Sedum vs Kalanchoe: 7 Interesting Differences and Similarities

Sedum is a plant genus containing several flowering plants while Kalanchoe is another genus of succulent plants. There are some key characteristics that each of them shares, although there are also many ways in which the two genera differ.

You can take a look at some of these key differences and similarities of Sedum vs Kalanchoe below while also learning about how to care for them.

sedum vs kalanchoe

Sedum vs Kalanchoe: Differences

Here are how the Sedum and Kalanchoe genera differ from each other.

1. Origin

Sedum plants mainly tend to have their origins in parts of Africa and South America. Plants belonging to this genus tend to prefer subtropical and temperate climates along with sandy, well-draining and coarse soil.

sedum spurium
Sedum spurium

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Plants belonging to the Kalanchoe genus, on the other hand, are primarily native to the tropical regions of Africa and the island of Madagascar where there is rough and sandy soil.

kalanchoe fedtschenkoi 'painted butterfly'
Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi ‘Painted Butterfly’

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2. Uses

There are differences between the two genera in terms of what their cultivation can be used for. In this case, plants of the Sedum genus tend to have a lot more diverse uses. For instance, they are used for ornamentation, freshening the air, making roof shelters and even as food in some rare cases.

Kalanchoe plants are mainly only used for the purpose of ornamentation as house or garden plants. However, studies have also shown that this plant has many medicinal uses including treating insomnia, arthritis, anxiety, and depression. It also strengthens the immune system, detoxifies the body, and improves mental health.

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3. Appearance

In terms of appearance, there are quite a few differences between the two genera, even more so when you count all the species and varieties belonging to each of them.

Sedum plants usually remain closer to the ground, with some of them growing as creeping plants. The leaves are typically small, thick and green, as are the stems. Multiple small flowers grow in clusters at the top of the stem. There used to be tall Sedum varieties, but these have been reclassified to the Hylotelephium genus.

sedum burrito
Sedum burrito

Kalanchoe plants usually have larger leaves than Sedum plants. They usually form stacks or rosettes and tend to bloom forth flowers of various colors. The leaves of some species are also fuzzy.

kalanchoe luciae
Kalanchoe luciae

4. Flowering

The flowers of Sedum plants have five petals and a large number of stamens, making them look like stars. These flowers usually bloom in the months of summer and fall in clusters atop a stem.

sedum flowers
Sedum flowers

The flowers of Kalanchoe plants tend to have four different sections and several stamens. Their colors can vary. These flowers usually bloom in the months of spring and can continue into the summer and fall months too.

5. Growth Conditions

Sedum plants usually thrive better in USDA zones 5-9 and enjoy bright but indirect sunlight. Kalanchoe plants, on the other hand, can grow better in USDA zones 10-12.

Sedum vs Kalanchoe: Similarities

As different as they seem to be, these two genera share a few similarities as well. Take a look.

1. Family

Both Sedum and Kalanchoe genera actually belong to the same family known as the stonecrop or Crassulaceae family. This family essentially features thick leaves and flowering plants that bear fewer petals than stamens.

These plants are usually perennial, although there can be some differences based on the genus and species. These are usually grown in homes or gardens for ornamentation and because of their simple care requirements.

kalanchoe daigremontiana
Kalanchoe daigremontiana

2. Succulent Leaves

Plants of both genera have thick and fleshy leaves, making them succulent in nature. These leaves can store water for drier climates, which is why neither of these plants requires too much watering.

In general, the leaves of Sedum plants tend to be smaller in size, while those of Kalanchoe are quite large.

sedum rubrotinctum
Sedum rubrotinctum

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How to Care for Sedum and Kalanchoe

For plants belonging to the Sedum genus, you should provide well-draining soil mixed with some coarse elements. Maintain indirect sunlight and water the soil only once it becomes dry. You can add a bit of diluted fertilizer right at the start of the growing season.

Make sure you do not water the plants too much, as this could cause the roots to rot and lead to fungal growth and other diseases. You should also try to get rid of potential pests.

On the other hand, for plants of the Kalanchoe genus, you can go ahead and provide bright and direct sunlight, although you should still ensure that you offer a bit of shade if it gets too hot where you live.

Provide soil that can drain out the excess water, and make sure you water the plant only when this soil becomes dry enough. Watering the plant once a month should be enough, although this can depend on the climate too.

The Bottom Line

The Sedum and Kalanchoe genera are both parts of the stonecrop family and tend to have succulent leaves. Beyond this, however, there are several distinctions between them in terms of their origins, uses, appearance, flowering system and growth conditions.

Try to account for these shared and separate characteristics if you want to grow and care for either of them on your own.