Kalanchoe beharensis

Kalanchoe beharensis

A gardening friend got herself a Kalanchoe beharensis specimen.  It's about 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall in that picture, looking a little stressed from winter.  I saw it again in late April and it was gorgeous once more.  I developed a serious, hardcore case of Gardener's Envy. 

I've been shopping for one of my own on and off, because there's a house down the road with a patch of them out front.  I've had serious Gardener's Envy about them, too.  They're smaller than my friend's noble specimen, but they're gorgeous too, and there's a whole lavish patch of them, not just a lone giant.  

Finally I found a far more modest K. beharensis at a reasonable ($7 !) price.  Since I've been paying more attention to design principles, I put mine in a beige pot that coordinated with the grey, bronze-edged foliage, rather than the normal clay pot, which didn't look as good.   A little edging of bronzy Graptosedum 'Vera Higgins' might complement it nicely.  Now I'm going to grow the heck out of it so someone else will suffer from Gardener's Envy.

Kalanchoe beharensis
My worst case of Gardener's Envy flared up at a local garden tour a few years ago when I realized the dazzling specimen rose before my eyes was one I also had.  The one on the tour was much, much better than mine.  When I saw that, the green in my thumbs was pure envy, not ability.  OUCH. 

Ever since I've been working on my copies of that rose, to bring them to that same level of perfection. Because I saw the marvelous potential of that rose, I had to try to duplicate it.   I'm still working on that.  Now I have a 14" Kalanchoe beharensis to try and grow to 5 feet.  

Some people say Kal'-an-coe-ee, some people say Ka-lan'-cho, and some people say "Succulent assorted".  I say "Ka-lan-coe-ee-though-Ka-lan-cho-is-also-valid".  I read that because the word is ancient Greek in origin, and because no one knows for sure how ancient Greeks pronounced ancient Greek, either pronunciation is valid. 

K. beharensis is from Madagascar, so it likes dry, warm, frost-free conditions.  It is advised to grow it in part to full sun.  My neighbor's patch is in full blazing all-day sun, as is my gardener friend's grand specimen.  I'll probably do full sun in winter and morning sun only in the hottest part of summer and see how it likes that. 

Common names include "Felt Plant" (yes, there are other completely different plants called "Felt Plant", so watch it), "Elephant Ear" (yes, there are other completely different plants called "Elephant Ears", too), and "Maltese Cross" (ditto!).    So please,  Ka-lan-coe-ee or Ka-lan-cho beharensis, and if someone corrects your pronunciation,  tell them something about ancient Greeks they may not know.  And do not fear Gardener's Envy.  Push yourself to do better.


  1. I grow this plant all over the place in my garden because it is so easy to propagate (like most kalanchoe). Good luck on yours, it looks lovely in that pot!

  2. Cool! How big do they get for you, and are they all in full sun?

  3. This is another new one for me. Thanks for the introduction!

  4. Very nice! I have one of these, too, that I bought at a local nursery a few months ago. I had never heard of, or seen, this plant, but the ones the nursery had were so spectacular I had to have one. I plan to go back and buy one or two more at some point. I put mine in an orange glazed pot that really seems to compliment the plant's color. I understand your "Gardener's Envy" all too well. I suffer from it myself occasionally. Thanks for the great pictures!

    1. Orange glazed pot sounds beautiful.

      I think you can easily root new plants by simply laying a fresh leaf on soil. I remember seeing that somewhere, but I haven't tried it myself.


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