The plant of the month for March is Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora.

Kalanchoe is a genus of 130 varieties of succulent plants. They can be found in the wild in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, from Tropical Africa to South Africa, Madagascar, India, southern China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brazil. They are members of the Crassulaceae family and all of them display the thick, meaty leaves commonly associated with succulents.

The majority of members of the Crassulaceae family can withstand light frost but die at the appearance of serious cold conditions. In general varieties with small leaves withstand really hot sun and hot conditions better than the larger-leaved types.

Kalanchoe thyrisiflora, as the second Latin word in its name implies, is a plant that produces a tall flowering stem on which numerous flowers appear. All members of the Crassulaceae family produce similar four-petalled flowers.

It has meaty, wide, round, greyish leaves with red edges which grow in a rosette format. This base of leaves can grow up to 60cm in height with the leaves all growing from the centre trunk.

Kalanchoe thyrisiflora is monocarpic, which means it dies after it has flowered, producing a tall stem up to 1m in height on which the flowers appear. The stem grows vertically from the base leaves and the flowers are waxy green with yellow edges. The flowers resemble tiny trumpets around 15mm in length.

Flowering takes place from autumn through to spring. The leaves at the base of the plant are round and, as they appear higher up they get smaller. After a long flowering the plant will die and if it has had enough sun the red or pink edging to the leaves becomes more pronounced towards the end of its life.

Kalanchoe thyrisiflora is a low maintenance long lasting plant even in gardens under full sun with little watering taking place. It takes three to four years before the plant matures and flowers. Sometimes flowering may occur in the second year but then the plant will self seed. In the wild it has adapted to withstand the harshest, hottest conditions.

Even though it is a succulent its leaves and stems are upright and grow towards the sun, if there is less sunshine the growth is also lessened as it can be for want of water. The white, powdery substance found on the leaves and stem of the plant dilutes the effect of the sun. Bees, ants and other winged insects pick up the powder from the plant in the daytime.

Well cared for plants will flower over a long period. Later the plants’ seeds are distributed by the wind.

Kalanchoe thyrisiflora is most easily propagated naturally from seed. Leaf cuttings can also be used and are best taken in the hottest months. Plant them in a mix of rich compost and river sand and keep them in a shaded place.

If planting seeds again ensure they are in a sandy loam and with only a thin covering of the compost.

In landscaping Kalanchoe thyrisiflora is a plant used in rock gardens or in gardens located in the mountains. It grows well in terracotta pots which can be put out into the garden in summer in colder regions. The grey leaves with red margins look especially striking in containers.

It will grow in damp conditions as long as there is good drainage. Once it is well established in a garden it will survive drought like other succulents. Although it prefers full sun it will survive in the shade where its leaves will be bigger and green in colour.

The Palm Centre, Koycegeiz

For a wide range of special plants visit the areas best nursery, The Palm Centre at Köyceğiz.

It is open daily between 1st June – 31st October but you can visit at any other time by appointment.

Access to plant sales is free but a fee is payable to look around the extensive nursery.

Just ring or email (English is spoken):

E-mail: : palmiyemerkezi@ttnet.net.tr palmiyemerkezi@ttnet.net.tr

Tel : +90 252 262 28 92

Fax : +90 252 262 51 61

Website : http://www.palmiyemerkezi.com

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