Western Mountains and High Plains
Favorite or New Plant
When it comes to striking dark green foliage and iridescent blooms, it's hard to beat a kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana). This succulent is a member of the Crassulaceae family with relatives that include the jade plant, hens-and-chicks, and many other commonly known succulents.
Kalanchoes make great gift plants since they are relatively easy to maintain and grow on for future blooming periods. They come in flower colors of red, orange, pink, yellow, and salmon.
Kalanchoes like bright light and can even tolerate some direct sun during the cooler months of the year. They are easy to care for and do well in our dry, heated homes. Water thoroughly when the soil feels dry to the touch, then allow the soil to dry out before watering again. During the active growth period, fertilize with a half-strength water-soluble plant food every two to three weeks.
Houseplant Survival Manual
A Complete Houseplant Survival Manual by Barbara Pleasant (Workman Publishing Co., 2005; $24.95) is a great book from a fellow garden writer. It contains information on growing 160 houseplants -- their identification, lighting needs, and fertilizer and water requirements. It also covers propagation, selecting the proper container, potting soils, and even some of the common problems we encounter when growing indoor plants and remedies on how to cope with them.