Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri: Care and Propagation Guide
The Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri is a flowering plant species of the family Crassulaceae. These plants grow in various parts of the world but more typically in drier climates.
This plant is nicknamed “donkey ears” since the leaves tend to look like donkey ears. They are also referred to as “palm beachbells”.
The leaves of this plant are thick and fleshy with dark spots with bright red and yellow flowers along with multiple leaflets or plantlets growing at the tips.
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How To Care For Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri is a hardy plant. It does not need too much attention and thrives on minimal care. Here are the detailed requirements of Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri:
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri loves the sun. However, direct sunlight might prove harmful, especially if you live in an area with very hot summers.
Place your succulent in lightly shaded locations to protect them from harsh sunlight during the day. If you keep them indoors, opt for window sills that receive plenty of light throughout the day.
You need to be careful while watering Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri. They are a drought-resistant plant species, so you need to take care not to overwater them. Always let the soil dry out completely before watering again.
Overwatering will lead to the rotting of the roots and leaves. This can also cause fungal growth, which can quickly take over the entire plant. On the other hand, if you don’t give the plant enough water, the leaves will start drooping and falling off.
Any soil mix meant for succulents will work great for Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri. Succulent soil mixes have good draining power, which is exactly what these plants need since they are prone to overwatering.
If you are making a soil mix at home, take sand and a mixture of peat moss and clay. Mix them together in a ratio of 1:1. This will create a fast-draining medium suitable for most succulents. You can lower the amount of sand if you feel that the potting mix is too loose.
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri does not need fertilizer. It is a hardy plant and does well with the nutrients already present in the soil.
If you want to attempt to make your plant more lush and healthy, you can start adding a slow-release fertilizer every month. Liquid fertilizer also works well for this succulent.
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri thrives in warm climates. They love the sunlight and bloom during the summer.
They can survive cold temperatures during the winter, but ideally, the temperature should not drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area with extremely cold winters, you need to move your plant indoors to prevent them from freezing.
If you cannot move your Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri indoors, you can cover it with frost cloth to protect it from the cold.
Pests and Diseases
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri plants are not at risk for many pests or diseases. Like all succulents, they are vulnerable to mealybugs and aphids. You need to stay on the lookout for these pests by regularly inspecting the leaves of the plant.
You can wipe down the leaves with an insecticide to get rid of these pests. If you are looking for an organic solution to these pests, neem oil is a good alternative. Make sure to use a diluted version or you will end up burning the plant.
Propagating Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri can be propagated both from its stems and leaves. It is a very straightforward process that even amateur gardeners can successfully complete.
The propagation method is the same whether you choose to propagate with stems or leaves. First of all, take a pair of sterilized gardening shears and snip off a few cuttings of the stems or leaves.
Let the cuttings dry out in a sunny spot. You need to let the wounds heal completely and form calluses before you propagate them. If you get impatient during this stage, you will leave the propagated plant vulnerable to root or stem rot.
Once the cuttings are ready, spread them out on top of a succulent soil mix. Do not water them directly, instead gently mist them with water about 5 times a day. Keep the cuttings away from harsh sunlight.
When the cuttings take root in the soil, you can start watering them. Care for them the same way you would care for a full-grown succulent. When the cuttings are big enough, you can transfer them to individual pots.