How to Take Care of a Calandiva Plant

When it comes to your home decor, creating a homely, peaceful, and attractive environment, the plants you choose can really make a difference. And calandiva plants are really the mainstay of indoor houseplants. Calandiva is a variety of the Kalanchoe succulent family. Calandiva are a tropical plant and needs lots of bright, indirect light and around 50% humidity. You can plant them outside providing you have the benefit of the right climate but for most, they are more commonly found inside the home. Their leaves typically droop downward and they are pest prone because their roots depend on air for nutrients. Buds on the calandiva plant generally emerge in the fall with flowers appearing in the winter and early spring, and the plant remains relatively dormant throughout the summer. When they flower, you should get a good 6-8 weeks bloom on average. In this article, we will cover how to grow calandiva houseplants indoors. We will also cover how to take care of them longer-term and even how to trick them into flowering!

How to Grow Calandiva Plants Indoors: The Essentials

According to a post at LA Residence, Calandiva houseplants will need to be cultivated like any other tropical plant. If you’re going to grow calandiva, there are a few things worth knowing to ensure your plant has the best opportunity to thrive:

  • Light: Bright light near a window that gets filtered sun is ideal. Avoid direct sunlight. The calandiva plant will also thrive for part of the day in a shaded area near a window.
  • Water: Calandiva’s are one of the easier houseplants to maintain. Like any plant, they need watering from time to time but with calandiva plants, you can do this sparingly, really when the soil is dry. In fact, they should be left to dry out between watering which means, really, you’ll only need to think about them every couple of weeks. If you are growing calandiva in pots, you should water them from the bottom to prevent crown rot and other fungal problems. Never allow calandiva plants to be in standing water.
  • Humidity: Humidity is vital for these air-dependent plants. You can achieve this by using a humidity tray or leaving your doors open when the weather is humid out. The plants prefer a humidity level of around 45-55%. With typical humidity in a house somewhere between 40-60%, this is why they are ideal indoors.
  • Temperature: Calandiva house plants like temperatures that are comfortable for humans. Again, that’s handy for indoor plants! In general, they will be fine at normal room temperatures, just make sure they aren’t exposed to any chilly breezes or placed near heat vents. However, they are one of the few plants that won’t die if you put them outside for a few days during the warmer months. If you want to do this, just remember to keep them out of direct sunlight or you’ll risk burning the leaves.
  • Soil: Use potting soil designed for houseplants or cactus and succulents in calandiva plant containers. Avoid compost with added fertilizer. Calandiva plants are a little less fussy than other houseplants about their soil, although they do need some nutrients. A half and half mix of cactus mix and potting soil are usually about right; in general, the mix should be light and aerated to avoid too much moistness. The key to giving the plants the best soil is that you have good drainage. As mentioned above, these plants need almost dry soil so be careful not to overwater them and be especially careful that your soil does not retain too much water.
  • Fertilizer: A Hunker post recommends to use a balanced houseplant food two or three times per month. If you don’t have access to good houseplant food, then add liquid fertilizer once per month. These are hardy plants so if you do fertilize them, you probably only need a watered-down mix of general plant fertilizer. The calandiva plant will be able to take more nitrogen than most other indoor plants with good drainage but avoid giving them too much because this can cause root rot.

Propagating Calandivas: Transplanting and Caring for Seedlings

Calandiva are good plants to propagate. You can readily grow your own from seed or cuttings. You can propagate these plants in the following ways:

  • Seedlings: Transplant calandiva seedlings into a large container with a diameter of at least 18 inches. Place them in bright light. Water the soil until it is completely moist but not soggy. This is the most important part because calandiva seedlings will have a difficult time getting their first roots established if the soil is too dry. Once they are established, you can lower the moisture content and allow them to grow in a dryer environment.
  • Root Cuttings: If you take cuttings of a calandiva plant before it flowers, then you can use them to grow new plants. Leave them to dry for 3-4 days and they will root in soil. Once they have new roots, transplant them into pots with a well-draining potting mix. Again, ideally, you want to aim for a pot of at least 18 inches to allow the plant to grow without the need to re-pot too early.

First-Time Care & Maintenance for Calandiva Plants

  • Choosing your plants – When choosing a calandiva houseplant you should look for healthy plants with vigorous growth. It’s best to avoid short stem calandivas, as they have the lower branching pattern and tend not to reach their full potential. If absolutely necessary, select a larger plant with shorter stems. To make sure your new plant thrives, provide it with an adequate soil pot size of at least 18 inches in diameter. Go for an even bigger pot if it’s possible. Although calandiva plants don’t grow very tall, they do like to have space to spread out.
  • Where to put them – Calendulas are best placed in a warm, sunny area away from airflow. They prefer temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees F and humidity above 50%. Make sure that the plant is not exposed to direct sunlight; this can burn the leaves. If you place the plant directly under a ceiling fan, this could dry out one side of the leaves more than the other, as they blow upwards into it.
  • Pinching and Pruning – Prune your calandiva houseplant regularly to control the size and shape. You’ll want to pinch back new growth, particularly when it forms in the middle of the plant under the leaves. This will force your plant to branch out more. Pruning calandiva plants also prevents them from getting leggy. You can create shorter shrubs or eliminate tall stalks at an early stage, for example.
  • Repotting – Calandiva plants should be transplanted every year or two. When you are repotting your calandiva house plants, pay attention to the following:  The size of the soil pot should be at least 18 inches in diameter. A calandiva plant will also do well in a large container meant for outdoor use, such as a plastic tub. Remember that if you have a smaller calandiva plant, you can always use a larger pot with good drainage so your roots won’t rot. When transplanting a calandiva houseplant, replace the soil but don’t take the plant out of its old soil and place it into a new one as this will shock it and may cause it to drop its leaves. Make sure your calandiva houseplant has good drainage, even in a container with lots of holes in the bottom. Cover all the holes with pot shards or gravel. Your plant will probably rot if left in standing water sitting on top of clay pots.

How to encourage flowering

Joyusgarden.com explains a method to encourage/trick your plant into flowering. Essential, Calandiva plants need a rest period to flower. When they are in their active growing phase, avoid adding fertilizer. Flowering will occur when the plant is on the brink of starvation. If you don’t want to wait for this to happen naturally, in the fall, you may want to place your calandiva plant in a dark place for at least 14hrs per day (no artificial light either). You should do this for around 6 weeks and, water sparingly during this time. When you see the buds beginning to form, that’s when you can bring it back to the light, bright (indirect) sunlight. Your flowers should start blooming soon after that!

How big does a Calandiva get?

Calandiva should grow to around 12″ to 18″ tall and will spread from 4″ to 20″ wide. (the width will depend on whether you have planted your Calandiva in the ground or in a container)

Is Calandiva poisonous to pets?

In a question posed at findanyanswer.com the accepted answer is that calandiva is a popular houseplant that could cause gastric upset if consumed by your pet, so it’s worth noting this, even if it’s not one of the most dangerous for cats and dogs.

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