The house plant industry is hailing the latest series of Kalanchoe hybrids as not only being the most spectacular yet, but also amongst the easiest of house plants to care for. Those who are responsible for informing us gardeners and the wider flower-loving public of this astonishing new range of plants are calling them the Camel of House Plants, referring to their requirement for a drop of water now and again.
Breeding of these full-blossomed hybrids started in 2002 with ‘Leonardo’, a purple-flowered chance find, named by Ike Vlielander, the breeder of the series, for his brother-in-law. This mutation, discovered in a commercial crop of Kalanchoe in Sweden, had 32 petals to each flower rather than just 4. From this individual a wonderful series of uniform cultivars in different colours has been bred. Requiring a minimum of 15ºC (59ºF), and little else but good light, they are perfect, not only as house plants, but as summer inhabitants of tubs, containers and window boxes. Marketed under the brand name of Calandiva, these are great plants for the gardener, both the novice and the more experienced.
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