Best of the bunch

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

Kalan­choe This pretty house­plant used to be bought as a Christ­mas­flow­er­ing gift plant, but now it is avail­able in flower all year round.

K. bloss­fel­diana, a suc­cu­lent na­tive to Mada­gas­car, is pop­u­lar dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son be­cause of its clus­ters of colour­ful blooms which can last around six to eight weeks, in colours of white, yel­low, or­ange, lilac, pink or red blooms, borne in large heads on 30cm-high plants with suc­cu­lent deep green leaves.

Named va­ri­eties in­clude ‘Bali’ and ‘Ve­su­vius’, which are both red, and the or­ange-flow­ered ‘Taran­tella’. Kalan­choes like bright light, but not di­rect sun­light, so avoid plac­ing them on very sunny win­dowsills.

They need an av­er­age warmth of around 50C in win­ter.

The most com­mon mis­take is to over­wa­ter them, so let the sur­face soil dry out be­tween wa­ter­ing and they should last you through the fes­tive sea­son and beyond.

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