Kalanchoe beharensis, or Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe, is a woody, succulent shrub native to Madagascar. Plants are pretty large in stature, reaching 12 feet (3 m) in height under the right conditions. The large opposite leaves are triangular, nearly hastate, and irregularly lobed, reaching from 5-14 inches (12.5-35 cm) long by 3-14 inches (7.6-35 cm) wide. Leaves are covered with dense felt-like hairs with mature leaves having a rusty color on top and silvery underneath. Leaves are usually crowded at the tips of branches. Elephant's Ear Kalanchoe is very easy to culture and makes an interesting plant in any collection.
Blooming: In spring to summer, the small yellowish blooms form on terminal racemes. They are not particularly showy.
Culture: Kalanchoe beharensis need full sun to partial shade, with intermediate to warm temperatures. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mixture consisting of equal parts of loam and sand, with small gravel added to ensure good drainage. The plants should be watered thoroughly and allowed to dry before watering again. These plants will survive on neglect. Over-watering is the most common cause of plant failure. During the growing season, we water plants about every other month and no fertilizer is added. In the winter months, water is restricted to about once during this period.
Propagation: Kalanchoe beharensis is propagated by removal of small offsets at the base of the main plant or by leaf and stem cuttings.
Kalanchoe beharensis was featured as Plant of the Week January 21-27, 2005.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.