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The Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea is also known by its more common name, the Tugela Cliff-Kalanchoe. It is native to South Africa, where it flourishes in the mild, warm climate.
It is a perennial plant and will live for many years in the right conditions. It will continue to flower year after year.
This succulent is much loved for its foliage of varying colors as well as for its colorful flowers. It usually blooms in late spring, and throughout the summer, while the plant tends to be dormant through most of the winter.
Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea Appearance
The Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea is an unusual-looking succulent. It is a narrow bush that usually reaches a height of about 16 inches.
The branches usually grow flat along the ground, with the ends turning upwards. It has thick, soft leaves that are shaped like a shell. The base of each leaf forms a wedge close to the stem.
The edges of the leaves have a jagged, tooth-like appearance. They are greenish-gray with a hint of blue around the edges. Older leaves will turn brownish red with prolonged exposure to sunlight.
The flowers of the Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea appear towards the end of spring and will continue to bloom through the summer months. The flowers are usually bright yellow, but you may sometimes see pink, red, or orange flowers, depending on the light conditions.
Caring for the Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea
The Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea is highly adept at caring for itself. It will require very little special attention from you, as long as it has sufficient water and sunlight.
Your Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea may grow so quickly that it could need repotting after a few years. This should be done with great care not to damage the leaves, which are very delicate and fragile.
The Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea needs a lot of light, but it is slightly different from many other succulents. It should be protected from very harsh direct sunlight, as its leaves can burn easily.
In milder climates, it can be planted outdoors, but select a spot that gets partial sun with a fair amount of filtered shade.
If you are cultivating your Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea as an indoor plant, it will do well in a room that gets lots of natural light but positioned out of direct sunlight.
If your home does not get enough natural light, this succulent will also thrive in the light provided by a grow light. These lights mimic natural sunlight and are usually available from your local nursery.
Originating from a hot, dry climate, the Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea needs very little water. It only needs to be watered about once every 2-3 weeks in summer and even less in winter.
Drainage is extremely important. If you are planting your Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea in a container, the container should have adequate drainage holes at the bottom, to allow excess water to run off.
The most effective method of watering is to soak the plant until the soil is fully saturated. The plant should then be left to dry out completely before watering again.
In order to test if the plant needs to be watered, insert a finger as deep as possible into the soil. It should feel dry to the touch. Alternatively, insert a wooden skewer. If it is completely dry when it is removed, your succulent needs watering.
It is also possible to water by placing the pot in a dish of water and leaving it to stand for a few hours. The soil will absorb water through the holes at the bottom of the pot, and the roots will suck up as much as they need.
However, if you leave the pot standing in water for an extended period, you run the risk of the roots starting to rot.
The Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea loves mild, pleasantly warm conditions. It is not at all hardy, and should not be exposed to temperatures below 50° Fahrenheit.
If you live in an area that gets very cold, your Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea should not be planted in beds. It is preferable to plant in pots that can be brought indoors during very cold weather.
The Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea will die if it is exposed to frost. If frost is expected, it should be taken indoors overnight.
If your Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea is an indoor succulent, it will be happiest in a warm room with a constant temperature. A south-facing room is best, but do not place it in direct sunlight. It may not be able to tolerate the intense heat of the midday sun.
The Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea needs soil with very good drainage. The best soil would be a mixture of cactus potting soil, combined with mineral grit such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite. The best mineral grit to use is a combination of these 3 elements, in equal parts.
It is essential that your containers have ample drainage holes at the bottom. If water cannot drain off, and the roots are left sitting in constantly wet soil, they may develop fungus and start to rot.
Propagating the Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea
The most successful way to propagate the Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea is from a cutting. This is best done in late spring or early summer, during the plant’s growing season.
Using a clean, sharp pair of gardening scissors, cut a small branch from the mother plant. Remove the leaves around the bottom of the cut stem, and leave the cutting to dry out for 2-3 days. The cut end will harden and form a callous.
Once it has calloused over, the tip of the cutting should be dipped in some rooting hormone. This hormone stimulates growth and will encourage the cutting to start sprouting.
The cutting can now be planted in a prepared pot of soil. Cover the pot lightly with a plastic bag that has a few holes cut in it. This creates a humid environment, which will speed up the growth of your succulent.
Place the pot in a bright room, but not in direct sunlight. Water lightly about once a week. It will take root, and a healthy new plant should grow.
Once the new plant is thriving, it can be uncovered and watered less frequently, according to the schedule described above.
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Common Problems and Pests
Avoid overwatering your Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea. If you notice that the leaves are turning brown and soft, this is a sign that the roots are starting to rot from excess water. This will eventually kill your succulent.
The Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea is vulnerable to infestation by aphids and spider mites. These tiny little bugs are difficult to see, but they can do serious damage to your plant. They are usually found on the underside of the leaves, and look like tiny specks.
Spider mites will cause the leaves to go yellow, and they will stunt the growth of the plant.
While it is sometimes possible to eradicate them with natural remedies, these do not always work. The most effective way of eliminating these pests is by treating the plant with a commercial pesticide.