperature is too high or too low, then the plant will become stressed. Also if the temperature fluctuates too quickly from one extreme to another, regardless of being within the tolerable range, the plant will become stressed.

Just as humans become stressed out when sick, plants do too. As the plant becomes healthier with treatment, stress will be reduced.

Malnutrition is caused by either poor quality soil or good quality soil that has been stripped of all its nutrients by the plant. In either case, the plant needs to be re-potted. If the roots are spiraling or generally taking up most of the room in the pot, then it is time to put the plant in a larger pot.

Humidity Too High

Signs of high humidity or over-watering are damage to flowers, discoloration of larger leaves, slow or halted growth, growing tips turn intense red, and flower buds may be aborted.


Stop watering the plant for at least a week to two weeks and see if the plant improves. See if the drainage saucer has been emptied. Standing water does more harm than good for most plants. Check to see if there are sources of high humidity nearby (humidifier, plants crowded close together or too close to water --- such as an aquarium). High humidity can contribute to fungus and other diseases.

If the plant was recently re-potted, then the water requirements will have changed. A plant that is root-bound, or its roots have filled up most of the pot, will have needed water constantly. However, when moved to a much roomier pot, its water requirements will be reduced considerably, as there is now more soil to hold moisture.

Not Enough Water

Kalanchoes can survive for long periods without water, but they can’t survive indefinitely. Leaves will turn dull green or red and flowers may fall off prematurely.


Touch the soil and see if the soil feels dry. If it does, water thoroughly and do not water again until the soil feels dry to the touch. Typically this can take one to two weeks for the soil to be dry again. If the plant must be watered more often than once a week, it may be time for a larger pot.

Nights Are Too Short

Plants have cycles like other living things and they need a break from the sun or light to make repairs, use stored food, and adjust their biological clocks.

Leaves become pale, yellow, and generally discolored. Leaves may even start to turn upward to reduce amount of light received.


Provide at least 6 hours of darkness every night for the plant. If the plant has endured for a long time without adequate rest, be watchful for disease.

Ethylene Damage

Ethylene is produced by ripening fruit or any retail store. Generally harmless to humans but can be devastating to Kalanchoes.

Open flowers are dropped and all flower buds are aborted within just a few days.


Generally keep kalanchoes out of the kitchen or any place that may have fruits nearby (fruit bowl on coffee table…etc). If you work at a retail store and wish to have a plant present, you run the risk of having your Kalanchoe encounter ethylene.

If your plant has Ethylene damage, move the plant to another location, cut off any dead leaves and be watchful for disease.

Damage from Pesticide Sprays

Signs of damage from pesticides are discolored flowers and scars on leaves.


Dilute mixture with water or use a milder pesticide.


Sometimes plants may become diseased or simply receive too much water. When this happens the tissue dies and deteriorates.


Cut slightly above the rotten area and discard. If the plant is over-watered it may cause some roots to rot. If this happens, remove the rotten roots and re-pot.


Typically aphids and mealy bugs prey on Kalanchoes, though there are others. The plant may appear to have discolored patches or buds. Scars and deformations of newly developed leaves, stunted growth, deformation and discolor of flower buds, tunnels in the stems and cuttings of young plants, and/or leaves rolling up are all signs of an infestation.


Typically pesticide of indoor plants will be necessary. Use as directed. If the plant shows signs of damage from the pesticide, then dilute or change to a milder form. If the problem persists, then contact your local nursery and see if they can offer more in-depth advice.


First of all, it’s not a sign of a bad gardener if your plants should contract a disease. Any plant kept outdoors is prone to disease, and some of those diseases can make their way into your home, via the wind, clothing, almost anything. Also, mistakes will be made. Sometimes we don’t notice the plant is in distress until much later, because plants do not seem to change much and simply do not hold our attention for long.

There are two main types of diseases of plants: fungal infection and viral infection.

Signs of a fungal infection typically involve locally stunted growth, deformed leaves and growing tips, and deformed flowers. Dark-grey scar tissue may form on leaf-nodes and along stems. You may find white fluffy molds on various parts of the plant. There may also be leaf and stem rot.


Check for drainage problems and any factors that may be contributing to a high humidity. Remove damaged leaves and affected areas if possible. Use a fungicide as directed. If the plant exhibits signs of damage from the fungicide, then dilute or change to a milder formula. Also, some forms of fungus may arrive via pests. Pesticide/fungicide combinations can be readily found.

Viral Infections
Some viruses do not seem to manifest until the plant is in a weakened state. When this occurs the plant may have dark green, light green or yellow mosaic-like spots. In severe cases, the plant’s growth may be stunted. There may also be signs of rotting in spots on leaves.


Most viral infections are incurable and usually involve having the plant destroyed. Luckily, such plants are normally not sold but destroyed immediately when encountered in nurseries and greenhouses.

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