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starting over with Kalanchoe ‘Pink Butterflies’

Its lifespan as fleeting and evanescent as a butterfly’s, the mother plant’s single stalk ultimately elongated to over 4 feet tall, bloomed, and dropped all but the topmost leaves. All in less than two years’ time. Seen here in better days.

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One of the parents of this hybrid is excessively weedy, known by the cautionary name ‘Mother of Thousands,’ but true to ‘Pink Butterflies’ reputation it absolutely was not weedy. Quite the opposite. The kalanchoe shed the ruffly plantlets along the leaf margins seen in photos in the older post, but they did not take root in the potting soil, even though they covered the top of the container like mulch. I waited to see if the tall, leafless main stem would grow new leaves, but it didn’t. Tempted though I was to just toss it on the compost pile by this point, I instead chopped the long stalk into 2 to 3 inch pieces at leaf nodes, rooted them in sand, and after a hit-and-miss summer watering regimen now have just two cuttings slowly making size again.

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I’m wondering how others have fared with this remarkable kalanchoe, but haven’t come across much information on its growth habits so far. I never expected it to behave like an annual and am frankly underwhelmed by its gangly performance. Should it be pinched back? Hopefully, more cultural reports will be coming in on this fairly new hybrid.

The agave on the table with the never-camera-shy Evie is ‘Kissho Kan.’

3 comments to starting over with Kalanchoe ‘Pink Butterflies’

  • Jane

    Hello, I’ve had the same experience with ‘Pink Butterflies’ here in Monterey Park CA. Mine is growing in part shade. It elongated to about three feet, flopped over, snaked along the ground and hit a barrier and started growing upright again. There are leaves along the top two and one-half feet. No new seedlings on the ground. A broken piece started in the same pot months ago has died.

    I’d like to say a word in favor of ‘Mother of Thousands’. It has a gorgeous bloom right now. It is against a bronzey-purplish-pinkish compact phorium and near a Euphorbia cotinifolia which is just now changing color in preparation of dropping its leaves, a great unplanned color combination.

    MoT flowers: http://hankinslawrenceimages.wordpress.com/tag/mother-of-thousands/

    Jane

  • Denise

    Hi, Jane, so glad you chimed in with your experience, which sounds so similar to my own. You’re right, the blooms are a wonderful color. My Euphorb cotinifolia still has some leaves hanging on too — sounds like we have similar taste in plants too.

  • Beth

    I was looking into getting some of these when I saw your post. I found a Royal Horticultural Society publication on kalanchoes stating that Pink Butterflies “produce adventitious buds devoid of chlorophyll and so must be propagated from stem cuttings.” So that’s why you’re not getting a mother of thousands “baby bumper crop” and are having success with your rooted cuttings. http://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/RHS-Publications/Journals/Hanburyana/Hanburyan-issues/June-2008-%281%29/03Hanb3p17to79

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