If you’re a houseplant enthusiast looking for a perky and colorful addition to your collection, the Calandiva plants are excellent choices.
Calandivas are a cultivar of the popular Kalanchoe blossfeldiana flowering plants, sharing the cheery and vibrant house plant characteristics, these plants are widely seen in homes and florists around the globe. Here is everything you need to know to grow and care for Calandiva.
Introducing the Calandiva Plant
These cultivars feature profuse, long-lived colorful blooming seasons and succulent-like, glossy dark-green foliage which is why they have become such adored houseplants.
This easy-going plant can be enjoyed by beginner and expert growers alike, requiring basic growing conditions and care to thrive. With a wide variety of decorative colors to choose from, you can be sure you’ll find the right match for your home or outdoor spaces.
This Kalanchoe blossfeldiana cultivar was introduced in 2003 and was developed in the Netherlands to feature a more profuse and longer-lived flowering period, producing double blooms in late winter to early spring that last for about 6 to 8 full weeks.
Widow's thrill, Flowering kalanchoe
Indoor (Outdoor in certain zones)
12 to 18 inches tall, 10 to 14 inches wide
Bright & indirect indoors, partly shaded outdoors
Purple, pink, white, orange, red
Late winter to early spring
USDA Hardiness Zones:
10 to 15
Poisonous for Pets:
Mildly toxic to cats and dogs if ingested
Also bred to be larger with more attractive foliage, Calandiva is commonly known as widow's thrill or flowering kalanchoe and it sports blooms with 32 petals, unlike the kalanchoe species that only have four-petaled flowers.
Calandivas grow best in hardiness zones of 10 to 15 where they are commonly used as houseplants but can also be grown outdoors in container gardens in the warmer zones.
Pot grown plants reach about 12 to 18 inches tall and 10 to 14 inches wide with a slow-growing habit. Calandiva is classified as a succulent and therefore shares many of the same growing requirements with other such plants.
The prolific, colorful blooms can make any space appear brighter and more cheerful.
How to Grow Calandiva
Because these plants are specific hybrid cultivars, it is recommended to purchase young and healthy specimen plants from a reputable nursery in your area or an online store.
These nursery plants can then be transplanted and grown in your desired container and location. Alternatively, you can propagate Calandiva by using cuttings taken in spring.
Calandiva Propagation Using Cuttings
- Using sharp and sterilized scissors or gardening shears, trim a 4 to 5 inch long cutting off the parent plant that is not flowering.
- Make sure your cutting has at least four to six leaves on it then remove two to three sets of leaves from the bottom part of the stem of your cutting.
- Allow your cutting to dry for a few days which will cause the stem to callous. This will help to prevent possible rot or disease when growing the new plant.
- Once dry, you can prepare a container filled with quality potting soil or a succulent and cacti mix.
- Dip the planting end of your cutting into some rooting hormone and poke the cutting into the soil in the middle of your container.
- Water well after planting and place in a warm location that gets bright but indirect light.
- Keep the soil moist while the cutting establishes new roots and leaf growth.
- Let your cutting develop for a few more months before attempting to transplant.
How to Plant Calandiva
Widow's thrill can look fantastic as a stand-alone houseplant or it can be used as part of a container garden or succulent garden with other companion plants in warmer zones.
Either way, some basic growing conditions will allow this plant to thrive and grow best with minimal care needs.
Ideal Sun Exposure
Planted indoors, calandivas will do best when given bright, indirect and natural light. Because they are succulents, they can burn if left to sit in hot windows.
On the other hand, too little light can result in stunted growth and flowering. The more light they get, the faster the flowers will open and bloom.
Planting Calandiva Outdoors
Plant outdoors in zones 10 to 12, about 8 to 12 inches apart. Partly shaded locations are ideal for outdoor scenarios and strong winds should be avoided.
Depending on the severity of frost during winter, outdoor plants may still need to be overwintered indoors. Always watch the temperature outside during the nights, if it falls below 50°F, you will need to bring your plant inside.
