Get to know this pretty plant, which is great as a gift or in your own container garden.

By Lauren Wellbank
March 11, 2021
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Calandiva, which is a cultivar of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, is a popular "gift plant" and can often be found potted in your grocery store floral section or inside a local nursery. Developed in the Netherlands, this plant was introduced into general trade in 2003, according to Debbie Neese, horticultural expert with Lively Root. Calandiva is available in a wide variety of colors, which makes finding one that matches your home décor easy, and their blooms can be long lasting making them perfect for gift-giving. "Their double blooms last about six to eight weeks," explains Neese.

kalanchoe plant with pink flowers
Credit: Pornpimon Lekudom / Getty Images

Try Planting Calandiva in a Container Garden

Calandiva make great gifts because they do so well in pots, says Chris Berg, director of marketing with Dümmen Orange, but this also means they're a strong option for container gardens. "We love using Calandiva in container gardens, because they thrive with the well-drained potting mixes and are super forgiving of missed waterings here and there," Berg says. "It is important to only water the soil of your plant and to try to avoid getting the flowers wet, as this will shorten their lifespan in the garden."

How to Care for Potted Calandiva

Calandiva enjoy bright, indirect light. "These beauties are much like succulents, so they like the soil to dry a bit between waterings," according to Neese. "When you water, make sure to take it out of a decorative pot (if there are no drainage holes) and water and let drain thoroughly." These types of plants won't tolerate "wet feet," which is when their roots sit in water, so proper draining is important. A well-draining potting mix will help with this, too. "No extra humidity is a requirement to keep them happy, either," she adds.

How to Grow Calandiva Outdoors

If you live in USDA heartiness zones 10 or 11 you may be able to grow Calandiva outside, however you'll have to make sure you're watching the temperature. "Bring [your plant] inside if temperatures fall below 50 degrees at night," Neese says. What's more, if you're growing your Calandiva outside, you'll want to make sure it's somewhere that doesn't receive full sun, like a covered porch or patio, because the leaves are prone to burning. You don't need to fertilize these plants to keep them happy, but Neese says you can apply a balanced succulent fertilizer monthly if you want to give your Calandiva a boost. She recommends adding it from the spring through the fall season.

How to Propagate Calandiva

If you want to try propagating, Neese recommends using cuttings to grow your own. "Trim a cutting off the plant where it is not flowering, making sure it has at least four to five leaves on it," she says. "Remove two to three sets of leaves off the stem with sterile scissors." Next, she suggests allowing the stem to callous over for two to three days. "This period will protect the new plant from diseases and rotting." Then, you can take the cutting and dip it in rooting hormone. "Use a succulent and cacti mix, and fill the container you're using," she says. "Poke the cuttings in the soil and water. Place the cuttings in bright, indirect light." You should keep the soil moist while the cuttings establish roots and leaf growth occurs. Neese suggests buying a plant directly from a nursery though since the photoperiodic process can be a challenge for most gardeners.

How to Get Your Calandiva to Rebloom

These plants require a little time and effort before they'll rebloom, Neese explains, so a lot of people toss them after their first flowers are spent. However, if you're up for a challenge, she says that you can attempt to get them to rebloom yourself by trimming away some of the foliage that can hide stems that may produce buds. "Next, set it in a closet for 14 to 16 hours a day starting in November," she says. "Pull it out and place it in bright, indirect light during the day." Just remember to tuck it in at night where there are no lights. "Don't overwater at this time since it'll be in the dark more." Keep doing this until you see tiny buds form. "Then place it back into the bright, indirect light to enjoy the blooms."

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