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Kalanchoe blossfeldiana Kalanchoe, Christmas Kalanchoe, Madagascar Widow's-thrill

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


Kalanchoe is a dark green, succulent perennial with scallop-edged leaves and large umbels of flower clusters held above the foliage. The upright, many-branched growth habit and tolerance of low moisture conditions makes it ideal for groundcover use, rock gardens, raised planters, or containers.

Full Form - Kalanchoe blossfeldiana: Kalanchoe, Christmas kalanchoe, Madagascar widow's-thrill.
Figure 1. Full Form - Kalanchoe blossfeldiana: Kalanchoe, Christmas kalanchoe, Madagascar widow's-thrill.
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

Pronunciation: kal-lan-KOE-ee bloss-fel-dee-AY-nuh

Common name(s): kalanchoe, Christmas kalanchoe, Madagascar widow's-thrill

Family: Crassulaceae

Plant type: perennial; herbaceous

USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Figure 2)

Planting month for zone 7: Jun; Jul

Planting month for zone 8: Jun; Jul

Planting month for zone 9: Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Apr; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec

Origin: native to Africa

Invasive potential: not considered a problem species at this time and may be recommended by UF/IFAS faculty (reassess in 10 years)

Uses: container or above-ground planter; edging; attracts hummingbirds

Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 2. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 0.5 to 1 feet

Spread: 0.5 to 1 feet

Plant habit: round

Plant density: moderate

Growth rate: slow

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: crenate

Leaf shape: oblong

Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see

Leaf type and persistence: not applicable

Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: not applicable

Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: pink; red; yellow; salmon

Flower characteristic: winter flowering; spring flowering


Fruit shape: unknown

Fruit length: unknown

Fruit cover: dry or hard

Fruit color: unknown

Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable

Current year stem/twig color: green

Current year stem/twig thickness: thick


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun

Soil tolerances: slightly alkaline; sand; acidic; loam

Drought tolerance: high

Soil salt tolerances: unknown

Plant spacing: 6 to 12 inches


Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: plant has winter interest due to unusual form, nice persistent fruits, showy winter trunk, or winter flowers

Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more

Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Growing in full sun to moderate shade, kalanchoe prefers light, sandy, open, well-drained soils and is moderately salt tolerant. Kalanchoe needs very little water and only one light application of fertilizer each year. Plants should be protected from frost. Plant on 8- to 12-inch centers for the best effect.

Flower colors are available in red, yellow, orange, and salmon. The cultivars 'Pumila' and 'Tetra Vulcan' are dwarf selections.

Kalanchoe is easily propagated by seed or leaf, stem, or tip cuttings. New plantlets will occasionally appear at leaf margins and may be removed and potted up individually.

Problems include caterpillars and mealy bugs.

Pests and Diseases

Leaf spotting diseases can be a problem under humid conditions.

Publication #FPS-309

Release Date:February 8, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Shrubs Fact Sheets

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is FPS-309, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman
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