'Love Plant' (Kalanchoe pinnata???) failing to thrive

markplowAugust 5, 2012

About eight months ago I received a leaf of a "love plant" as a gift. Based on what I can find, I believe the technical name for this is Kalanchoe Pinnata. I was told the leaf would sprout plants. I placed the leaf on some soil and kept it moist and after a while it sprouted some offspring. I have been trying to take good care of it since it has started, but it just isn't "taking off". My mother started a plant from another leaf at the same time in very similar conditions and it easily 3-4 times the size and much heathier in appearance. I have uploaded a photo of how it appears today. Below are some notes.

- Early on, the young plants did get beat up when I accidentally left it out during a hard rain, but it seemed to reasonably recover from this in a few days and has grown substantially since then.

- It is in a 6" clay pot.

- The plant is about 2" tall at this point.

- The leaves show signs of "distress" in my opinion, but I am not sure why.

- I have given it some water soluble house plant fertilizer (Miracle Grow) about every month.

- I can't really give specifics on the soil. I believe it is a mix of "recycled" potting soil from previous annuals I have grown. I typically add a little organic matter (manure, etc.) when I re-use soil like this and haven't had an issue with other plants I am growing.

- I have tried more and less watering, but can't seem to find one way or the other that helps.

- I have tried it in an East and a West facing window. I live in a townhouse so this is all I have to offer. Either way it gets aroung 6 hours of direct or nearly direct sun per day. I am afraid to put it outside as we are gettting some strong storms frequently this summer and I am not always home to bring it in. I am afraid it is still a bit weak to take this.

- We keep our house at a constant ~71 deg F.

- There are no vents or other sources of drafts near either location it has been.

Any ideas on what I am doing wrong?

I am tempted to change the soil, but am hesitating as I am a bit afraid to further stress the plant at this point.



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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Mark - I barely glanced at your post - didn't have to look past the picture. How would you like to be part of an experiment that I already know the results of? Your only obligation would be to repot the plant into what I'll send you (n/c), and agree to reporting your results/observations on this thread. ..... and I promise your plant will turn around and start thriving or I'll buy you another to replace it. It's the soil that's holding your plant back.

I hope you're up for it? It's a good offer. ;-) Oh, and if you're interested but undecided, I'll give you some homework to look at that might help.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 5:53PM
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Mark, your Love Leaf, Bryophyllum Crenatum is in a pot way too large.

An online friend sent me a Love Leaf (leaf) in 2006. I rooted the leaf in a 2" pot, in well-draining/succulent soil. The leaf rooted in bright light..no direct sun.

A pot size too large will halt growth and/or cause rot. Even w/cuttings. Especially if potted in heavy soil.

In 2009, my Love Leaf grew this size.

I can take recent picture.

Love Leaf start out slow, but once new leaves develope, it grows like a weed..and blooms, too.

Repot in a smaller container, and use a soil that drains well. Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 6:50PM
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I agree, it's the soil. You need a very fast draining mix. We have very heavy rain here during the wet season and mine are okay in that as the soil in the pots drains rapidly.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 8:43PM
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As the other posters have noted, your soil is unsuitable for for this plant (which should do well for you) - you haven't enough porosity, lad.

Cut the soil by at least 50% perlite, or read one of the many soil discussions (look for posts with a lot of responses and make your own soil), but you've got your plants in slow-death, yet there's hope still. The pot for which these plants should be grown maybe should be only an inch or two larger than the root ball(s) of the plants.

Most Kalanchoes can grow like tropicals at times, and this is one of them. You just have to have it in a more appropriate home and hearth.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 11:51PM
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