I bought two kalanchoes about a month ago and planted them in a pot. They were out under the sun from 8 am to 4 pm when the maximum temperature varied around 27-30 degrees. The pot does not have drainage system, hence I watered it when the top soil dried out like this. enter image description here

Recently I noticed the leaves turning reddish and then yellow. enter image description here They are no more green at all. I thought it was sun burnt, so I placed it in the shadows, but things didn't improve. The yellow leaves are not papery, not fleshy either and wilted.

Today I dug out the soil to see if excess water was accumulated in the pot or if there was a root rot. No accumulated water, roots I couldn't see. The soil was something like lightly moist, dry-ish, could be broken into small pieces with the hands.

Now, I have planted it again with some vermi-compost at the bottom, then some soil(clayey), then again compost. Is it okay?

Is my plant dying? Is there anything that can be done to save it from this point?

1 Answer 1


The issue of drainage is very important, not necessarily that water flows out the bottom but that air is pulled in at the top. Some plants can tolerate being wet for a while, but very few roots can survive without air, either present in the irrigation water or allowed to flow through the compost. Kalanchoe is not a plant that can tolerate wet roots.

When we water plants and the water flows through the soil, as the water flows out the bottom it pulls air in behind it from the soil surface allowing the roots to breathe.

If the pot has no drainage holes then either change the pot for one that does or add some holes. Then focus on keeping the plant fairly dry - kalanchoe will quickly absorb water through healthy roots and then store a lot of that water in the leaves. So even if the soil dries out it should survive for a while. Keeping the soil a little bit moist helps at the next watering since it is much easier for a root ball to hold on to water if it is slightly moist than one which has gone bone dry.

Clay soil is generally too fine for plants in pots. It does not provide for quick drainage and air availability. Soils high in peat and sand are good because they provide lots of pore space for both air and water to exist together.


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