Best Soil for Flowering Kalanchoe
Calandivas prefer soil mixes that are light and well aerated. They also thrive in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic or neutral pH level. You can add a mixture of sand or perlite to a quality potting soil to great results.
Alternatively, a soil blend made for succulents and cacti can also work very well. For an extra boost, add some organic compost to your planting soil.
Temperature & Humidity
Average home temperatures and humidity levels should be fine as long as cold drafts and any heating or cooling vents are avoided near your plant. For container-grown plants outside, try to avoid heavy rainfall and too much direct light on your plant.
When it starts getting cold, bring your plant indoors for shelter from frost. Ideal temperatures range between 60- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.
Calandiva Flowering Requirements & Reblooming
Calandiva plants need some alternations to their lighting for the best blooms as well as repeat blooming after initial flowering. This is best done using indoor plants where you have more control over lighting and temperature conditions.
From fall to winter, keep your plant out of artificial light by placing it in a dark room or closet from late afternoon until morning for about 6 weeks. This plant needs 14 to 16 hours of darkness and short days to develop flower buds between late fall and winter.
Once buds form, you can place your plant anywhere with bright but indirect light to enjoy the blossoms. Repeat this process for reblooming after the initial flowering period.
Be sure to lightly trim the foliage to expose hidden flower buds when attempting to rebloom your widow's thrill.
Caring for Calandiva
This perky houseplant is considered low-maintenance as long as it is growing in healthy conditions. Here are a few quick calindava care tips.
Watering Flowering Kalanchoe
Due to its drought-tolerant nature, it is better to provide too little water rather than too much. Water deeply once every 7 to 14 days, allowing the top two to three inches of soil to dry between waterings.
Try to avoid watering the flowers as this can shorten their lifespan. Watering frequency can differ depending on temperatures, light and the size of your container. Containers or pots must also feature good drainage.
Fertilizing Widow's Thrill
Feed indoor plants during their active growing season between spring and fall with a balanced succulent fertilizer or a liquid houseplant fertilizer at half strength once per month.
A 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 fertilizer should work great. Outdoor grown plants will need a single dose of a balanced slow-release fertilizer annually in the spring, also applied at half strength.
Ideal Pruning/Pinching Routine
Once blooms have died, you can lightly prune the entire flower stem off your plant to maintain a tidy appearance. If your plant is looking leggy, you can pinch the tip growth to encourage denser growth.
Calandiva only requires minor trimming to bloom best and look bushy and full.
Widow's Thrill Pests, Problems & Diseases
It is important to control any pest or disease issues as early on as possible to make treatment quick and effective. Luckily, these issues are minor with Calandiva.
Small aphids, mealybugs or scale bugs can be washed off with a gentle stream of water and soap. They usually appear on the undersides of leaves or on old flowers. You can also use your fingers to flick them off.
Inspect your plant weekly for any signs of infestation and treat immediately. Neem oil or a similar horticultural spray for houseplants can also be effective. Always wash your hands after dealing with insect-infested plants.
Overwatering can lead to powdery mildew or root rot which will cause discolored, wilting leaves or a furry web-like substance to form on foliage. In either of these cases, immediately cut back on watering and apply a commercial product for mildew and rot control.
Does Calandiva come back every year?
Yes, this plant is considered to be a tender, succulent perennial and not an annual.
How long does a Calandiva plant last?
Because this plant belongs to the Crassulaceae family along with many other succulents, it can last 6 to 8 weeks from when it starts flowering.
Are Calandiva plants toxic to cats and dogs?
This plant does contain cardiac toxins known as ‘bufadienolides’ which can cause gastrointestinal irritation to cats and dogs when ingested. Placement in your home will need to be considered accordingly.
Wrapping Up Our Calandiva Guide
A popular cultivar of an already impressive houseplant, widow's thrill is an easy choice for anyone looking for a decorative and vibrant addition to their houseplant collection or outdoor succulent or container gardens.
Bred to bloom profusely with luscious dark-green foliage, the Calandiva can elevate any space whether used as a stand-alone plant inside or planted alongside companions outside.