A native of Madagascar, the kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) produces thick, succulent, waxy leaves as a backdrop to clusters of bright, star-shaped flowers. This herbaceous perennial makes an attractive garden plant in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, or a potted houseplant in any climate. Drought tolerant by nature, the kalanchoe thrives in full to partial sun and sandy, fast-draining, loose soil. Whether grown in a pot or in the ground, this succulent needs transplanting when it becomes pot bound, overgrown or crowded. For best results, transplant kalanchoe in spring, once new growth begins.
Transplanting Potted Kalanchoe
Fill a pot one-third full of cacti potting media. Tamp the media down slightly to settle it. Select a pot with a diameter and height 2 inches greater than the kalanchoe's current container. Choose a pot with bottom drainage holes.
Place your hand, palm down, on top of the soil in the kalanchoe's pot. Spread your fingers and place two on either side of the plant's stem. Tip the pot upside down and squeeze its sides gently to loosen the root ball. Slide the plant out of the pot.
Cut off any mushy, black, brown, dead or broken roots with pruning shears. Cut vertically through any roots growing in a circle around the soil ball. Handle the exposed roots carefully to avoid breaking healthy roots. Trim back any excessively long roots by one-fourth to one-third, shortening them to better fit in the new pot.
Place the kalanchoe in the center of the new pot. Add or remove potting media from the pot as needed to position the top of the plant's root ball 1-inch below the pot's top.
Add 2 to 3 inches of potting media to the pot, around the plant's root ball. Tamp the soil down with the tips of your fingers to compact it. Repeat this process to fill the pot to 1 inch below its top. Do not overfill the pot or bury the kalanchoe deeper than it was previously growing.
Water the pot slowly with a watering can. Wait for the water to soak completely into the soil. Fill the pot one to two more times with water to ensure evenly moist soil. Wait for the excess water to finish draining out the pot's bottom.
Transplanting Outdoor Kalanchoes
Water the kalanchoe with a garden hose one to five hours before digging it up. Apply 1 inch of water to moisten its root ball to a depth of 12 inches.
Pull weeds and pick up debris from a planting site that gets full sun and has fast-draining, sandy soil. Dig a hole in the site with a trowel or shovel, spacing it 8 to 12 inches away from other plants, objects and buildings. Make the hole twice as wide as the kalanchoe plant's width and 12 to 15 inches deep.
Dig in a circle around the kalanchoe plant with a trowel or shovel, staying 6 to 10 inches away from its outer perimeter. Dig to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. Push the trowel horizontally across the bottom of the circle to cut the root ball from the ground. Lift the plant out of the ground with the trowel.
Gently brush excess soil from the root ball, if needed, to expose the tips of the kalanchoe's roots. Place the discarded soil back into the hole from which the plant came. Cut off any black, brown, mushy, dead or broken roots with pruning shears. Transport the plant to the new planting site immediately.
Place the kalanchoe in the center of the new hole. Add or remove soil from the hole's bottom as needed to position the top of the plant's root ball level with the encircling ground.
Fill the hole one-half full of soil, tamping it down around the root ball. Fill the hole with water from a garden hose. Wait for the water to soak into the soil completely.
Fill the remainder of the hole with soil, tamping it down as before. Do not overfill the hole, mound soil up around the kalanchoe's stems or bury the plant deeper than it was previously growing.
Apply 1/2 to 1 inch of water to the planting site to moisten the top 6 to 12 inches of soil. Water the kalanchoe when the soil becomes dry.