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The Kalanchoe - or Calancola - is a robust and small houseplant, with brightly colored flowers, which is part of the Crassulaceae family, which includes the evergreen succulents.
It was a German seed merchant, Robert Blossfeld, in the 1930s who brought Kalanchoe from Madagascar to Europe.
He was struck by this ornamental plant, small but strong, easy to grow and fresh looking. According to some scientific research, having Kalanchoe at home can help you have a much more positive outlook on life, thus making people feel better. It is said that the flowers of these shrubs are the talisman of happiness and bring it as a gift and wish it well. It is also called "the plant of the smile". The flowers of the Kalanchoe are small and generally collected in clusters. Each flower is composed of four petals that, depending on the species, bloom at different times. The flowering can be particularly rich and its colors generally turn into yellow, red, pink or orange. This plant, already mentioned, comes from Madagascar but some species are also native to Africa, where the climate is dry and the temperatures are warm.
If in Europe it arrived already in the 30's, the Kalanchoe arrived in Italy only around 1970, thanks to the intervention of some Danish and Dutch nurserymen.
Kalanchoe, a weed
Kalanchoe is generally very popular because, like virtually all plants belonging to succulents, it requires few and simple treatments. There are many different species of this plant in nature, both in terms of development, shape and leaves. Some species of Kalanchoe they have serrated leaves that along the edges produce large quantities of seedlings capable of producing many other new seedlings, once fallen on the ground. So much so that precisely because of this characteristic they are considered weeds and must therefore be cultivated far from others. The most known and widespread species is the Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana, whose name derives from the German Blossfeld, a seed trader who discovered it. It is that plant with fleshy jagged leaves, dark green, which gives life to bunches of thick roses and bright colors.
TERRICCIO AND WATERING
The soil suitable for the cultivation of the gullet is the universal soil to which a small quantity of sand and peat must be added. The ideal temperature for its cultivation settles between 18 and 25 degrees, for this reason it is an ideal plant for apartment growth. For what concerns the watering, in the hot season, two are needed per week but never directly on the leaves. In fact, it is advisable to put the water in the saucer so that the roots do not rot and in winter it is good to reduce the frequency of the operation to once every fifteen days or so. It is also important to remember to let the soil dry between one watering and another. Like all succulents, Kalanchoe also wants a well-drained, relatively dry soil. From the spring onwards, and for the duration of the warm months, it is advisable to use, once a month, a suitable fertilizer, which contains high amounts of potassium but minimal nitrogen.
Kalanchoe flowering and pruning
Once flowered, the Kalanchoes are lightly pruned to allow the birth of new leaves and new flowers the following season. This plant has the advantage of being flowered for long periods, especially in winter: generally the buds come out when the days get shorter, that is in November, while the bloom explodes in spring.
And it is precisely by decreasing or increasing the period of exposure to light that it is possible to influence the flowering of Kalanchoe. This is the reason why Kalanchoe flowers are found in almost every time of the year.
This plant among other things is a brevidiurna, that is, it does not need more than a certain number of hours of daylight: in its case, there are 10 hours.
Calancola: Kalanchoe property
Depending on the specific species to which they belong, Kalanchoes can have different properties. For example, the leaves of the calamari pinnata can soothe headaches if kneaded in a particular mixture, or they can help the healing of wounds or cuts, if applied fresh on the injured part. The leaves, if consumed in a decoction, help to cure the flu, cough and cold, while if crushed and mixed they can be pleasant dissolved in the tub, for moisturizing and toning baths. A mixture of Kalanchoe leaves also helps in the care of the most painful mastitis.
Then there is the Kalanchoe spathulata to have interesting properties: in Nepal in fact, the juice of the leaves applied on the part of the body concerned, is useful for the treatment of muscular tears. In addition, the leaves of Kalanchoe crenata, are used in Nigeria by the Yoroba for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.